- Matt Williamson, ESPN.com
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Hard hitters. Solid technicians. Immovable space-eaters. They're all represented below. Here are the top 10 tacklers in the NFL:
Top 10 Tacklers
1. London Fletcher, MLB, Washington Redskins
Fletcher is a model of consistency year after year and very well could be having the best season of his career. A precise form tackler, Fletcher consistently gets his man on the ground and is exceptional at hitting on the rise, wrapping and driving his feet on contact.
2. Patrick Willis, ILB, San Francisco 49ers
As a rookie in 2007, Willis led the NFL in tackles and was second overall a year ago. Willis is the best second-level defender in the league and might not have hit his ceiling. His range is outstanding, as is his ability versus the run and pass. He does it all.
3. Ray Lewis, MLB, Baltimore Ravens
Lewis had to be on this list. He never takes false steps and has a tremendous understanding of what his opponent is trying to accomplish. Lewis keeps himself in tremendous shape and uses exquisite form on impact. Few have ever done it as well.
4. Curtis Lofton, MLB, Atlanta Falcons
Lofton isn't as rangy as some of the superior athletes on this list, but he packs a wallop and does his best work between the tackles. A true thumper, Lofton is also a very secure form tackler who hits on the rise and wraps with power.
5. D'Qwell Jackson, ILB, Cleveland Browns
Not as powerful as some of the other linebackers on this list, Jackson reads plays very well and has the wheels to make plays all over the field. The 2008 tackle leader doesn't make a ton of plays behind the line of scrimmage, but when healthy, he does what is needed week after week to get ball carriers on the ground consistently. Jackson was placed on injured reserve on Oct. 21.
6. Jon Beason, MLB, Carolina Panthers
This hasn't been Beason's best season to date, but his track record over his young career is quite impressive, with 277 stops in his first two seasons. This is a guy who knows how to get to the ball carrier. Few get away once Beason has a bead on them.
7. Barrett Ruud, MLB, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Like Beason, Ruud hasn't had his best season. Both linebackers' struggles can be attributed to the defensive tackle play in front of them, but like Beason, Ruud is a playmaker and shows excellent fundamentals as a pure tackler.
8. Shaun Rogers, NT, Cleveland Browns
Massive interior linemen needed to be represented. Several who are similar to Rogers (recently placed on injured reserve with a leg injury) could have fit the bill, but when this man hits his target, that target goes down abruptly and violently. His hands are incredibly strong and his overall power is amazing.
9. James Harrison, OLB, Pittsburgh Steelers
Harrison is also incredibly powerful and a violent tackler, which is what separates him from other edge players. Harrison runs through the ball carrier and usually does damage. Plus, he is exceptional at jarring the ball loose on impact.
10. Antoine Winfield, CB, Minnesota Vikings
Winfield, who has been hobbled by a foot injury, is the only non-front-seven player on this list. Although there certainly are plenty of very good tackling defensive backs, it's tough to pull big-time playmaking linebackers off the list. But this guy is ferocious in the run game and is a secure tackler against elusive wideouts as well.
Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.com.