In our first round of voting, Tremaine Edmunds came away as the clear choice for the best linebacker of the past decade. The young defender, with 50% of the vote and 25% more than the runner-up, will join our roster as one of the linebackers. There’s still room for at least one more, so the runners-up will compete for that opportunity. Without further ado, your options for LB 2!
The 2010 Buffalo Bills had the league’s worst run defense, and starting linebacker Paul Posluszny left in free agency. The Bills turned to free agent Nick Barnett, and he turned out to be better than they could’ve hoped. His first season was one of the best of his career: 130 tackles, three interceptions (including a pick-six), and three sacks. His second season was another strong one, with 112 tackles and three forced fumbles. He also inadvertently led to the incorporation of the Bills Mafia, joining in the fun as Bills fans teased Adam Schefter on social media.
The Bills cut him before his final contract year, the 2012 season. Barnett would play one more season in Washington before ending his career.
Overall stats: 32 games started, 242 combined tackles, 15 TFLs, five sacks, four forced fumbles, six passes defended, three interceptions.
Brown, Buffalo’s third-round pick in the 2014 draft, was a plug-and-play tackling machine for the Bills’ defense. In four seasons of starts, he didn’t notch many splash plays, but just kept bringing down ball carriers in his path. That included the 2017 season, when he led the league in tackles. Overall, he started more games at linebacker than any other Bills player during the past decade.
Overall stats: 62 games started, 512 combined tackles, 21 TFLs, one sack, two forced fumbles, 10 passes defended, three interceptions.
By popular request, the Bills’ Swiss Army Knife in the front seven has been made eligible for selection as a linebacker. Though you wouldn’t have guessed it when the 33-year-old journeyman signed a one-year, $880,000 contract with the Bills, they had just signed a perfect fit for their defense. In 2016, Alexander was selected to the Pro Bowl on a season with 12.5 sacks, three forced fumbles, and an interception. Despite his advanced age, and the nontraditional way the Bills moved him around the formation, Alexander was one of the most important defensive pieces (not to mention a vital captain and team leader) for four seasons. He retired after the 2019 season at age 36.
Overall stats: 42 games started, 279 tackles, 32 TFLs, 24.0 sacks, nine forced fumbles, 25 passes defended, 3 interceptions.
With Alexander’s addition, Milano now has competition for fans of the productive underdog. A fifth-round pick out of Boston College, Milano started his career behind veteran Ramon Humber, but forced his way onto the field during his rookie season. He would start five games that year. 2018 was Milano’s breakout year, arguably on a Pro Bowl trajectory before a broken leg ended his season after 13 games. He returned, a little bit rusty, in 2019, but rounded into form as the year went on. Eventually, he set career highs in tackles, sacks, and passes defended.
Overall stats: 33 games started, 228 combined tackles, 26 TFLs, 2.5 sacks, two forced fumbles, 18 passes defended, four interceptions.
Voting time. Pick one more linebacker for this defense!
Buffalo Bills 2010s All-Decade team: Linebacker 2
This poll is closed
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