The Greatest Defenders in NFL History Football Players (American)
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16  reranks 10,900 votes 858 voters 23,414 views more info

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 Green, 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
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 16 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 339
    Down 113

    the people's #1
    Lawrence Taylor

    1959 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 280
    Down 75
    1961 More
    100
  3. 3
    Up 284
    Down 75
    1942 More
    99
  4. 4
    Up 278
    Down 76
    1946 More
    98
  5. 5
    Up 220
    Down 64
    1959 More
    96
  6. 6
    Up 258
    Down 66
    1952 More
    95
  7. 7
    Up 172
    Down 68
    1965 More
    91
  8. 8
    Up 186
    Down 72
    1958 More
    91
  9. 9
    Up 163
    Down 76

    most listed
    Bruce Smith

    1963 More
    91
  10. 10
    Up 237
    Down 102
    1975 More
    91
  11. 11
    Up 188
    Down 64
    1948 More
    91
  12. 12
    Up 165
    Down 36
    1938 More
    89
  13. 13
    Up 129
    Down 55
    1939 More
    85
  14. 14
    Up 120
    Down 66
    1940 More
    85
  15. 15
    Up 146
    Down 65
    1948 More
    84
  16. 16
    Up 148
    Down 48
    1967 More
    82
  17. 17
    Up 135
    Down 39
    1936 More
    82
  18. 18
    Up 122
    Down 54
    1953 More
    81
  19. 19
    Up 124
    Down 46
    1945 More
    81
  20. 20
    Up 167
    Down 94
    1967 More
    79
  21. 21
    Up 107
    Down 49
    1925 More
    78
  22. 22
    Up 131
    Down 48
    1976 More
    78
  23. 23
    Up 98
    Down 56
    1960 More
    77
  24. 24
    Up 90
    Down 40
    1927 More
    77
  25. 25
    Up 103
    Down 60
    1969 More
    75
  26. 26
    Up 86
    Down 47
    1950 More
    72
  27. 27
    Up 67
    Down 56

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jim Marshall

    1937 More
    68
  28. 28
    Up 97
    Down 61
    1978 More
    66
  29. 29
    Up 133
    Down 67
    1978 More
    65
  30. 30
    Up 86
    Down 39
    1937 More
    63
  31. 31
    Up 88
    Down 37
    1973 More
    63
  32. 32
    Up 73
    Down 53
    1942 More
    62
  33. 33
    Up 55
    Down 54
    1926 More
    61
  34. 34
    Up 100
    Down 68
    1971 More
    61
  35. 35
    Up 65
    Down 53
    1947 More
    60
  36. 36
    Up 84
    Down 77
    1972 More
    59
  37. 37
    Up 48
    Down 46
    1940 More
    58
  38. 38
    Up 67
    Down 44
    1966 More
    57
  39. 39
    Up 55
    Down 56
    1942 More
    56
  40. 40
    Up 50
    Down 67
    1958 More
    55
  41. 41
    Up 46
    Down 27
    1945 More
    54
  42. 42
    Up 40
    Down 52
    1925 More
    54
  43. 43
    Up 60
    Down 39

    ranked low on reranks
    Lester Hayes

    1955 More
    54
    added by: Al Sobrante
  44. 44
    Up 50
    Down 58
    1939 More
    53
  45. 45
    Up 49
    Down 59
    1940 More
    52
  46. 46
    Up 40
    Down 54
    1930 More
    52
  47. 47
    Up 35
    Down 56
    1940 More
    49
  48. 48
    Up 37
    Down 55
    1932 More
    49
  49. 49
    Up 38
    Down 15

    ranked low on reranks
    Howie Long

    1960 More
    49
    added by: marcooch761
  50. 50
    Up 28
    Down 50

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Larry Grantham

    1938 More
    48
  51. 102 +

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