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
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    the people's #1 Linebacker

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  2. 2
    Up 490
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  3. 3
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

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  4. 4
    Up 489
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    Linebacker, Center

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  5. 5
    Up 399
    Down 118

    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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    Down 140

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  9. 9
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    most listed

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  10. 10
    Up 302
    Down 126

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  11. 11
    Up 306
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    open
  12. 12
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    Linebacker

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  13. 13
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks

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  14. 14
    Up 239
    Down 117

    Cornerback, Defensive back

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  15. 15
    Up 261
    Down 88

    Linebacker

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  16. 16
    Up 209
    Down 114

    Defensive tackle

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  17. 17
    Up 327
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    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    open
  18. 18
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    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    open
  19. 19
    Up 203
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

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  20. 20
    Up 221
    Down 85

    Linebacker

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  21. 21
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

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  22. 22
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    Cornerback

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  23. 23
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    Cornerback

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  24. 24
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    Linebacker

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  25. 25
    Up 156
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    Linebacker, Center

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  26. 26
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    Defensive end

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  27. 27
    Up 195
    Down 99

    Free Safety

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  28. 28
    Up 221
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    Linebacker

    open
  29. 29
    Up 117
    Down 96

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Defensive end

    open
  30. 30
    Up 196
    Down 107

    Defensive end

    open
  31. 31
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

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  32. 32
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    Linebacker

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  33. 33
    Up 115
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    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

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  34. 34
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    Safety, Defensive back

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  35. 35
    Up 88
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    Defensive end

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  36. 36
    Up 128
    Down 85

    open
  37. 37
    Up 97
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    Linebacker

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  38. 38
    Up 78
    Down 87

    Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

    open
  39. 39
    Up 90
    Down 94

    Safety, Defensive back

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  40. 40
    Up 106
    Down 41

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81 Cornerback

    open
  41. 41
    Up 76
    Down 110

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Linebacker

    open
  42. 42
    Up 97
    Down 56

    ranked low on reranks & added by EthanWalker Defensive end

    open
  43. 43
    Up 81
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    Cornerback, Return specialist

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  44. 44
    Up 99
    Down 72

    added by Al Sobrante Cornerback, Safety

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  45. 45
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    Linebacker

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  46. 46
    Up 61
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    Return specialist, Safety, Defensive back

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  47. 47
    Up 105
    Down 38

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcooch761

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  48. 48
    Up 75
    Down 92

    Cornerback

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  49. 49
    Up 68
    Down 96

    Defensive end

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  50. 50
    Up 75
    Down 74

    added by EthanWalker Linebacker, Middle Linebacker

    open
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