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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 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

The Greatest Defenders in NFL History Football Players (American)
  • 25 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • 2 See list ranked by
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2rerank list
  1. 1
    + 1374
    - 378

    the people's #1
    Linebacker

    ;
  2. 2
    + 1067
    - 337


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ;
  3. 3
    + 1005
    - 293


    ;
  4. 4
    + 918
    - 310

    most listed
    Linebacker, Center

    ;
  5. 5
    + 818
    - 252


    Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  6. 6
    + 799
    - 290


    Linebacker

    ;
  7. 7
    + 962
    - 394


    Linebacker

    ;
  8. 8
    + 637
    - 232


    ;
  9. 9
    + 575
    - 251


    ;
  10. 10
    + 603
    - 189


    ;
  11. 11
    + 575
    - 233


    Linebacker

    ;
  12. 12
    + 743
    - 278


    Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

    ;
  13. 13
    + 569
    - 268


    ;
  14. 14
    + 395
    - 149


    Cornerback

    ;
  15. 15
    + 560
    - 177


    Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

    ;
  16. 16
    + 418
    - 230


    Cornerback, Defensive back

    ;
  17. 17
    + 469
    - 179


    Linebacker

    ;
  18. 18
    + 327
    - 242

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks

    ;
  19. 19
    + 351
    - 207


    Defensive tackle

    ;
  20. 20
    + 377
    - 188


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

    ;
  21. 21
    + 367
    - 166


    Linebacker

    ;
  22. 22
    + 345
    - 161


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    ;
  23. 23
    + 429
    - 186


    Free Safety

    ;
  24. 24
    + 359
    - 178


    Linebacker

    ;
  25. 25
    + 289
    - 175


    Cornerback

    ;
  26. 26
    + 268
    - 164


    Linebacker, Center

    ;
  27. 27
    + 404
    - 203


    Linebacker

    ;
  28. 28
    + 387
    - 189


    Defensive end

    ;
  29. 29
    + 227
    - 164

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  30. 30
    + 338
    - 80

    ranked low on reranks
    Strong Safety

    ;
  31. 31
    + 286
    - 122


    Linebacker

    ;
  32. 32
    + 188
    - 177

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  33. 33
    + 330
    - 196


    Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Tackle

    ;
  34. 34
    + 251
    - 135


    Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  35. 35
    + 452
    - 107

    ranked low on reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  36. 36
    + 183
    - 159


    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    ;
  37. 37
    + 222
    - 150


    ;
  38. 38
    + 231
    - 104

    added by EthanWalker
    Cornerback

    ;
  39. 39
    + 155
    - 155

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Linebacker

    ;
  40. 40
    + 144
    - 171

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end

    ;
  41. 41
    + 229
    - 81

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcooch761

    ;
  42. 42
    + 139
    - 143

    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Defensive end, Linebacker, Defensive lineman

    ;
  43. 43
    + 246
    - 122

    ranked low on reranks & added by EthanWalker
    Defensive end

    ;
  44. 44
    + 251
    - 109

    ranked low on reranks & added by KobeMr81
    Cornerback

    ;
  45. 45
    + 140
    - 108


    Linebacker

    ;
  46. 46
    + 175
    - 120

    added by Al Sobrante
    Cornerback, Safety

    ;
  47. 47
    + 139
    - 151


    Safety, Defensive back

    ;
  48. 48
    + 189
    - 75

    ranked low on reranks & added by marcooch761
    Outside Linebacker

    ;
  49. 49
    + 128
    - 137


    Cornerback

    ;
  50. 50
    + 128
    - 148


    Cornerback, Return specialist

    ;
174 +

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