LA Rams: 15 greatest linebackers of All Time

LA Rams August 22, 2020 in Inglewood, California.
LA Rams August 22, 2020 in Inglewood, California. /
16 of 16
LA Rams All-Time Lists Kevin Greene
Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports /

. OLB. (1986-92). Kevin Greene. 1. player. 51

It is almost impossible to distinguish the impact of OLB Kevin Greene from that of Jim Youngblood. The difference here? Kevin Green defined and set the bar for the entire NFL at the outside linebacker position. He truly re-engineered the 3-4 defense, establishing the outside linebacker position as a specialty to counter advances in the NFL offense away from two running back formations to three-receiver sets.

Green’s ability to collapse the pocket rapidly forced offensive coordinators to re-strategize, either by committing an additional tight end to block on Green’s side, or committing a running back to pick him up as he cleared the offensive tackle.

Greene enjoyed an NFL career that continued on long after he left the LA Rams. But of the eight seasons with the Rams franchise, he helped the team earn a playoff berth in four of his first five seasons with the team.  In just eight seasons, he delivered play in 119 games with 77 starts. He racked up 375 tackles, 72.5 quarterback sacks, two interceptions with one pick-six, 13 forced fumbles, 11 fumble recoveries, three safeties, and a whole lot of terror on opposing quarterbacks.

It wasn’t as though Greene created the outside linebacker role. But before Kevin Greene, defensive coordinators leaned towards 4-3 defenses to put up an even front and generate constant pressure on the quarterback. Greene showcased the ability of defensive coordinators to weaponize 3-4 defenses, allowing them to create new coverages and pressures that were simply impossible from an even front.

Kevin Greene tops this list because he has set the bar for the entire Rams franchise in terms of excellence from the linebacker position. He was inducted into the NFL Hall of Fame as a member of the class of 2016. Unfortunately, Greene passed away on December 21, 2020.

Trending. LA Rams Draft: Deep dive analysis into 11 top rookie roster additions. light