One of the most important positions in football is that of the linebacker. They are part of the defensive team unit and are often given many jobs to do.

Many people believe that it’s the defense that wins championships, so having a high-level player at this position can help lead your team to victory.

Here are a few things that go into making this player great.

Size

This position is hard to play if the player is undersized. Linebackers are needed to stop runs and will be facing large linemen.

They need their size to see above the line to get to the carrier. If he gets blocked and out of position, the running back will get loose for a large yardage gain.

Strength

Linebackers need to be strong throughout their whole body. Their lower body will engage in blocks and should not be able to give any ground. To tackle, their upper body needs to be able to bring down a player.

Many players take supplements, such as pump products, to help them gain extra strength and energy in the gym. With the beating a linebacker takes in the trenches, they need to be able to handle it and still be successful.

Speed

The way the position is played means that linebackers are expected to cover from sideline to sideline. Offensive players are faster than ever before.

The linesman has to be able to catch up with them. No matter where behind the line he is, speed is the key to getting to wherever the ball is.

Versatility

At one time, the linebacker position was only a run and stop position. Now it has changed into a hybrid of safety as well.

If they can not cover on a pass play, it limits their ability to play all three downs. Many times, offenses look to create mismatches, so they look to find a weaker player's skill set.

Experience

If a linebacker has experience, it can help offset their lack of physical traits. A lot of times, speed and strength can bail out a player if they make a wrong move.

A great linebacker can diagnose a play quickly and know where to be in the right place. This happens over time, through the play of hundreds of games. Once the player sees what’s going to happen, he can be a step ahead and stop the play.

Skill

Natural ability is something that can’t be taught. Some people are born with instincts of seeing and reacting to things. The way a player can track a ball and deflect it is hard to teach for this position.

A man with softer hands who can make an interception is not easily found. When players have some of these attributes as a linebacker, it gives them the potential to be great.

Knowledge

Knowledge of the game is a subtle advantage a player can have. If a linebacker understands blocking schemes and what the offense wants to do, he has a better chance of stopping the play.

Through scouting and many years of playing, this player will start to see how to diagnose a play properly. Offenses are always changing, so it can be quite a challenge to figure them out.

Tackle

It seems simple enough as the point of the defense is to stop the offense by tackling them. However, this can be one of the hardest things to do. Many players are elusive and make quick movements.

An arm tackle would not be able to tackle some of the strongest players on the field. Having a good foundation and technique will make sure tackles. This ability develops through practice and training.

Ethic

The more a player is willing to work, the better they will become. Practicing the same thing will make playing that position smooth and natural.

Thinking while playing causes you to slow down. You want to read and react with instinct. You will see improvement in the player who is willing to work, as all they want to do is get better.

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It can be hard to find all of these skills in a single linebacker. If even just a few of these are mastered though, you’ll find yourself with one of the greats.

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