The Greatest Defenders in NFL History Football Players (American)
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The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

List Criteria: Defensive players based on their on-field achievements

This list of the greatest defenders in NFL history is here to decide definitively who the best defender in NFL history is. These are beasts of men who played for some of the best sports franchises ever and were (or are) among the best NFL players of all time. These NFL legends are all here, in one place, so you can vote on the best NFL defender to ever play football.

Some of these exceptional NFL players include the legendary Dick Butkus, "Mean" Joe Greene, and hard hitter-turned-coach Mike Singletary. Whatever it is that you factor into the skills of the best NFL defenders (speed, aggression, determination, stamina), these NFL players are the best at what they do from a defensive player standpoint.

What makes a great NFL defender? Who are the best NFL defenders of all time? Who is the top NFL defender in history? You decide! Vote for the NFL players you think make the biggest impact as defensive players and vote them up to the top of this list of the greatest defenders in NFL history. If you don't see your favorite NFL defender on this top NFL defenders list, make sure to add him so others can revel in his athletic glory. So who are the best defensive players in NFL history? Vote!

Check out more lists like the best NFL players in history, the top quarterbacks, and the greatest linebackers of all time
  • 18 ReRanks
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2rerank list
  1. 1
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    the people's #1 Linebacker

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 580
    - 171

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 545
    - 148
    ) open
  4. 4
    + 541
    - 176

    Linebacker, Center

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 449
    - 135

    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 453
    - 157

    Linebacker

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  7. 7
    + 538
    - 201

    Linebacker

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 350
    - 159
    ) open
  9. 9
    + 344
    - 83
    ) open
  10. 10
    + 315
    - 150

    most listed

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  11. 11
    + 332
    - 143
    ) open
  12. 12
    + 335
    - 137

    Linebacker

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 262
    - 136

    Cornerback, Defensive back

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 382
    - 166

    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 211
    - 153

    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 284
    - 102

    Linebacker

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 225
    - 125

    Defensive tackle

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 293
    - 94

    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 230
    - 111

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 239
    - 95

    Linebacker

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 216
    - 103

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 196
    - 86

    Cornerback

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 180
    - 100

    Cornerback

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 202
    - 114

    Linebacker

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  25. 25
    + 171
    - 104

    Linebacker, Center

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 228
    - 107

    Free Safety

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 148
    - 98

    Defensive end

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 248
    - 128

    Linebacker

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 127
    - 108

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Defensive end

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 228
    - 116

    Defensive end

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 202
    - 127

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 173
    - 77

    Linebacker

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  33. 33
    + 138
    - 85

    Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 127
    - 104

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    ) open
  35. 35
    + 143
    - 91
    ) open
  36. 36
    + 101
    - 113

    Defensive end

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 105
    - 105

    Linebacker

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 136
    - 50

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81 Cornerback

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 88
    - 98

    Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 98
    - 103

    Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 125
    - 67

    ranked low on reranks & added by EthanWalker Defensive end

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 117
    - 79

    added by Al Sobrante Cornerback, Safety

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 82
    - 121

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Linebacker

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 90
    - 102

    Cornerback, Return specialist

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 126
    - 46

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcooch761

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 88
    - 99

    Cornerback

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 90
    - 74

    Linebacker

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 65
    - 108

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Return specialist, Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 77
    - 104

    Defensive end

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 85
    - 86

    added by EthanWalker Linebacker, Middle Linebacker

    ) open
120 +

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