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Execs, coaches, scouts rank NFL's top 10 off-ball linebackers for 2024

Fred Warner's continued dominance helped lead the 49ers to a Super Bowl appearance a year ago. Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images

With 2024 NFL training camps on the horizon, it is again time for the league's true insiders to make their voices heard. ESPN surveyed league executives, coaches and scouts to help us rank the top 10 players at 11 different positions, from quarterback to cornerback and all positions in between. This is the fifth edition of these rankings, and as usual, several players have moved up or fallen off last year's lists.

A reminder of the rankings process: Voters gave us their best 10 players at a position, then we compiled the results and ranked candidates based on number of top-10 votes, composite average and dozens of interviews, with research and film-study help from ESPN NFL analyst Matt Bowen. In total, nearly 80 voters submitted a ballot on at least one position, and in many cases all positions. Additional voting and follow-up calls with those surveyed helped us break any ties.

Each section includes quotes and nuggets from the voters on every ranked player -- even the honorable mentions. The objective is to identify the best players right now for 2024. This is not a five-year projection or a career achievement award. Who are the best players today?

We will roll out a position per day over 11 days. The schedule: running backs (7/8), defensive tackles (7/9), edge rushers (7/10), safeties (7/11), tight ends (7/12), interior offensive linemen (7/13), offensive tackles (7/14), quarterbacks (7/15), off-ball linebackers (7/16), wide receivers (7/17), cornerbacks (7/18).


This year's linebacker group has a clear Tier 1 -- and a sizable dropoff after that.

Middle linebackers spanning two coasts -- from the Bay Area to the Inner Harbor -- dominated the first- and second-place voting. The results after that were not so clear-cut. Ten other players received at least one third-place vote, and in all, 21 linebackers made a top-10 ballot.

And three new entrants cracked the top 10, two of whom are 24 years old.

Here are the results for top off-ball linebacker based on voting from NFL executives, coaches and scouts.