The Cincinnati Bengals Have The Best 4-3 Linebacker Corps

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Jun 14, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Karlos Dansby (56) during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 14, 2016; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Bengals linebacker Karlos Dansby (56) during minicamp at Paul Brown Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Bengals have been blessed with tons of depth at the linebacker position. Going into the season, they have one of the best corps in the league.

Cincinnati Bengals linebacker, Karlos Dansby, told Dan Hoard during an  interview on Bengals.com “We might be one of the more talented groups I’ve ever been around.” The 12-year veteran linebacker wasn’t just speaking about the overall team, he was also speaking about the linebacker corps as well. 

"“Best linebackers in the league. If anybody thinks differently, they’re crazy. I think it’s because we can all do different things.”"

In today’s league, it’s hard to determine what a linebacker actually is. Do we base these players on strictly first and second down situations or are we talking about how well they can rush the passer? If we’re talking about the latter, let’s just stop now and put every 3-4 team who can sack the quarterback ahead of the Bengals.

For the sake of this argument, linebackers such as Pittsburgh’s James Harrison, Denver’s Von Miller, DeMarcus Ware, and Baltimore’s Terrell Suggs are “strictly” pass rushers. I want to talk about the SAM, MIKE and WILL. The Luke Kuechly‘s, Vontaze Burfict‘s and Lavonte David‘s.

Out of all the 4-3 teams in the league, the Bengals boast the best linebacker corps top to bottom and it’s not even close. Some of you might say, “wait…what about the Panthers and the Seahawks?” They’re of course second and third. You can rank them however you want. But, the top spot goes to Cincinnati, hands down. Simply based on some uncertainties, versatility, and depth, we can rank Cincinnati above all.

The Carolina Panthers employ one of the best— if not the best—linebacker duos in the league. Luke Kuechly and Thomas Davis dominate when they are on the field together. Plus, It also helps that Shaq Thompson is a solid linebacker who fits in nicely next to the fearsome duo. However, depth is the issue here. A.J. Klein and David Mayo are solid backups, but behind those two there’s not much to get excited about. 

Love him or hate him, he’s one of the league’s best.

As for Seattle, K.J. Wright and Bobby Wagner have to be two of the best linebackers not talked about enough. Perhaps, it’s because they’re overshadowed by the Seahawks secondary. Regardless, they are the real deal. Seattle falls behind Cincinnati however, because of their lack of a real starting trio.

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Mike Morgan is a decent linebacker, but won’t produce as well as Bruce Irvin did for the Seahawks. Besides that, the Seahawks are in good shape at that position.

Cincinnati beats out both of these Super Bowl teams (which is very ironic). Dansby has always been one of those players who racks up statistics, but seemingly flies under the radar when talking about the best players at his position. Ironically, if you ask anyone who watches him or has been around the league, they’ll all say the same thing. He’s a playmaker.

The Bengals love him. His veteran leadership—as well as his playmaking ability—brings something Cincinnati hasn’t had in a while. First Dansby, then there’s King Tez. Love him or hate him, he’s one of the league’s best and that can’t be denied. Vontaze Burfict embodies what a linebacker is supposed to be. An ill-willed, sideline-to-sideline, hard-hitting, playmaking leader. He’s the face of Cincinnati’s defense.

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