The Greatest Defenders in NFL History Football Players (American)

The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

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13,073 views 101 items 7,959 votes 631 voters 28 followers 19reranks
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!

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List Criteria: Defensive players based on their on-field achievements

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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 222
    Down 55
    1942 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 250
    Down 82

    the people's #1 &ranked high on reranks
    Lawrence Taylor

    1959 More
    100
  3. 3
    Up 215
    Down 54

    ranked low on reranks
    Joe Greene

    1946 More
    99
  4. 4
    Up 208
    Down 58
    1961 More
    99
  5. 5
    Up 198
    Down 47

    ranked low on reranks
    Jack Lambert

    1952 More
    96
  6. 6
    Up 161
    Down 51
    1959 More
    95
  7. 7
    Up 142
    Down 44
    1948 More
    91
  8. 8
    Up 128
    Down 52

    often listed
    Rod Woodson

    1965 More
    90
  9. 9
    Up 143
    Down 58
    1958 More
    90
  10. 10
    Up 122
    Down 58

    most listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bruce Smith

    1963 More
    90
  11. 11
    Up 117
    Down 27
    1938 More
    88
  12. 12
    Up 161
    Down 83

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Ray Lewis

    1975 More
    88
  13. 13
    Up 96
    Down 48

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Merlin Olsen

    1940 More
    86
  14. 14
    Up 101
    Down 39

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bob Lilly

    1939 More
    85
  15. 15
    Up 116
    Down 47

    ranked low on reranks
    Mel Blount

    1948 More
    85
  16. 16
    Up 96
    Down 40

    often listed
    Randy White

    1953 More
    82
  17. 17
    Up 99
    Down 29
    1936 More
    81
  18. 18
    Up 105
    Down 39

    ranked low on reranks
    Derrick Thomas

    1967 More
    81
  19. 19
    Up 88
    Down 34
    1945 More
    80
  20. 20
    Up 81
    Down 35
    1925 More
    78
  21. 21
    Up 91
    Down 35

    ranked low on reranks
    Charles Woodson

    1976 More
    77
  22. 22
    Up 80
    Down 41
    1969 More
    76
  23. 23
    Up 118
    Down 76

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Deion Sanders

    1967 More
    76
  24. 24
    Up 73
    Down 44

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Darrell Green

    1960 More
    76
  25. 25
    Up 63
    Down 28
    1927 More
    76
  26. 26
    Up 67
    Down 33

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jack Youngblood

    1950 More
    73
  27. 27
    Up 55
    Down 39

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Jim Marshall

    1937 More
    69
  28. 28
    Up 104
    Down 51

    ranked low on reranks
    Brian Urlacher

    1978 More
    69
  29. 29
    Up 69
    Down 24

    ranked low on reranks
    Dick LeBeau

    1937 More
    68
  30. 30
    Up 69
    Down 46

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Ed Reed

    1978 More
    67
  31. 31
    Up 59
    Down 37
    1942 More
    66
  32. 32
    Up 61
    Down 28

    niche appeal
    Derrick Brooks

    1973 More
    65
  33. 33
    Up 55
    Down 33

    ranked low on reranks
    Ted Hendricks

    1947 More
    65
  34. 34
    Up 74
    Down 52
    1971 More
    63
  35. 35
    Up 42
    Down 37

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Gino Marchetti

    1926 More
    63
  36. 36
    Up 39
    Down 30

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Bobby Bell

    1940 More
    62
  37. 37
    Up 52
    Down 31

    ranked low on reranks &niche appeal
    Steve Atwater

    1966 More
    62
  38. 38
    Up 32
    Down 15

    niche appeal
    Willie Lanier

    1945 More
    61
  39. 39
    Up 61
    Down 55
    1972 More
    60
  40. 40
    Up 45
    Down 22

    ranked low on reranks &niche appeal
    Lester Hayes

    1955 More
    60
    added by: Al Sobrante
  41. 41
    Up 35
    Down 32
    1925 More
    59
  42. 42
    Up 42
    Down 42
    1942 More
    59
  43. 43
    Up 40
    Down 50

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Rickey Jackson

    1958 More
    57
  44. 44
    Up 39
    Down 41
    1939 More
    57
  45. 45
    Up 32
    Down 37

    ranked high on reranks
    Doug Atkins

    1930 More
    56
  46. 46
    Up 31
    Down 33

    ranked low on reranks
    Nick Buoniconti

    1940 More
    56
  47. 47
    Up 39
    Down 43

    often listed
    Willie Brown

    1940 More
    55
  48. 48
    Up 29
    Down 28

    ranked high on reranks &niche appeal
    London Fletcher

    1975 More
    55
    added by: EthanWalker
  49. 49
    Up 32
    Down 33

    often listed &ranked low on reranks
    Joe Schmidt

    1932 More
    55
  50. 50
    Up 28
    Down 24

    niche appeal
    Willie Davis

    1934 More
    54
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