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

  • 21 ReRanks
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 839
    - 239

    the people's #1 Linebacker

    ) open
  2. 2
    + 678
    - 190

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ) open
  3. 3
    + 633
    - 165
    ) open
  4. 4
    + 523
    - 150

    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  5. 5
    + 613
    - 200

    Linebacker, Center

    ) open
  6. 6
    + 514
    - 184

    Linebacker

    ) open
  7. 7
    + 619
    - 227

    Linebacker

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 373
    - 163

    most listed

    ) open
  9. 9
    + 405
    - 98
    ) open
  10. 10
    + 398
    - 180
    ) open
  11. 11
    + 377
    - 157
    ) open
  12. 12
    + 379
    - 156

    Linebacker

    ) open
  13. 13
    + 446
    - 182

    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 290
    - 157

    Cornerback, Defensive back

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 323
    - 112

    Linebacker

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 237
    - 173

    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 256
    - 140

    Defensive tackle

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 263
    - 124

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 238
    - 93

    Cornerback

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 334
    - 109

    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 271
    - 112

    Linebacker

    ) open
  22. 22
    + 206
    - 114

    Cornerback

    ) open
  23. 23
    + 239
    - 117

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ) open
  24. 24
    + 194
    - 118

    Linebacker, Center

    ) open
  25. 25
    + 234
    - 126

    Linebacker

    ) open
  26. 26
    + 265
    - 119

    Free Safety

    ) open
  27. 27
    + 285
    - 140

    Linebacker

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 162
    - 114

    Defensive end

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 262
    - 129

    Defensive end

    ) open
  30. 30
    + 139
    - 126

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Defensive end

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 195
    - 88

    Linebacker

    ) open
  32. 32
    + 232
    - 143

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

    ) open
  33. 33
    + 136
    - 118

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    ) open
  34. 34
    + 159
    - 104
    ) open
  35. 35
    + 110
    - 125

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Defensive end

    ) open
  36. 36
    + 158
    - 95

    Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 116
    - 118

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Linebacker

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 94
    - 111

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 224
    - 45

    ranked low on reranks Defensive end

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 109
    - 115

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 163
    - 63

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81 Cornerback

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 130
    - 90

    added by Al Sobrante Cornerback, Safety

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 145
    - 53

    added by marcooch761

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 99
    - 116

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Cornerback, Return specialist

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 148
    - 83

    added by EthanWalker Defensive end

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 122
    - 67

    added by EthanWalker Cornerback

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 95
    - 109

    Cornerback

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 100
    - 83

    Linebacker

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 86
    - 115

    Defensive end

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 140
    - 43

    ranked low on reranks Strong Safety

    ) open
124 +

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