Football The Greatest Defenders in NFL History  

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Originally by Ranker Community
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List Rules 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
list ordered by

1
3,493 991
Lawrence Taylor is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

2
2,430 937
Reggie White is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end

3
2,226 831
Joe Greene is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle

4
1,781 789
Ronnie Lott is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

5
1,923 860
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker, Center

6
2,395 990
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

7
1,312 604
Bruce Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

8
1,618 782
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

9
1,369 631
Rod Woodson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive back

10
1,892 643
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

11
1,376 488
Deacon Jones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

12
1,200 625
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

13
1,373 496
Charles Woodson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

14
1,213 464
Ed Reed is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Free Safety

15
984 411
Dick Lane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback

16
1,067 576
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

17
1,015 483
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

18
877 509
Mel Blount is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Defensive back

19
819 471
Junior Seau is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

20
1,407 454
J. J. Watt is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

21
1,083 360
Troy Polamalu is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Strong Safety

22
711 477
Randy White is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

23
850 466
Michael Strahan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

24
616 395
Darrell Green is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback

25
727 384
Alan Page is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end