For a while now, Gil Brandt, the NFL Media senior analyst, has been one of my favorites to listen to on SiriusXM NFL Radio and to read on NFL.com and especially prior to the annual draft. He’s been connected to the league since before I was even born and even at 84 years old is still a great evaluator of talent. With that disclaimer now out of the way, Brandt’s current series of the greatest NFL players of all-time has had me scratching my head more than just a few times.
A recent head scratcher revolves around Brandt’s latest rankings of all-time greatest linebackers that includes four Pittsburgh Steelers past and present.
The highest ranking former Steelers linebacker on Brandt’s list is Kevin Greene at 10th overall and being as he registered 160 career sacks during his career, which still ranks him No. 3 on the all-time leaders list, I can wrap my brain around that choice.
Brandt also has former Steelers great Jack Ham ranked 12th overall and while I am pleased to see him up that high, the fact that he’s ranked so much higher than his teammate Jack Lambert (22nd) has me a bit confused. I’m not trying to take anything away from what Ham did during his stellar career, but Lambert should be the higher ranked of the two.
Surprisingly, rounding out the four Steelers on Brandt’s list is current outside linebacker James Harrison at 25th overall and that’s even two spots ahead of former Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher. As great as Harrison has been during his lengthy career, 25th overall still feels a bit high and especially when you look at the other players on this list 45.
Personally, I feel like Brandt would have been better served differentiating between 3-4 and 4-3 linebackers and both the inside and outside positions. It would have constituted a few more posts, but would have likely been worth the extra effort just the same.