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ESPN Power Rankings: Willis #1 LB

http://espn.go.com/blog/nfcwest/post/_/id/35956/power-rankings-top-10-nfl-linebackers

San Francisco 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis beat out a strong and diverse field for top billing in ESPN.com's latest positional power rankings.

All eight panelists ranked Willis among their top three, elevating the 26-year-old perennial Pro Bowler above James Harrison and DeMarcus Ware as our No. 1 linebacker in the NFL.

Even 12-time Pro Bowler Ray Lewis, the dominant linebacker of his era, pointed to Willis as a worthy successor to his undisputed reign. Not that Lewis is finished just yet. He placed fifth in the rankings behind Willis, Harrison, Ware and the Green Bay Packers' Clay Matthews. But there was no more complete linebacker than Willis.

"Nobody in the NFL plays their position better than Patrick Willis, and that is saying a lot," said Matt Williamson of Scouts Inc., whose insights helped shape my ballot. "He is as good a linebacker as Peyton Manning is a quarterback, as Andre Johnson is a receiver, as Adrian Peterson is a running back. He has no weaknesses."

Willis, a three-time Associated Press All-Pro first-team selection, is the first 49ers player since Ronnie Lott to earn Pro Bowl honors in each of his first four seasons. Joe Thomas and Peterson are the only other 2007 draft choices with four Pro Bowls.



Ranking the Linebackers

1. Patrick Willis, San Francisco 49ers
2. James Harrison, Pittsburgh Steelers
3. DeMarcus Ware, Dallas Cowboys
4. Clay Matthews, Green Bay Packers
5. Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens
6. Jerod Mayo, New England Patriots
7. Brian Urlacher, Chicago Bears
8. LaMarr Woodley, Pittsburgh Steelers
9. Tamba Hali, Kansas City Chiefs
9. Jon Beason, Carolina Panthers
  • jrg
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 110,808
List seems about right...I'd bump Beason up to #7 though.
They are finally agreeing with all of us.
Well, well deserved. We are lucky to have him.
Originally posted by Redeemer:
Well, well deserved. We are lucky to have him.

Yes, we are. My favorite player.
To think some of us wanted adam Carriker


Looking back at that draft there were some good players taken after him in positions that we needed Revis, Merriweather, Bowe, L Hall, to name a few players off the top of my head. Glad Nowin and mcclueless got this one right IMO
[ Edited by bigginz54 on Apr 12, 2011 at 10:59 AM ]
Originally posted by bigginz54:
To think some of us wanted adam Carriker


Looking back at that draft there were some good players taken after him in positions that we needed Revis, Merriweather, Bowe, L Hall, to name a few players off the top of my head. Glad Nowin and mcclueless got this one right IMO

Remember Sing didn't want to draft him...... Holy crap that guy was a disaster.

"He has no weakness", (regarding Willis) is the quote of the year.

P.S. I would take Willis over Revis. Revis costs too much and probably wont be a shutdown corner as long as Willis will be a dominate LB.
[ Edited by Oakland-Niner on Apr 12, 2011 at 11:11 AM ]
  • mod
  • Veteran
  • Posts: 28,982
Beason is better than 9 IMO, would have moved him up to 4 or 5.... easily 2nd best inside linebacker.
are mayo and hali really that good? had no idea
Originally posted by YungAce:
are mayo and hali really that good? had no idea

Duh! Dont you play Madden...
Originally posted by modninerfan:
Beason is better than 9 IMO, would have moved him up to 4 or 5.... easily 2nd best inside linebacker.

Carolina moved him to the outside last year. I wonder if they move him back inside. I agree Beason should be higher and London Fletcher from the Skins should be on this list as well.
Originally posted by YungAce:
are mayo and hali really that good? had no idea

Mayo is a tackling machine but doesn't make too many "impact" plays. I really don't think he belongs on that list though because he is a product of the system in NE as much as anything else. If you were to swap Mayo and Willis you would see a huge difference. Beason is deffinately better than Mayo. Hali is for real.
every great defender has that 1 year where they are clearly the best defensive player in the game, deion in 1994, derrick brooks in 2002, ed reed in 2004, etc. i'm hoping willis has one of those signature years coming up.