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 ever.

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 25 best NFL players in history, the top quarterbacks, and the greatest linebackers of all time
  • 17 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 430
    Down 141

    the people's #1 1959

    open
  2. 2
    Up 353
    Down 107

    1942

    open
  3. 3
    Up 347
    Down 97

    1961

    open
  4. 4
    Up 344
    Down 90

    1946

    open
  5. 5
    Up 301
    Down 86

    1952

    open
  6. 6
    Up 266
    Down 81

    1959

    open
  7. 7
    Up 230
    Down 96

    1958

    open
  8. 8
    Up 301
    Down 127

    1975

    open
  9. 9
    Up 199
    Down 94

    most listed 1963

    open
  10. 10
    Up 211
    Down 89

    1965

    open
  11. 11
    Up 212
    Down 44

    1938

    open
  12. 12
    Up 220
    Down 81

    1948

    open
  13. 13
    Up 148
    Down 80

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1940

    open
  14. 14
    Up 174
    Down 77

    1948

    open
  15. 15
    Up 155
    Down 70

    1939

    open
  16. 16
    Up 182
    Down 56

    1967

    open
  17. 17
    Up 162
    Down 51

    1936

    open
  18. 18
    Up 147
    Down 65

    1953

    open
  19. 19
    Up 147
    Down 60

    1945

    open
  20. 20
    Up 210
    Down 112

    1967

    open
  21. 21
    Up 169
    Down 57

    1976

    open
  22. 22
    Up 115
    Down 47

    1927

    open
  23. 23
    Up 117
    Down 68

    1960

    open
  24. 24
    Up 124
    Down 63

    1925

    open
  25. 25
    Up 131
    Down 71

    1969

    open
  26. 26
    Up 105
    Down 56

    1950

    open
  27. 27
    Up 86
    Down 65

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1937

    open
  28. 28
    Up 155
    Down 83

    1978

    open
  29. 29
    Up 130
    Down 74

    1978

    open
  30. 30
    Up 111
    Down 47

    1973

    open
  31. 31
    Up 91
    Down 63

    1942

    open
  32. 32
    Up 126
    Down 80

    1971

    open
  33. 33
    Up 70
    Down 68

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1926

    open
  34. 34
    Up 98
    Down 57

    1937

    open
  35. 35
    Up 83
    Down 54

    1966

    open
  36. 36
    Up 113
    Down 92

    1972

    open
  37. 37
    Up 75
    Down 65

    1947

    open
  38. 38
    Up 62
    Down 57

    1940

    open
  39. 39
    Up 63
    Down 69

    1942

    open
  40. 40
    Up 62
    Down 38

    1945

    open
  41. 41
    Up 58
    Down 78

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1958

    open
  42. 42
    Up 74
    Down 47

    ranked low on reranks & added by Al Sobrante 1955

    open
  43. 43
    Up 46
    Down 63

    1925

    open
  44. 44
    Up 52
    Down 20

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81 1978

    open
  45. 45
    Up 58
    Down 68

    1939

    open
  46. 46
    Up 51
    Down 64

    1930

    open
  47. 47
    Up 57
    Down 68

    1940

    open
  48. 48
    Up 48
    Down 64

    1940

    open
  49. 49
    Up 59
    Down 21

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcooch761 1960

    open
  50. 50
    Up 48
    Down 65

    1932

    open
  51. 104 +

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