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 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

  • 19 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 Linebacker

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  2. 2
    + 668
    - 186

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

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  3. 3
    + 620
    - 164
    ) open
  4. 4
    + 605
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    Linebacker, Center

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  5. 5
    + 515
    - 148

    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

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  6. 6
    + 506
    - 181

    Linebacker

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  7. 7
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    - 225

    Linebacker

    ) open
  8. 8
    + 368
    - 160

    most listed

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  9. 9
    + 400
    - 96
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  10. 10
    + 394
    - 177
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  11. 11
    + 376
    - 153

    Linebacker

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  12. 12
    + 372
    - 154
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  13. 13
    + 285
    - 155

    Cornerback, Defensive back

    ) open
  14. 14
    + 320
    - 109

    Linebacker

    ) open
  15. 15
    + 438
    - 180

    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    ) open
  16. 16
    + 234
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks

    ) open
  17. 17
    + 253
    - 137

    Defensive tackle

    ) open
  18. 18
    + 260
    - 121

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

    ) open
  19. 19
    + 330
    - 106

    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    ) open
  20. 20
    + 234
    - 91

    Cornerback

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  21. 21
    + 270
    - 108

    Linebacker

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  22. 22
    + 203
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    Cornerback

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  23. 23
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    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

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  24. 24
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    Linebacker

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  25. 25
    + 192
    - 115

    Linebacker, Center

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  26. 26
    + 262
    - 117

    Free Safety

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  27. 27
    + 280
    - 138

    Linebacker

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  28. 28
    + 160
    - 111

    Defensive end

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  29. 29
    + 258
    - 125

    Defensive end

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  30. 30
    + 137
    - 121

    Defensive end

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  31. 31
    + 194
    - 83

    Linebacker

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  32. 32
    + 228
    - 140

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

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  33. 33
    + 136
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    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

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  34. 34
    + 110
    - 122

    Defensive end

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  35. 35
    + 157
    - 102
    ) open
  36. 36
    + 156
    - 93

    Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  37. 37
    + 115
    - 115

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Linebacker

    ) open
  38. 38
    + 94
    - 109

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

    ) open
  39. 39
    + 108
    - 113

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Safety, Defensive back

    ) open
  40. 40
    + 215
    - 44

    ranked low on reranks Defensive end

    ) open
  41. 41
    + 159
    - 62

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81 Cornerback

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  42. 42
    + 129
    - 87

    added by Al Sobrante Cornerback, Safety

    ) open
  43. 43
    + 144
    - 50

    added by marcooch761

    ) open
  44. 44
    + 99
    - 113

    often listed & ranked high on reranks Cornerback, Return specialist

    ) open
  45. 45
    + 146
    - 79

    added by EthanWalker Defensive end

    ) open
  46. 46
    + 95
    - 107

    Cornerback

    ) open
  47. 47
    + 99
    - 81

    Linebacker

    ) open
  48. 48
    + 138
    - 38

    ranked low on reranks Strong Safety

    ) open
  49. 49
    + 85
    - 114

    Defensive end

    ) open
  50. 50
    + 87
    - 129

    Linebacker

    ) open
123 +

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