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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

The Greatest Defenders in NFL History Football Players (American)
  • 24 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1355
    - 373

    the people's #1
    Linebacker

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1050
    - 330


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ;
  3. 3
    + 990
    - 286


    ;
  4. 4
    + 910
    - 305

    most listed
    Linebacker, Center

    ;
  5. 5
    + 809
    - 247


    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  6. 6
    + 788
    - 285


    Linebacker

    ;
  7. 7
    + 947
    - 389


    Linebacker

    ;
  8. 8
    + 622
    - 230


    ;
  9. 9
    + 570
    - 248


    ;
  10. 10
    + 595
    - 186


    ;
  11. 11
    + 568
    - 229


    Linebacker

    ;
  12. 12
    + 727
    - 274


    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    ;
  13. 13
    + 565
    - 263


    ;
  14. 14
    + 387
    - 147


    Cornerback

    ;
  15. 15
    + 412
    - 227


    Cornerback, Defensive back

    ;
  16. 16
    + 552
    - 174


    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    ;
  17. 17
    + 463
    - 176


    Linebacker

    ;
  18. 18
    + 322
    - 241

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks

    ;
  19. 19
    + 347
    - 204


    Defensive tackle

    ;
  20. 20
    + 370
    - 186


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

    ;
  21. 21
    + 362
    - 165


    Linebacker

    ;
  22. 22
    + 340
    - 160


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ;
  23. 23
    + 356
    - 174


    Linebacker

    ;
  24. 24
    + 423
    - 183


    Free Safety

    ;
  25. 25
    + 287
    - 173


    Cornerback

    ;
  26. 26
    + 265
    - 163


    Linebacker, Center

    ;
  27. 27
    + 400
    - 202


    Linebacker

    ;
  28. 28
    + 383
    - 187


    Defensive end

    ;
  29. 29
    + 224
    - 163

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  30. 30
    + 327
    - 80

    ranked low on reranks
    Strong Safety

    ;
  31. 31
    + 281
    - 120


    Linebacker

    ;
  32. 32
    + 184
    - 177

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  33. 33
    + 327
    - 195


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

    ;
  34. 34
    + 247
    - 134


    Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  35. 35
    + 178
    - 159

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    ;
  36. 36
    + 439
    - 107

    ranked low on reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  37. 37
    + 220
    - 149


    ;
  38. 38
    + 142
    - 170

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  39. 39
    + 228
    - 102

    ranked low on reranks & added by EthanWalker
    Cornerback

    ;
  40. 40
    + 153
    - 154

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Linebacker

    ;
  41. 41
    + 135
    - 143

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

    ;
  42. 42
    + 250
    - 106

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81
    Cornerback

    ;
  43. 43
    + 243
    - 119

    added by EthanWalker
    Defensive end

    ;
  44. 44
    + 226
    - 81

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcooch761

    ;
  45. 45
    + 173
    - 119

    added by Al Sobrante
    Cornerback, Safety

    ;
  46. 46
    + 136
    - 151


    Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  47. 47
    + 139
    - 107


    Linebacker

    ;
  48. 48
    + 186
    - 74

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcooch761
    Outside Linebacker

    ;
  49. 49
    + 126
    - 136


    Cornerback

    ;
  50. 50
    + 127
    - 147


    Cornerback, Return specialist

    ;
172 +

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