Baltimore Ravens Linebackers are Best in NFL


Oct 19, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens linebacker Pernell McPhee (90) sacks Atlanta Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan (2) in the second quarter at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens are well known for having a history of outstanding linebacker play.  Obviously names like Ray Lewis, Adalius Thomas, Jamie Sharper, Jarret Johnson, Peter Boulware, and Terrell Suggs come to mind.  But if we asked you what team had the best linebackers, right now, in the NFL, who would you say?

A lot of people would immediately think 49ers, Panthers, or maybe even the Seahawks.  But they would be wrong.  Because right now, after seven weeks of the 2014 season, the Baltimore Ravens linebackers are the best in the NFL.  And it really isn’t even close.

If you look at 3-4 defenses, it’s easy.  Pro Football Focus ranks the Ravens outside linebacker trio in three of the top four spots. Terrell Suggs is number one, Elvis Dumervil number three, and Pernell McPhee number four.  Only Oakland Raider’s rookie Khalil Mack breaks up the trifecta by claiming the second spot.

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If you would like to look at 4-3 linebackers, the Miami Dolphins have two great ones in Jelani Jenkins and Phllip Wheeler.  But both of them have a lower rating than any of our aforementioned three.  In fact, only Von Miller of the Denver Broncos has a higher rating (23.7) than Suggs (19.6), Dumervil (15.4), or McPhee (15.2).

What about inside linebackers, you say?  Well the Ravens have the third best in the NFL in rookie C.J. Mosley (8.7).  The only guys that rank higher than Mosley right now are Karlos Dansby (9.7) and Bobby Wagner (9.2).  That’s pretty great company for a rookie, especially when Luke Kuechly is currently number five.

In terms of sacks, Elvis Dumervil is tied with five other players for second place in the NFL, and Pernell McPhee is 14th.  The Ravens, as a team, have the top rated pass rush in the league (39.4).  To put that in perspective, the next closest team, the Chiefs, have a 21.6.  To top it off, the Ravens have the number one rated overall defense in the NFL.

So, pound for pound, we challenge anyone to name a team that has a better linebacker unit than the Baltimore Ravens through seven weeks of the NFL season.

The Ravens entered the season with questions about how Suggs and Dumervil, both on the wrong side of 30, would respond to their perceived impending decline.  McPhee, a career underachiever, is still vastly underrated this season.  But at the torrid pace they are on, this group won’t be off the radar much longer.