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Top 10 Middle Linebackers in NFL 2022 Rankings

Fred Warner leads the way as we rank the Top 10 NFL Middle Linebackers of the 2021-2022 season going into the 2023 NFL season. Also where Bobby Wagner, Roquan Smith, Demario Davis, and more rank


By admin | June 30, 2022

The slow march of the hot summer continues to grind on as fans of the game of football, experts, and even the NFL players begin to peek ahead to the upcoming 2022 NFL season. As training camps get set to open up in Mid-July, now is a great chance to take a look back at the Top 10 NFL Middle Linebackers 2021-22 rankings. 

As you start to look around at the importance of the middle linebacker position, you will start to see that the league is filled with so many solid middle linebackers who can play against both the run as well as the pass.

In addition, middle linebackers are key communicators among the defense with many handling the responsibility of relaying the defensive play to the defense. 

While a debate can be made over who is the best middle linebacker in the NFL today, statistics from the 2021 NFL season and play on the field can make it easier to fill out the middle linebacker’s worth mentioning. A group that includes the likes of Fred Warner, Bobby Wagner, and Roquan Smith.

With that said, here is our list of the Top 10 NFL Middle Linebackers 2021-2022 Rankings.

Honorable Mention

C.J. Mosley

Team(s): New York Jets

2021 Stats: 103 Solo, 2 Sacks, 2 FF, 0 INT 

The former first round pick during the 2014 NFL Draft, continues to put together a solid NFL career after another strong season during the 2021 NFL schedule.

The New York Jets middle linebacker just missed the Top 10 NFL Middle Linebackers 2021-22 Rankings.

Mosley posted a career high 168 total tackles while ranking second in the NFL with 103 solo tackles. In addition, Mosley forced two fumbles and recorded two sacks over 16 NFL games played.

Christian Kirksey

Team(s): Houston Texans

2021 Stats: 55 Solo, 0 Sacks, 0 FF, 1 INT 

After joining the Houston Texans before the start of the 2021 NFL season, Christian Kirksey put together his best season since entering the NFL in 2014.

The former Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker demonstrated his ability to make plays from the position while also took a huge step forward as a leader on the defensive side of the ball.

The former Cleveland Browns linebacker finished with an overall rating of 50.3 on a very bad Texans team. 

Top 10 NFL Middle Linebackers

10. Jayon Brown

Team(s): Las Vegas Raiders, Tennessee Titans

2021 Stats: 35 Solo, 0 Sacks, 0 FF, 1 INT 

It’s hard to measure how high Jayon Brown might have ranked on the Top 10 NFL Middle Linebackers 2021-22 rankings list had he stayed healthy all season.

That said, injuries are a part of the game, allowing us to analyze his performance in games he did appear in.

The Las Vegas Raiders middle linebacker recorded at least five solo tackles in five different games, posted one interception, two passes defended and two stuffs while playing a key role on the Tennessee Titans defense.

9. Leighton Vander Esch

Team(s): Dallas Cowboys

2021 Stats: 48 Solo, 1 Sacks, 0 FF, 1 INT 

The former first round pick during the 2018 NFL draft out of Boise State put together a brilliant rookie campaign but failed to stay healthy the following two seasons.

However, Vander Esch bounced back in 2021 for the Dallas Cowboys recording 77 tackles to go with one sack, 7.5 stuffs, and one interception.

In addition, Vander Esch stepped up during the team’s playoff loss recording 13 total tackles. 

8. Anthony Walker

Team(s): Cleveland Browns

2021 Stats: 69 Solo, 1 Sacks, 0 FF, 0 INT

As you start to move up the rankings board among the best middle linebackers in the NFL, the Cleveland Browns former fifth round pick Anthony Walker is a name that continues to get better each season.

Walker took a huge stride forward with his performance in 2021, landing a 69.1 overall PFF grade after recording 113 total tackles to go along with one sack and one pass defended.

In seven of the 13 games he played he recorded at least nine tackles while also posting at least seven in four additional games. Walker showed up all over the football field for the Browns in 2021.

7. T.J. Edwards

Team(s): Philadelphia Eagles

2021 Stats: 64 Solo, 1 Sacks, 0 FF, 1 INT 

The undrafted middle linebacker of the Philadelphia Eagles made the most of his time during the 2021 NFL season after entering the season as a backup.

Once landing the starting job, TJ Edwards did not disappoint as he showcased his ability to play against both the run and pass.

Edwards posted five pass deflections and five tackles for a loss to go along with 130 combined tackles and even two quarterback hits from the middle linebacker position earning him mid to upper tier grade from PFF (75.5).

6. Tremaine Edmunds

Team(s): Buffalo Bills

2021 Stats: 70 Solo, 0 Sacks, 0 FF, 1 INT

It is difficult to put on paper how good Tremaine Edmunds is and how much of an impact he has had on the Buffalo Bills defense since arriving in 1998.

Edmunds, who played his college football at Virginia Tech was drafted 16th overall during the 2018 NFL. Since being drafted, the former Hokie has posted at least 108 tackles in each of the past three seasons while showing up all over the football field.

Despite receiving a low grade from PFF, much of that has to do with how opposing teams game plan for him while attempting to find other holes to take advantage of on the Bills defense. 

5. Roquan Smith

Team(s): Chicago Bears

2021 Stats: 95 Solo, 3 Sacks, 0 FF, 1 INT

Sometimes defensive metrics and analytics are difficult to solidify a ranking or grade because of the other metrics that don’t get rated.

This is the case for Roquan Smith of the Chicago Bears who graded low by PFF, but much of that has to do with the fact he is more of a coverage linebacker.

Smith posted sixth in the NFL in solo tackles with 95 while recording a combined 163 tackles over the course of the season. Smith was all over the field for the Bears last season while not missing tackles.

4. Demario Davis

Team(s): New Orleans Saints

2021 Stats: 70 Solo, 3 Sacks, 0 FF, 0 INT

The veteran linebacker out of Arkansas State continues to turn in a solid NFL career while posting a very strong 2021 NFL performance.

Demario Davis finished last season recording 70 solo tackles, 105 total tackles, three sacks and seven passes defended.

His performance on the field landed him an overall grade of 76.3 from PFF and landed him in the upper portion of the top middle linebackers in 2021. In addition, his performance on the field earned him a second-team All-Pro selection. 

3. Eric Kendricks

Team(s): Minnesota Vikings

2021 Stats: 81 Solo, 5 Sacks, 0 FF, 2 INT

One of the Top 10 NFL Middle Linebackers in the NFL since arriving in Minnesota with the Vikings has been the heart and soul of the defense Eric Kendricks when healthy can rank with the best in the game.

Kendricks, who is an excellent defender, has the speed and quickness to cover both tight ends and running backs while also playing against slot receivers when needed.

Kendricks recorded five sacks, two interceptions and 81 solo tackles to go along with 143 total tackles. 

2. Bobby Wagner

Team(s): Los Angeles Rams, Seattle Seahawks

2021 Stats: 93 Solo, 1 Sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT

Despite being 32 years of age, Bobby Wagner continues to be one of the best middle linebackers in the NFL if not the best year in and year out.

Last season, Wagner posted his 10th straight NFL season with at least 100 tackles while recording one sack, one interception, 9.5 stuffs and five passes defended.

His solid play on the field landed him a 71.8 grade from PFF while also ranking fourth in snaps played among all middle linebackers. Wagner will help the Super Bowl Champions Los Angeles Rams this season.

1. Fred Warner

Team(s): San Francisco 49ers

2021 Stats: 79 Solo, 0.5 Sacks, 1 FF, 0 INT 

Landing at number one on the Top 10 NFL Middle Linebackers 2021-2022 rankings list is the San Francisco 49ers Pro Bowler Fred Warner.

Warner, who turned in an overall grade of 75.2 from PFF, continued his dominance at the position for the 49ers. The 49ers star posted 137 total tackles to go along with one forced fumble, three fumble recoveries and four passes defended.

In addition, Warner stepped up big during the 49ers postseason run, recording 21 tackles to go along with one forced fumble.

How would you rank these Middle Linebackers going into the 2022-2023 NFL season? Rank below to be added in the Power Rankings.

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  2. Matt Gono

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  9. Dont'a Hightower

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  10. Bobby Okereke

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