The Greatest Defenders in NFL History Football Players (American)
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16  reranks 10,104 votes 789 voters 20,246 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 314
    Down 99

    the people's #1
    Lawrence Taylor

    1959 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 255
    Down 71
    1961 More
    99
  3. 3
    Up 258
    Down 67
    1946 More
    98
  4. 4
    Up 266
    Down 71
    1942 More
    98
  5. 5
    Up 202
    Down 60
    1959 More
    96
  6. 6
    Up 240
    Down 58
    1952 More
    95
  7. 7
    Up 177
    Down 56
    1948 More
    91
  8. 8
    Up 159
    Down 65
    1965 More
    90
  9. 9
    Up 151
    Down 72

    most listed
    Bruce Smith

    1963 More
    90
  10. 10
    Up 172
    Down 69
    1958 More
    90
  11. 11
    Up 214
    Down 98
    1975 More
    89
  12. 12
    Up 150
    Down 36
    1938 More
    88
  13. 13
    Up 115
    Down 60

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Merlin Olsen

    1940 More
    85
  14. 14
    Up 139
    Down 58
    1948 More
    85
  15. 15
    Up 121
    Down 51
    1939 More
    84
  16. 16
    Up 136
    Down 44
    1967 More
    82
  17. 17
    Up 126
    Down 35
    1936 More
    81
  18. 18
    Up 117
    Down 49
    1953 More
    81
  19. 19
    Up 117
    Down 42
    1945 More
    81
  20. 20
    Up 104
    Down 43
    1925 More
    78
  21. 21
    Up 153
    Down 88
    1967 More
    78
  22. 22
    Up 94
    Down 52
    1960 More
    77
  23. 23
    Up 118
    Down 47
    1976 More
    76
  24. 24
    Up 84
    Down 39
    1927 More
    76
  25. 25
    Up 96
    Down 57
    1969 More
    75
  26. 26
    Up 79
    Down 44
    1950 More
    71
  27. 27
    Up 65
    Down 51
    1937 More
    68
  28. 28
    Up 90
    Down 60
    1978 More
    65
  29. 29
    Up 124
    Down 65
    1978 More
    65
  30. 30
    Up 84
    Down 35
    1937 More
    63
  31. 31
    Up 71
    Down 48
    1942 More
    63
  32. 32
    Up 54
    Down 47
    1926 More
    62
  33. 33
    Up 80
    Down 37
    1973 More
    61
  34. 34
    Up 63
    Down 47
    1947 More
    61
  35. 35
    Up 91
    Down 66
    1971 More
    60
  36. 36
    Up 47
    Down 41
    1940 More
    58
  37. 37
    Up 78
    Down 72
    1972 More
    58
  38. 38
    Up 65
    Down 39
    1966 More
    58
  39. 39
    Up 54
    Down 51
    1942 More
    56
  40. 40
    Up 40
    Down 47
    1925 More
    55
  41. 41
    Up 49
    Down 63
    1958 More
    55
  42. 42
    Up 58
    Down 33

    ranked low on reranks
    Lester Hayes

    1955 More
    55
    added by: Al Sobrante
  43. 43
    Up 43
    Down 24

    ranked low on reranks
    Willie Lanier

    1945 More
    54
  44. 44
    Up 50
    Down 52
    1939 More
    54
  45. 45
    Up 47
    Down 55
    1940 More
    52
  46. 46
    Up 38
    Down 49
    1930 More
    52
  47. 47
    Up 35
    Down 49
    1940 More
    50
  48. 48
    Up 37
    Down 48
    1932 More
    50
  49. 49
    Up 33
    Down 10

    ranked low on reranks
    Howie Long

    1960 More
    49
    added by: marcooch761
  50. 50
    Up 28
    Down 44

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Larry Grantham

    1938 More
    49
  51. 100 +

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