Inside Linebacker, 2008-13
In the grand scheme of things, Jonathan Vilma was always one of those great, but not elite linebackers. After getting his feet wet with the New York Jets, he moved on to the Saints and asserted himself as one of the better linebackers in the league.
The problem was that he only ever had great seasons, not elite ones. His best season came with the Jets, although his production and effectiveness were more consistent during his days in New Orleans. Either way, his career was worth celebrating, but not quite worth writing books about or creating documentaries on.
During two of his seasons with the Saints, Vilma was named to the Pro Bowl. Although he failed to ever earn All-Pro honors, he was a staple in the New Orleans defense during the 2000s and helped pave the way towards the Saints’ 2009 Super Bowl victory.
Okay, let me backtrack. Based on the rest of this, I’m painting Vilma in a slightly negative light. There’s no denying that he was a valuable asset for the Saints, acting as a tackle machine and intimidating presence at inside linebacker. That’s why he’s the first name on this list.