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Fred Warner Tops List, Matt Milano and Shaquille Leonard Get Their Due

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Capable linebackers are becoming a rarity in the modern NFL, which is why the best LBs in the league provide even more value than they did before. With fewer linebackers on the field, it’s imperative that the ones that play every down have the ability to stop the run, cover the pass, and blitz the quarterback.

Those that can do all three of those tasks can lay claim to the title of being the top linebacker in the NFL. Different LBs will contribute in varied ways, however, which is why it’s never simple to put together a ranking of the best LBs in the NFL.

Nevertheless, we’ll start with the most complete player in the league — and the best LB in the NFL — and go from there.

Who’s the Best Linebacker in the NFL?

San Francisco 49ers LB Fred Warner has the top argument for being the best linebacker in the NFL. Warner, a 2018 third-round pick out of BYU, immediately made an impact in San Francisco and continues SF’s streak of high-level linebacker play, following in the footsteps of Patrick Willis, NaVorro Bowman, Chris Borland, and more.

Warner is phenomenal in coverage, playing with excellent instincts, athleticism, and a deep understanding of what NFL offenses are trying to do. He pairs his excellent range with strength in the running game and is the rare coverage LB who has the ability to take on blocks from fullbacks while still squeezing running lanes.

On top of that, Warner has better instincts than almost everyone at the position. He finds himself sprinting to the running back before the handoff but still finds ways to avoid getting fooled by play-action. Warner really is the ideal linebacker, and his range of play is astounding.

Best Linebackers in the NFL 2023

Rest of the Top 10 Linebackers Ranked

2) Lavonte David, Tampa Bay Buccaneers

There are several veteran linebackers near the top of this year’s list, and a big reason why is that top-tier LBs need good game sense above all else. Still, a baseline level of athleticism and physicality is a requirement for the position. It looked like Lavonte David had lost some of that last year and was on the decline.

MORE: Who Are the Highest-Paid Quarterbacks in the NFL in 2023?

In 2022, he bounced back in a big way and continues to play his extraordinarily physical brand of football while still demonstrating the necessary range to be an effective coverage linebacker.

3) Shaquille Leonard, Indianapolis Colts

After missing the 2022 season due to injury, Shaquille Leonard will be ready to take his place among the top linebackers in the NFL in 2023. His ability to create turnovers without losing his position as a run-stopper or coverage defender is rare in the NFL, and his absence was felt throughout the Colts defense last year.

Though he’s slightly less consistent than other top-five linebackers from play to play, his value is tremendous, especially if he can keep forcing turnvoers.

4) Matt Milano, Buffalo Bills

It took a while for the national media to catch up to how good Matt Milano has been for the Buffalo Bills, but he rose to prominence in the middle of what might have been his best year. Milano was a former safety before switching to linebacker in college, and it shows. He’s a coverage specialist that has added run-stopping chops to his game.

He even has the rare ability to track tight ends deep in man coverage or as the hole player in Tampa 2, something not expected of many linebackers despite the emphasis on coverage in the modern game. Milano is also a capable blitzer and demonstrates enough power to bowl over running backs and enough finesse and agility to get by offensive linemen.

While Milano still needs to be protected a little bit in the run game, when he has clearance from the defensive line in front of him, he can be a wrecking ball.

5) Demario Davis, New Orleans Saints

One of the most underrated linebackers of the past several years, Demario Davis’ late-career emergence as an elite LB has been fun to watch. He’s been a little bit dependent on good play from the defensive line in front of him, but he has the ability to fully integrate explosiveness with the ability to read opposing offenses.

Earlier in his career, Davis had primarily been a run-stuffing, gap-shooting linebacker that had some trouble with landmarks in zones and overrunning plays. But now, he plays a more disciplined style of football that still allows him to make big hits in the running game, get to the hole quicker than the RB, and squeeze lanes to force ball carriers into other defenders.

In pass coverage, Davis’ ability to read offenses has allowed him to finally channel his athleticism into becoming a short-area zone maven, making it nearly impossible for crossers and checkdowns to get much done.

6) Bobby Wagner

It defies belief that Bobby Wagner could continue playing at this level at his age, but he’s finding ways to make a big impact, and not just as a run-stuffer or blitzer. Wagner remains a coverage machine and does a great job getting his hands on the ball.

MORE: Highest-Paid Running Backs in the NFL in 2023

In 2022, he added to the Rams’ formidable pass rush as an excellent blitzer, and, along with Davis, was among the off-ball pressure leaders in the NFL. Wagner has a good sense of how to attack guards as a blitzer and stimulate pressure well enough to enable other pass rushers on the defensive line.

7) Dre Greenlaw, San Francisco 49ers

Rounding out the best LB duo in the NFL, Dre Greenlaw supplements Warner’s unreal coverage skills with his remarkable play against the pass. Another converted safety, Greenlaw adds even more speed to the 49ers’ defense with remarkable range.

Not only does this allow him to shut down some of the secondary receiving options NFL offenses will bring to the table, but it gives the 49ers incredible flexibility in how they call coverages.

Both of San Francisco’s linebackers have the ability to go deep in coverage or defend an enormous range underneath, which means that either one of them can be manned up against tight ends and running backs or sent into zone landmarks far away from where LBs are typically lined up.

That flexibility is part of the reason the 49ers have the best defense in the NFL. Greenlaw doesn’t trigger quite as quickly as Warner but might make up for it by being a bit more physical in the run game. In either case, both are enormous assets in both phases of the game.

8) Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah, Cleveland Browns

In the past, safety conversions to linebackers didn’t always produce success. Part of the reason for that was the willingness and instinct (or lack thereof) of safety converts to enter the fray and deliver a hit. Owusu-Koramoah, one of several safety-type linebackers on this list, proves that tendency is no longer a big concern.

Owusu-Koramoah hits hard and fast, though he’s primarily a coverage defender with run-stopping ability rather than the other way around. Still, the difference in both aspects of the Browns’ defense was notable when he was out. With the 2023 season ahead of him, he can hopefully put together another healthy year that should cement him among the league’s top linebackers.

9) T.J. Edwards, Philadelphia Eagles

The Philadelphia Eagles’ defense was remarkable in 2022, and though one can give a lot of credit to the secondary and defensive line, the linebackers did good work keeping the team consistent from down to down.

T.J. Edwards has made up for his average athleticism with elite diagnosis skills and does a great job in every asset of play. While not an elite player in any one facet, he’s does everything that’s asked of him, whether that’s covering RBs in man coverage, playing a middle zone, or rushing the passer.

Edwards has been a beacon of consistency in the run game as well, something Philadelphia needed throughout their run at a ring, as their defensive line dealt with injuries and focused more on pass rush than run defense.

10) Roquan Smith, Baltimore Ravens

Roquan Smith had been a great player in Chicago but seemingly declined a little bit every year. After being traded to the Baltimore Ravens, it seems like he’s revived his career.

Smith plays like a classic WILL LB and does an excellent job sifting through the trash to make plays in the running game without being a liability when blocked up by a fullback or tight end. He shines, however, as a coverage defender.

Smith can freelance a bit more than other linebackers because of his excellent eyes and athleticism, allowing him to close down on plays where his coverage assignment isn’t even the target. He also does a great job keeping in phase against tight ends and occasionally occupying deep zones.

If he finds a way to continue playing like this going forward, Smith could rise up the rankings.

Linebacker Rankings | 11-32

11) Nick Bolton, Kansas City Chiefs
12) Tremaine Edmunds, Buffalo Bills
13) Frankie Luvu, Carolina Panthers
14) Eric Kendricks, Minnesota Vikings
15) De’Vondre Campbell, Green Bay Packers
16) C.J. Mosley, New York Jets
17) Devin White, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
18) Foyesade Oluokun, Jacksonville Jaguars
19) Bobby Okereke, Indianapolis Colts
20) Quincy Williams, New York Jets
21) Germaine Pratt, Cincinnati Bengals
22) Willie Gay Jr., Kansas City Chiefs
23) David Long Jr., Tennessee Titans
24) Patrick Queen, Baltimore Ravens
25) Jerome Baker, Miami Dolphins
26) Shaq Thompson, Carolina Panthers
27) Logan Wilson, Cincinnati Bengals
28) Cole Holcomb, Washington Commanders
29) Alex Singleton, Denver Broncos
30) Malcolm Rodriguez, Detroit Lions
31) Ja’Whaun Bentley, New England Patriots
32) Josey Jewell, Denver Broncos



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Taylor Swift Is Shown Chugging a Beer on the Jumbotron at Super Bowl 58

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Global superstar Taylor Swift made it to the big game to support her boyfriend, Kansas City Chiefs star tight end Travis Kelce. In the second quarter, it was evident that she was having a good time at the Super Bowl after taking a 12-hour flight from Tokyo the night prior.

Taylor Swift Seen Chugging Beer at Super Bowl

Swift’s attendance has been highly anticipated, as many fans questioned whether she would be able to make it to the big game since she had been in Japan until Saturday for her Eras Tour.

Sure enough, she made it to the Super Bowl and was seen making a grand entrance alongside Blake Lively and Ice Spice.

Swift made it back to the States with plenty of time to make it to Allegiant Stadium to support Kelce. After a leg of her Eras Tour, where she performed several nights in Japan, the singer appeared to let loose.

In a box full of friends, Swift was shown chugging a beer with Ashley Avignone. She was shown on the jumbotron and slammed her cup down after she finished her beer.

There was a mix of cheers and boos as Swift was shown on the big screen, and a long pass to Mecole Hardman was the only highlight of the first half for Swift and her friends. The 49ers led the Chiefs, 10-0, late in the second quarter.

On social media, Swift garnered plenty of support from NFL fans.

If you’re hating on her you can kick rocks man she’s the best,” one user posted on X

“The one thing I learned this season is that she is actually fun,” another said. 

“Booing Taylor Swift chugging a beer is so soft. She’s just one of us now and I respect it ,” another posted. 

At the time of the beer chugging, Kelce, Taylor Swift’s boyfriend, has had one catch for a single yard. It came on the first possession, which ended up being a three-and-out. The Kansas City Chiefs hadn’t done much otherwise.

They did have a deep pass play to Hardman, which put them in the red zone, but Isiah Pacheco fumbled on the very next play — one that Kelce was surprisingly on the sideline for.

Swift and Kelce have garnered much media attention as their romance has taken off throughout this NFL season.

Swift was able to support her boyfriend at many of his games throughout the final stretch of the season, as her Eras Tour was on a break. But starting on Feb. 7, she went back on the road.

MORE: NFL World Reacts to Unbelievable Super Bowl Trick Play

Despite performing in Tokyo the night before the Super Bowl, she was able to make it in time to support her boyfriend due to the time difference and is having a good time doing so.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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What Happened to the 49ers Linebacker?

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The San Francisco 49ers sustained a massive blow during the second quarter of Super Bowl 58, as linebacker Dre Greenlaw left the game on a medical cart.

CBS Sports confirmed that the veteran Greenlaw suffered an Achilles tear, ruling him out for the rest of the game against the Kansas City Chiefs.

What Happened to Dre Greenlaw?

The outside linebacker, who had already been battling past injuries to his hamstrings and calves, left with what appeared to be a leg injury.

And somehow, his left leg looked like it buckled as he tried to trot onto the field with the Niners’ defense.

Greenlaw clutched his left leg in agony before being helped off the field.

CBS Sports sideline reporter Evan Washburn reported that the outside linebacker left with what was ruled as a lower leg injury. He was later determined to sustain an Achilles injury.

Greenlaw was declared out for the rest of the game.

Greenlaw Carted Off in Passenger Seat

Even more noticeable was where Greenlaw sat on the cart.

He ended up leaving not in the back of the medical vehicle but ended up riding shotgun with his leg injury.

One would think that with an injury like an Achilles ailment, medical officials would try to make the player as comfortable as possible before they leave. It wasn’t the case here.

MORE: San Francisco 49ers Depth Chart

Regardless, Greenlaw was replaced by Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles for the rest of the first half. Greenlaw became the most significant injury of the game.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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NFL World Reacts to Epic Super Bowl Intro From CBS

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Super Bowl 58 is here and it’s going to be exciting. The San Francisco 49ers and Kansas City Chiefs are facing off in the final game of 2023.

CBS is broadcasting the game and the opening was nothing short of amazing. How is the NFL world reacting to the electric Super Bowl-opening video?

Epic CBS Super Bowl Intro Garners Reaction From NFL World

The video, which spanned four minutes and 19 seconds, featured players from both teams talking about the big game and what it means to them. It also featured their families talking about their journeys to this point.

“Amazing intro! Reminds me of my dad! Bravo on the intro!,” one NFL fan said on X (formerly known as Twitter)

Additionally, Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” played in the background, giving it a near-movie feel. “This was incredible.,” another person said on X. “And so, the @49ers and @Chiefs face that final curtain,” CBS Sports said.

The 49ers finished the regular season as the top seed in the NFC with a 12-5 record. After their first-round bye, they defeated both the Green Bay Packers and Detroit Lions to earn their trip to Las Vegas for the Super Bowl. Both of their victories came in comeback fashion, including an NFC Championship-record 17-point comeback.

The Chiefs, on the other hand, had a more uphill battle. Entering the playoffs as the AFC’s third seed, they finished the regular season with an 11-6 record. In the playoffs, they defeated the Miami Dolphins, Buffalo Bills, and Baltimore Ravens to punch their ticket.

Super Bowl 58 is a re-match of Super Bowl 54 when the Chiefs defeated the 49ers 31-24. The win was the first in Patrick Mahomes career, as he also won Super Bowl MVP. Four years later, the Chiefs have made three more and won another. For the 49ers, this is their first trip back to the big game since.

The game kicked off at 6:30 p.m. ET with the 49ers receiving the opening kick. In addition to being broadcast on CBS, the game is also being streamed on Paramount+.

As the 2023 NFL season comes to a close, the 2024 NFL Draft is on the horizon. Pro Football Network has you covered with everything from team draft needs to the Top 100 prospects available. Plus, fire up PFN’s Mock Draft Simulator to put yourself in the general manager’s seat and make all the calls!

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast

Listen to the PFN Fantasy Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review! Rather watch instead? Check out the PFN Fantasy Podcast on our Fantasy YouTube channel.





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