The AFC West had one representative in the ESPN.com linebacker Power Rankings.
HaliKansas City Chiefs outside linebacker Tamba Hali was tied for ninth with Carolina’s Jon Beason. I had Hali ranked ninth. Seventeen linebackers received votes. Hali was the only AFC West linebacker to receive votes. Hali, who led the AFC with 14.5 sacks last season, was fifth in our pass-rusher Power Rankings earlier in the offseason.
I think the AFC West has some very good linebackers. I also considered Kansas City’s Derrick Johnson, San Diego’s Shaun Phillips and Denver’s D.J. Williams. I could see Oakland second-year player Rolando McClain soon getting recognition. If this were a top-20 ranking, there would be a bigger AFC West presence.
As for the overall Power Rankings, San Francisco’s Patrick Willis was ranked No. 1. I think this ranking was difficult because there are so many different things to consider about linebackers and there are multiple positions to consider. Pass-rush ability, tackle numbers, leadership, intelligence and intimidation factor all must be considered.
I know there will be plenty of opinions on this list. Fill up the comments section with your thoughts.
We rank the cornerbacks next week. I expect solid AFC West representation. Here’s a hint: I’m staying close for my vote for No. 1.