Prior to the 1970s, it was defensive linemen that were the primary pass-rushers—not linebackers. About half of the good pass-rushers in the NFL are now linebackers, and a big part of the shift is due to the contribution of Lawrence Taylor.
When you think of the best pass-rushing linebackers of all time, Taylor is always at the top of the list. Some people consider him the best defensive player of all time. Taylor is ninth on the all-time sacks list with 132.5, and that doesn’t include the 9.5 sacks from his rookie season in 1981 because the sack statistic wasn’t official.
There have been a lot of good linebackers since Taylor, but none that have revolutionized the position like he did. The closest we may ever get to another Taylor is Denver Broncos outside linebacker Von Miller.
What Taylor did as a 3-4 right outside linebacker, Miller is doing as a 4-3 left outside linebacker. There isn’t another linebacker like Miller in the NFL, just like there wasn’t a linebacker like Taylor in the NFL.