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
3,549 1,004
Lawrence Taylor is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

2
2,468 955
Reggie White is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end

3
2,264 849
Joe Greene is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle

4
1,953 880
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker, Center

5
1,811 806
Ronnie Lott is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

6
2,445 1,004
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

7
1,335 618
Bruce Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

8
1,644 798
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

9
1,934 656
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

10
1,388 645
Rod Woodson is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive back

11
1,395 497
Deacon Jones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

12
1,221 632
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

13
1,395 508
Charles Woodson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

14
1,245 469
Ed Reed is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Free Safety

15
1,002 418
Dick Lane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback

16
1,078 588
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

17
1,029 495
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

18
893 515
Mel Blount is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Defensive back

19
1,434 459
J. J. Watt is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

20
838 481
Junior Seau is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

21
716 491
Randy White is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

22
738 390
Alan Page is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end

23
1,109 371
Troy Polamalu is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Strong Safety

24
752 376
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

25
865 474
Michael Strahan is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end