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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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 Linebacker

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  2. 2
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

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  3. 3
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    - 172
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  4. 4
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    Linebacker, Center

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  5. 5
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    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

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  6. 6
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    Linebacker

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  7. 7
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    Linebacker

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  8. 8
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    most listed

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  9. 9
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    - 103
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  10. 10
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  11. 11
    + 414
    - 187
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  12. 12
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    Linebacker

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  13. 13
    + 465
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    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 295
    - 162

    Cornerback, Defensive back

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 331
    - 118

    Linebacker

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  16. 16
    + 243
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 262
    - 149

    Defensive tackle

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  18. 18
    + 273
    - 131

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 252
    - 98

    Cornerback

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  20. 20
    + 348
    - 113

    ranked low on reranks Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    ) open
  21. 21
    + 277
    - 119

    Linebacker

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  22. 22
    + 212
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    Cornerback

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  23. 23
    + 246
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

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  24. 24
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    Linebacker, Center

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  25. 25
    + 241
    - 129

    Linebacker

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  26. 26
    + 278
    - 122

    Free Safety

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  27. 27
    + 291
    - 146

    Linebacker

    ) open
  28. 28
    + 167
    - 118

    often listed Defensive end

    ) open
  29. 29
    + 266
    - 134

    Defensive end

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  30. 30
    + 141
    - 131

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Defensive end

    ) open
  31. 31
    + 203
    - 91

    Linebacker

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  32. 32
    + 240
    - 147

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

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  33. 33
    + 138
    - 123

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

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  34. 34
    + 166
    - 98

    Safety, Defensive back

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  35. 35
    + 160
    - 110
    ) open
  36. 36
    + 110
    - 132

    Defensive end

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  37. 37
    + 118
    - 122

    Linebacker

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  38. 38
    + 97
    - 115

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

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 234
    - 50

    ranked low on reranks Defensive end

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 112
    - 119

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 168
    - 68

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81 Cornerback

    ) open
  42. 42
    + 133
    - 93

    added by Al Sobrante Cornerback, Safety

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 149
    - 57

    added by marcooch761

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 130
    - 72

    added by EthanWalker Cornerback

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 154
    - 87

    added by EthanWalker Defensive end

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 101
    - 120

    Cornerback, Return specialist

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 103
    - 85

    Linebacker

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 96
    - 114

    Cornerback

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 151
    - 47

    ranked low on reranks Strong Safety

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 87
    - 119

    Defensive end

    ) open
124 +

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