Commentary

Immovable objects? Yeah, these LBs fit the bill

The defensive version of our All-Big Team carries a lot of weight, especially at linebacker.

Originally Published: November 26, 2008
By Jeremy Lundblad and Ryan McCrystal | ESPN.com

You want BIG? Take a look at the linebackers on our All-Big Team defense. They might not be especially nimble against the pass, but try running on fourth-and-1 against Bruce, Kirkland and McGinest. Sure, there's no "Too Tall" or "Mean Joe" in this bunch, but this team still carries a lot of weight. Wanna argue? Take it up with Ted Washington.

*Active players

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The All-Big Team (Defense)

Player
Wilbur Young, DE, 6-foot-6, 305 pounds
A veteran of 12 seasons primarily with the Kansas City Chiefs and San Diego Chargers, Young was the NFL's largest defensive player of the 1970s. Young is the only NFL player to be drafted from William Penn University. (He was drafted in the second round of the 1971 draft.) Current football analyst and former offensive lineman Mark May recalled in his book that Young had a tendency to steal his lunch.
*Haloti Ngata, DE, 6-4, 345
Although Ngata is more of a tackle, his athleticism lets him move over to end for the Baltimore Ravens. He even has been spotted at linebacker and as a blocking tight end, proving that he's more than just an enormous body. He started all 16 games as a rookie and was voted to the all-rookie team in 2006.
Ted Washington, DT, 6-5, 375
Washington was practically a one-man run defense for seven teams during his 17 seasons in the NFL. He made four Pro Bowl appearances. He's the son of former Houston Oilers linebacker Ted Washington.
Ernie Ladd, DT, 6-9, 290
The "Big Cat" played in the Super Bowl with the Chiefs but later found a more lucrative career as a Hall of Fame professional wrestler. Former New England Patriots center Jon Morris once said of lining up against Ladd: "It was dark. I couldn't see the linebackers. Couldn't see the goalposts. It was like being locked in a closet."
Aundray Bruce, LB, 6-5, 265
As the first pick in the 1988 NFL draft, Bruce was hyped as the next Lawrence Taylor in part because of his tremendous size. But after coming up with only 12 sacks in his first two seasons, he lost his starting job. He's remembered as one of the greatest busts of all time.
Levon Kirkland, LB, 6-1, 275
Kirkland is believed to have pushed 300 pounds during his tenure with the Pittsburgh Steelers. His actual weight remained something of a mystery, but he could be the largest linebacker ever. He was a two-time Pro Bowler and a first-team All-Pro in 1997.
*Willie McGinest, LB, 6-5, 270
A former star defensive end at USC, McGinest has played mostly outside linebacker in his career. The position change did not come easily, but he developed into one of the league's top pass-rushers and posted 85 career sacks. He won three Super Bowl rings as a member of the Patriots.
Joey Browner, CB, 6-2, 202
Although Browner was fast, the Minnesota Vikings initially wondered whether he was too big to be a defensive back. He primarily played as a safety, but he began his career at cornerback because he had depth issues. The three-time All-Pro had 37 career interceptions.
Mel Blount, CB, 6-3, 205
Blount was so physically powerful with opposing receivers that the NFL instituted the "Mel Blount Rule," which outlawed bump-and-run coverage beyond 5 yards from the line of scrimmage. Blount, who had 57 career interceptions, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989.
David Fulcher, S, 6-3, 236
Fulcher's nickname was Fo-Rock. His size and hitting power caused his teammates to say he hit opponents "like a rock." He was an All-Pro in 1989, when he made 8 interceptions.
*Adrian Wilson, S, 6-3, 230
Wilson's rare combination of size and speed allows him to play a hybrid of safety and linebacker. His 8 sacks in 2005 were a record for a defensive back, and he had a 99-yard interception return in 2006.

Others

Player/Coach
Lou Groza, PK, 6-3, 240
Renowned for his kicking -- the award for college football's top kicker is named in his honor -- Groza also was a star offensive lineman for much of his Hall of Fame career. He was a nine-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro.
*Ryan Plackemeier, P, 6-3, 247
Just how big is the Redskins punter? He weighs more than any active linebacker on the roster. He's 28th in punting average at 40.4 yards.
Art Shell, head coach, 6-5, 265
Talk about an imposing figure on the sideline. Shell -- a Hall of Fame offensive lineman -- made some of his biggest players look tiny during his two stints with the Oakland Raiders. He had a 56-52 record, including 12-4 in 1990, when the Raiders won the AFC West.

Jeremy Lundblad

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