Top Ten 3-4 Outside Linebackers in the NFL

1. Von Miller

The Super Bowl MVP is the clear leader here and is one of the biggest mismatches in the game. Miller is as strong as anyone and the game, but in terms of finesse play, it may be his strongest suit. The combination makes him a monster and a walking mismatch. There are few that will argue anyone is hotter right now, and the MVP award only adds fuel to his argument. 

2. Justin Houston 

Lets all hope that Houston is going to be healthy and ready to go this year. When healthy, he is as scary of a matchup as you can find in the NFL. Houston is just as strong in the run defense as he is in the pass, and the total package makes him so hard to pass up. He is probably right there with Miller, and if he were on that Broncos defense may have had similar hardware. 

3. Chandler Jones 

A lot of people see Jones sliding inside on the line with Calais Campbell and Robert Nkemdiche but until I see otherwise, I personally like him even further out on the edge rushing opposite of Markus Golden. The fact that you can debate whether he is a defensive tackle or an outside linebacker shows you where this guy is athletically. Last year saw off-field issues which led to his trade, but also saw double digit sack totals. 

4. Clay Matthews 

Clay Matthews made a sacrifice to move to the inside at times and it affected his numbers, but kind of makes you respect him more as a player. Still, it is tough to envision where he would be if he was focusing on playing the edge full-time. He is still an elite defender, and one of the fastest at the position. 

5. Muhammad Wilkerson 

Wilkerson is another case in which he plays all over the field. He is best as a defensive end, but it is unnoticed how effective he is rushing from seven technique, and defending the run. The Jets sent him out on the edge last year to get their rookie Leonard Williams, on the field with Sheldon Richardson, and Damon Harrison. Harrison is gone, but the Jets signed Steve McClendon so they should still be looking to use Wilkerson out on the edge in 2016. 

6. Whitney Mercilus 

It took some time, but in 2015 the NFL finally saw why Mercilus was drafted in the first round. He put up 10 sacks,and when Jadeveon Clowney was healthy it was still Mercilus on tape looking like the better football prospect. Mercilus is perfect to line up with Watt, because both of them seem fine rushing from multiple positions and sides. Mercilus is a best as a pass rusher, but is fine against the run and is now one of the best at his position. 

7. Ryan Kerrigan 

Kerrigan is so good mainly because of how consistent he is. He has never had less than seven sacks in one season, and has not yet missed a start in his career. He seemed to lead a Washington front that seems like it is on the rise, and his stock should only be on the rise. 

8. Pernell McPhee 

Usually when a player leaves a team like the Ravens you assume they knew what they were doing. With McPhee, it seems like he just got away from them. He seems to be an underrated pass rusher because of how impressive he is against the run and at setting an edge. Still he put up six sacks in twelve starts, and with defensive coordinator Vic Fangio in his second year in Chicago McPhee could be an ex-factor for another rise. 

9. Markus Golden 

Golden was tough to put this high because he is a rookie with limited experience, but still every time you watch the Cardinals it is tough not to notice him make one big play every game. You seemed to always just think hmm Markus Golden again. He only put up four sacks, but was extremely disruptive and this off-season the Cardinals added Jones and Nkemdiche. It seems like this year they will be letting Golden loose and this front may be much improved. 

10. Melvin Ingram

Ingram was always a lot of hype and waiting for a big year, but last year he was truly a first round pick. Last year he went for 10.5 sacks and looked like he could have been the best player on the Chargers defense. Ingram is in a contract year, and personally I am expecting another big season in lieu of it 


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