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
  • 17 ReRanks
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  1. 1
    Up 643
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    the people's #1 Linebacker

    open
  2. 2
    Up 500
    Down 131

    open
  3. 3
    Up 501
    Down 158

    Linebacker, Center

    open
  4. 4
    Up 521
    Down 155

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    open
  5. 5
    Up 409
    Down 120

    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

    open
  6. 6
    Up 413
    Down 141

    Linebacker

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  7. 7
    Up 478
    Down 180

    Linebacker

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  8. 8
    Up 328
    Down 142

    open
  9. 9
    Up 288
    Down 135

    most listed

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  10. 10
    Up 308
    Down 128

    open
  11. 11
    Up 316
    Down 72

    open
  12. 12
    Up 310
    Down 123

    Linebacker

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  13. 13
    Up 247
    Down 118

    Cornerback, Defensive back

    open
  14. 14
    Up 199
    Down 136

    open
  15. 15
    Up 266
    Down 90

    Linebacker

    open
  16. 16
    Up 214
    Down 116

    Defensive tackle

    open
  17. 17
    Up 339
    Down 156

    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    open
  18. 18
    Up 212
    Down 103

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

    open
  19. 19
    Up 267
    Down 87

    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    open
  20. 20
    Up 225
    Down 88

    Linebacker

    open
  21. 21
    Up 197
    Down 94

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    open
  22. 22
    Up 165
    Down 93

    Cornerback

    open
  23. 23
    Up 174
    Down 77

    Cornerback

    open
  24. 24
    Up 187
    Down 105

    Linebacker

    open
  25. 25
    Up 159
    Down 94

    Linebacker, Center

    open
  26. 26
    Up 139
    Down 89

    Defensive end

    open
  27. 27
    Up 200
    Down 100

    Free Safety

    open
  28. 28
    Up 225
    Down 118

    Linebacker

    open
  29. 29
    Up 119
    Down 97

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Defensive end

    open
  30. 30
    Up 199
    Down 108

    Defensive end

    open
  31. 31
    Up 179
    Down 114

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

    open
  32. 32
    Up 156
    Down 71

    Linebacker

    open
  33. 33
    Up 117
    Down 97

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    open
  34. 34
    Up 122
    Down 80

    Safety, Defensive back

    open
  35. 35
    Up 92
    Down 102

    Defensive end

    open
  36. 36
    Up 131
    Down 85

    open
  37. 37
    Up 99
    Down 97

    Linebacker

    open
  38. 38
    Up 83
    Down 87

    Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

    open
  39. 39
    Up 93
    Down 94

    Safety, Defensive back

    open
  40. 40
    Up 111
    Down 42

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81 Cornerback

    open
  41. 41
    Up 78
    Down 111

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Linebacker

    open
  42. 42
    Up 101
    Down 59

    ranked low on reranks & added by EthanWalker Defensive end

    open
  43. 43
    Up 105
    Down 72

    added by Al Sobrante Cornerback, Safety

    open
  44. 44
    Up 84
    Down 94

    Cornerback, Return specialist

    open
  45. 45
    Up 87
    Down 64

    Linebacker

    open
  46. 46
    Up 111
    Down 40

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcooch761

    open
  47. 47
    Up 80
    Down 92

    Cornerback

    open
  48. 48
    Up 63
    Down 99

    Return specialist, Safety, Defensive back

    open
  49. 49
    Up 72
    Down 96

    Defensive end

    open
  50. 50
    Up 79
    Down 59

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    open
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