Linebacker has always been a relative stronghold for us on the defensive side, and we're still hanging on for the most part, but abrupt retirements by a number of caste busters have really taken some of the air out of the sails. After Brian Urlacher's retirement in 2013, up and comer Colin McCarthy decided to hang them up at 26. As rookies, AJ Tarpley and Chris Borland immediately established themselves as playmakers, only to retire the following year citing concussion concerns. Then in successive seasons we saw the retirements of stars James Laurinaitis, AJ Hawk, Chad Greenway, Paul Posluszny, and Brian Cushing. Before the start of the season, tackling machine Paul Worrilow decided to call it quits after only 5 seasons. And as usual, most of these guys have been replaced with room brightening smiles and magical upside. Anyway, here's how we're looking in 2019: NFC Linebackers Clay Matthews Bryce Hager Brooks Reed Cassius Marsh Joe Walker Dennis Gardeck Ryan Connelly David Mayo Jake Carlock Cole Holcomb Ryan Kerrigan Tanner Valejo Sean Lee Leighton Vander Esch Nathan Gerry Alex Singleton AJ Klein Alex Anzalone Kiko Alonso Kaden Elliss Colton Jumper Ben Gedeon Cameron Smith Carl Nassib Anthony Nelson Jack Cichy Blake Martinez Ty Summers Brady Sheldon Kyler Fackrell Nick Kwiatkoski Luke Kuechly Jordan Kunaszyk Cody Barton Ben Burr-Kirven AFC Linebackers Joe Schobert TJ Watt Anthony Chickillo Tyler Matakevich Nick Vigil Drue Tranquill Nick Dzubnar Kamalei Correa Vince Biegel Mike Hull Andrew Van Ginkel Chase Allen Matt Milano John Simon Calvin Munson Blake Cashman Josey Jewell Ben Niemann Jake Ryan Dylan Cole 23 total starters. Personal favorites of mine: the dream of an NFL career may have slipped away for Marcus Rush, Scooby Wright, Riley Bullough, Davis Tull, Ben Boulware, and Porter Gustin; None of whom are currently on a roster. Though with the Saints for most of the preseason, 3 year starter Will Compton is still a free agent.