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
3,497 993
Lawrence Taylor is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

2
2,433 939
Reggie White is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end

3
2,229 833
Joe Greene is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle

4
1,782 790
Ronnie Lott is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Safety, Defensive back

5
1,927 862
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker, Center

6
2,399 992
Ray Lewis is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

7
1,315 605
Bruce Smith is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

8
1,621 783
Jack Lambert is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

9
1,370 632
Rod Woodson is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive back

10
1,896 644
Deion Sanders is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Punt returner, Kickoff returner

11
1,378 489
Deacon Jones is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

12
1,200 626
Mike Singletary is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

13
1,376 496
Charles Woodson is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Return specialist, Safety

14
1,217 464
Ed Reed is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Free Safety

15
989 411
Dick Lane is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback

16
1,070 577
Jack Ham is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

17
1,017 483
Derrick Thomas is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

18
879 509
Mel Blount is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback, Defensive back

19
822 472
Junior Seau is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Linebacker

20
1,411 455
J. J. Watt is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

21
1,089 361
Troy Polamalu is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Strong Safety

22
711 481
Randy White is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end, Linebacker

23
854 466
Michael Strahan is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive end

24
618 395
Darrell Green is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Cornerback

25
728 385
Alan Page is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Greatest Defenders in NFL History
Defensive tackle, Defensive end