The List: Top 5 blitzers

In this week's version of The List, Eric Allen breaks down the top blitzers in the league.

Originally Published: April 9, 2007
By Eric Allen | ESPN.com

Great blitzers come in all shapes and sizes. The best of the best have great instincts, a nonstop motor and play in favorable schemes. Here are my top five blitzers in the league.

Shawne Merriman, OLB, San Diego: When he decides to blitz, the opposing offense must keep a running back in the backfield because there is no stopping him otherwise.

Jason Taylor, DE, Miami: Part of the reason he's on this list is because the Dolphins use him in so many different ways. When he's standing up, it's just as likely that he'll drop back in coverage as it is that he'll split the linemen and explode toward the quarterback.

Ray Lewis, MLB, Baltimore: When the Ravens are operating at 100 percent, there is no one better. The defensive tackles get the offensive line going downhill and then Lewis comes in to finish the job.

Troy Polamalu, SS, Pittsburgh: He didn't have a great season last year, but that's because of injuries. The Steelers are fantastic at sending him from many angles and getting pressure on the quarterback. When push comes to shove, he'll just launch himself over a lineman to get to the quarterback.

Sean Taylor, FS, Washington: I'd love to see him used more in this regard because he's a heat-seeking missile. He has a load of aggression, and once he gets going, the hit he delivers will be ferocious.

Eric Allen

NFL studio analyst
Eric Allen, a 14-year NFL veteran and was one of the NFL's premier defensive backs, joined ESPN in August 2002 as an NFL studio analyst. His primary role is providing analysis for ESPNEWS' Monday Quarterback.

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