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Top 10 Outside Linebackers in NFL 2024 Rankings

Ranking the best NFL Outside Linebackers going into the 2024-2025 season as TJ Watt of the Pittsburgh Steelers leads the way


By admin | June 24, 2024

Who is the Best Current NFL Outside Linebacker?

The evolution of the game of football continues as players across all levels of the sport continue to improve their overall performance to include speed, agility, and strength. Through this evolution the linebacker position continues to change to include talented stars both at the anterior and middle linebacker position as well as at the outside linebacker position. One of those stars at the outside linebacker position is the Pittsburgh Steelers TJ Watt who is as good as any defender in the NFL while landing at the Top 10 NFL Outside Linebackers 2024 Rankings list.

Watt, who is coming off another spectacular season over the course of the 2023 NFL schedule, put together a stat sheet that ranked among the best defensive players in the league while earning some consideration for the 2023 NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. Since arriving in the NFL during the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft, Watt has been a four-time First Team All-Pro selection, NFL Defensive Player of the Year while leading the league in sacks in three different seasons.

Joining Watt among the best outside linebackers entering the 2024 NFL season include Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys, Kayvon Thibodeaux of the New York Giants, Josh Allen of the Jacksonville Jaguars, and Khalil Mack of the Los Angeles Chargers.

Here is a look at the Top 10 NFL Outside Linebackers 2024 Rankings list:

Honorable Mention

Jaelan Phillips

Team: Miami Dolphins

Just missing the Top 10 NFL Outside Linebackers 2024 Rankings list is another Miami Dolphins outside linebacker looking to bounce back after having their season ended last year due to an injury.

That linebacker is the former Miami Hurricanes linebacker Jaelan Phillips who appeared in just eight games last season before going down with a torn Achilles.

Prior to his injury Phillips was playing well over the first eight games of the season including earning a 77.4 grade against the run while posting 6.5 sacks in just eight games.

With the Dolphins getting high stakes for a Super Bowl run in 2024, a healthy return for Phillips during the 2024 NFL season could be the spark plug needed to help the Dolphins defense.

Jadeveon Clowney

Team: Carolina Panthers

Another talented outside linebacker who saw his performance jump last season while playing a key role within the Baltimore Ravens defense is Jadeveon Clowney.

Despite being 30 years old, Clowney posted a stellar 2024 season posting 9.5 sacks while helping him to earn an overall 83.8 grade from PFF. To go along with those numbers Clowney recorded 43 tackles to go along with two sacks, one forced fumble and 4.5 stuffs up front.

Clowney will be called upon to continue that proven success of last year in his first season with the Carolina Panthers as they look to continue their rebuild this season.

Top 10 NFL Outside Linebackers 2024 Rankings

10. Harold Landry III

Team: Tennessee Titans

Sliding in at number 10 on the Top 10 NFL Outside Linebackers 2024 Rankings list is the Tennessee Titans Harold Landry III. Over the past two seasons the Titans linebacker has been as good as advertised while ranking among the highest paid players at his position while posting 22.5 sacks over that stretch.

That includes a stellar 2023 NFL season in which the former Boston College Eagles star posted 70 tackles to go along with 10.5 sacks and 11 sacks within the running game. Landry III is an all-around talented player who can not only get to the quarterback but also stop the run game.

9. Kyle Van Noy

Team: Baltimore Ravens

The aging veteran continues to put together strong seasons while reemerging as a strong pass rusher after signing with the Baltimore Ravens last season. Kyle Van Noy who was used in a role outside of his normal role while splitting time with an extensive list of other talented outside linebackers last season posted a career high nine sacks to go along with two forced fumbles.

Van Noy brings a veteran leadership quality to a strong Ravens defense that has had a long history of stellar defensive play.

After signing back with the Ravens, expectations are set high for Van Noy to continue to anchor down the defense while adding a potential double-digit number of sacks this season after missing the total by one despite playing in just 14 games.

8. Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah

Team: Cleveland Browns

While all the attention on the Cleveland Browns defensive unit turns to Myles Garrett due to his big play on the field, other players are often overlooked including talented versatile linebacker Jeremiah Owusu-Koramoah.

The former Notre Dame Fighting Irish linebacker is slowly blossoming into every down linebacker who can do it across the football field including playing at an elevated level against the pass while also showcasing his ability to reach the quarterback.

Since arriving with the Browns during the second round of the 2021 NFL Draft, Owusu-Koramoah has been selected to one Pro Bowl team, posted 247 career tackles while also adding five forced fumbles and five sacks.

After not being used in blitzing downs as a rookie, the Browns linebacker performed well last season and will look to build on an 87.4 pass rush grade from PFF and a career high four sacks.

7. Bradley Chubb

Team: Miami Dolphins

Only real question mark heading into the 2024 NFL season is how long will Bradley Chubb be sidelined after suffering an ACL at the end of the last season?

Nonetheless lofty expectations are set for the Dolphins entering the upcoming football season while expectations are also set high for a big time return from Chubb to the Dolphins defense.

While Chubb is expected to miss time at the start of the 2024 NFL season, a healthy stretch run at the outside position after returning could still deliver a double-digit sack performance from Chubb while freeing up double teams across the defensive line. Chubb had posted an overall 89.5 grade from PFF before his season came to end last season.

6. Boye Mafe

Team: Seattle Seahawks

Possibly one of the most underrated linebackers in the NFL, Boye Mafe is slowly emerging while building a name for himself anchored within the Seattle Seahawks linebacking corps.

As the Seahawks turn to first year head coach Mike Macdonald, the team will look to implement McDonalds defensive scheme, something that helped the Baltimore Ravens rank among the best defensive units in the NFL while producing multiple defenders with at least nine sacks.

Mafe, who played his college football with the Minnesota Golden Gophers is a hybrid linebacker who can do it all from slowing down the running game to finding a hole up front to get to the opposing quarterback. 

5. Kayvon Thibodeaux

Team: New York Giants

Rounding out the Top 5 on the Top 10 NFL Outside Linebackers 2024 Rankings list is the former Oregon Ducks linebacker Kayvon Thibodeaux. Thibodeaux, who was the fifth overall pick by the New York Giants during the 2022 NFL Draft has ranked among the best performing players of that draft while also improving as one of the best outside linebackers in the NFL.

Over 17 games last season Thibodeaux posted 11.5 sacks to go along with three forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and 7.5 stuffs at or behind the line of scrimmage.

Expectations are high for the former Ducks star entering what looks to be an exciting season for the New York Giants as well as the rest of the National Football League.

4. Josh Allen

Team: Jacksonville Jaguars

Coming off a breakout 2023 NFL season, Josh Allen entered the off-season looking for a new deal and that is exactly what the former Kentucky Wildcats star would land.

Allen secured a five-year deal worth upwards of $150 million dollars while becoming the face of the Jaguars defense for the years to come. The sixth-year star will be entering the upcoming season looking to build on an overall 89.5 grade from PFF while also posting a career high 17.5 sacks after posting just 16.5 sacks over his previous three seasons.

In addition to ranking among the best pass rushers at the position, Allen is also an upside defender against the run while posting 8.5 stuffs to go along with one interception and two forced fumbles.

3. Khalil Mack

Team: Los Angeles Chargers

The 33-year-old veteran outside linebacker continues to rank among the best pass rush specialists in the NFL while entering the upcoming season with 101.5 career sacks.

After a few down seasons with the Chicago Bears and a first with the Los Angeles Chargers last season, Khalil Mack bounced back highlighting his physical skills including his agility and speed to get to the quarterback last season. Mack posted a career high 17 sacks over 17 games while also registering 74 tackles, five forced fumbles, and 17 stuffs.

While his pass rush ability continues to remain a strong asset, the Charger outside linebacker also continues to rank among the best run defenders at the position while posting another 90.8 grade against the run last season.

2. Micah Parsons

Team: Dallas Cowboys 

When it comes to the best outside linebackers who play the edge and force havoc on opposing offenses, Micah Parsons of the Dallas Cowboys ranks among the best players at the position while also considered by many to rank atop the list.

Nonetheless the Cowboys star defender who is entering his fourth NFL season during the upcoming season has posted at least 13 sacks in each of his first three seasons.

Parsons who has struggled against the run since entering the league is coming off a stellar 92.4 overall grade from PFF including a 93.7 pass-rush mark while also improving his overall performance against the run while posting 12 stuffs.

1. TJ Watt

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers

In at number one on the Top 10 NFL Outside Linebackers 2024 Rankings list is the Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker and former NFL Defensive Player of the Year TJ Watt.

Watt, who is coming off his fifth double digit sack season over his first seven seasons, is looking to build on his 96.5 career sacks during the 2024 NFL season.

The Steelers linebacker is known for his ability to play the edge while putting pressure on opposing quarterbacks on each drop back despite facing double teams to slow him down. What capped off an impressive 2023 NFL season posting a 91.7 pass-rush grade from PFF to go along with his fourth overall First Team All-Pro selection.

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Players Count 10
  1. Jared Verse

    Outside LB
  2. Dallas Turner

    Outside LB
  3. Tuf Borland

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  4. Troy Dye

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  5. Monty Rice

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  6. Derick Roberson

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  7. Nick Dzubnar

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  8. Chazz Surratt

    Outside LB
  9. Blake Lynch

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  10. Eric Kendricks

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