The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

56k votes 4.9k voters 100k views 175 items tags f p @

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
Collection Photo:  FanShare
  • 31 ReRanks
    • Women
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    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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G Options B Comments & Embed 2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1,877
    - 496

    the people's #1
    Linebacker

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1,400
    - 459


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1,302
    - 423


    ;
  4. 4
    + 1,178
    - 440

    most listed
    Linebacker, Center

    ;
  5. 5
    + 1,068
    - 355


    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  6. 6
    + 1,293
    - 528


    Linebacker

    ;
  7. 7
    + 1,000
    - 422


    Linebacker

    ;
  8. 8
    + 848
    - 311


    ;
  9. 9
    + 821
    - 241


    ;
  10. 10
    + 752
    - 331


    ;
  11. 11
    + 737
    - 351


    ;
  12. 12
    + 1,005
    - 363


    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    ;
  13. 13
    + 713
    - 320


    Linebacker

    ;
  14. 14
    + 776
    - 250


    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    ;
  15. 15
    + 551
    - 210


    Cornerback

    ;
  16. 16
    + 608
    - 258


    Linebacker

    ;
  17. 17
    + 611
    - 241


    Free Safety

    ;
  18. 18
    + 515
    - 301


    Cornerback, Defensive back

    ;
  19. 19
    + 491
    - 241


    Linebacker

    ;
  20. 20
    + 449
    - 207


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ;
  21. 21
    + 468
    - 260


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

    ;
  22. 22
    + 408
    - 313

    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ;
  23. 23
    + 432
    - 272


    Defensive tackle

    ;
  24. 24
    + 450
    - 226


    Linebacker

    ;
  25. 25
    + 367
    - 233


    Cornerback

    ;
  26. 26
    + 501
    - 259


    Defensive end

    ;
  27. 27
    + 322
    - 216


    Linebacker, Center

    ;
  28. 28
    + 516
    - 271


    Linebacker

    ;
  29. 29
    + 283
    - 219

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  30. 30
    + 246
    - 228

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  31. 31
    + 366
    - 171


    Linebacker

    ;
  32. 32
    + 499
    - 131

    ranked low on reranks
    Strong Safety

    ;
  33. 33
    + 409
    - 250


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

    ;
  34. 34
    + 317
    - 158

    added by EthanWalker
    Cornerback

    ;
  35. 35
    + 671
    - 159

    ranked low on reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  36. 36
    + 338
    - 172


    Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  37. 37
    + 227
    - 194

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

    ;
  38. 38
    + 305
    - 113

    added by marcooch761

    ;
  39. 39
    + 328
    - 167

    added by EthanWalker
    Defensive end

    ;
  40. 40
    + 270
    - 182


    ;
  41. 41
    + 335
    - 132

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81
    Cornerback

    ;
  42. 42
    + 183
    - 169


    Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

    ;
  43. 43
    + 136
    - 45


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ;
  44. 44
    + 190
    - 186

    often listed
    Linebacker

    ;
  45. 45
    + 172
    - 202

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  46. 46
    + 176
    - 186

    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  47. 47
    + 222
    - 147

    added by Al Sobrante
    Cornerback, Safety

    ;
  48. 48
    + 217
    - 139

    ranked low on reranks & added by EthanWalker
    Defensive end

    ;
  49. 49
    + 170
    - 96


    Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

    ;
  50. 50
    + 162
    - 90

    added by MarkJStout
    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    ;
176 +

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