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 is the best defender in NFL history. 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

  • 22 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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    most listed
    Linebacker, Center

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    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

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    Linebacker

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    Linebacker

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  12. 12
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    Linebacker

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  13. 13
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    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

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  14. 14
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    Cornerback

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  15. 15
    + 330
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    Cornerback, Defensive back

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  16. 16
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    Linebacker

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  17. 17
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks

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  18. 18
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    ranked low on reranks
    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    ) open
  19. 19
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    Defensive tackle

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  20. 20
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

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  21. 21
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    Linebacker

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  22. 22
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

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  23. 23
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    Linebacker, Center

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  24. 24
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    Cornerback

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  25. 25
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    Free Safety

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  26. 26
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    Linebacker

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  27. 27
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    - 147

    Defensive end

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  28. 28
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    Linebacker

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  29. 29
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    Defensive end

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  30. 30
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    Defensive end

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  31. 31
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    Linebacker

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  32. 32
    + 274
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

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  33. 33
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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
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  36. 36
    + 124
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Defensive end

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 303
    - 64

    ranked low on reranks
    Defensive end

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 131
    - 134

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Linebacker

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  39. 39
    + 198
    - 60

    ranked low on reranks
    Strong Safety

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 114
    - 123

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

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  41. 41
    + 166
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    added by EthanWalker
    Cornerback

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  42. 42
    + 196
    - 85

    added by KobeMr81
    Cornerback

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  43. 43
    + 188
    - 97

    added by EthanWalker
    Defensive end

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 119
    - 130

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 174
    - 67

    added by marcooch761

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 149
    - 102

    added by Al Sobrante
    Cornerback, Safety

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 119
    - 91

    Linebacker

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 112
    - 129

    Cornerback, Return specialist

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 107
    - 120

    Cornerback

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 101
    - 125

    Defensive end

    ) open
142 +

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