We've set out to find the best outside linebackers in the NFL—based on how well they tackle, stop the run and rush the passer. Each starter has been assessed as to how well he exemplified those traits in 2011. The quest comes as part of the B/R NFL 1,000. The series offers an in-depth look at every position in the NFL, breaking down players' skills in a way never before seen on the Internet.
B/R 1,000 rankings don't assess who had the best year, or even who has the most potential. Rather, players—in this case, outside linebackers—are judged on their current skills and mechanics, based on film study of the 2011 NFL preseason and regular season only.
After hours spent scouting every starter and every potential starter, the top 64 outside linebackers have been scored on 10 criteria. In the slides that follow, we'll explain each player's strengths and weaknesses as the final ranking is revealed.