Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller built his idea of a perfect linebacker. From head-to-toe Miller used his insight on what makes the perfect linebacker as certain players possess certain qualities. A linebacker that is broken up into four parts: head, torso, arms, and legs, it was the San Francisco 49ers that represented three of the four parts. Below is Miller’s assessment on each body part and what makes that player so special. So without further ado here is Miller’s assessment.
ILB Patrick Willis (head)
“Willis is a fantastic athlete, and he’s the quickest read-and-react linebacker in the game, too. What he sees on film, practices during the week and prepares for in meetings translates to the field with a very high football IQ. And it’s been that way since he was hurting people back at Ole Miss.
Willis is arguably the best linebacker in the NFL right now, so it’s an easy pick to make his eyes, ears and brain the top of the ideal linebacker.”
MLB Vontaze Burfict (torso)
“The ideal linebacker carries a thick frame with big shoulders and the width to take on blockers, stuff running backs and still be agile enough to drop into coverage. That’s Vontaze Burfict.
The former Arizona State linebacker is built like a house and brings violent power to his hits every time he’s around the ball. That’s the type of punch you want in the middle of your defense.”
OLB Aldon Smith (wingspan)
“Why is arm length important for an NFL linebacker? Keeping blockers off your frame is a must for inside and outside linebackers, and Aldon Smith fits the ideal mold in today’s game.
Smith’s freakishly long arms allow him to control blockers because they can’t get into his frame. By locking out offensive players with that 35-plus-inch reach, Smith is able to stack and shed the blocker and work through him to the ball and/or the quarterback.”
ILB NaVorro Bowman (legs)
“Bowman’s agility, smooth hips, quick feet and raw speed have made him into one of the NFL’s elite linebackers. He has allowed the 49ers to run nickel coverage the majority of the time without subbing him out; Bowman’s so good in coverage, they can keep him on the field like a defensive back.”