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9k voters

The Greatest Defensive Ends of All Time

Updated April 5, 2020 53.6k votes 9k voters 145.1k views96 items

List RulesPlease rank the players based on their career accomplishments

When it comes to striking fear into an opposing offense, having a great defensive end can be a game changer. A lightning quick defensive end can cause chaos for offense by interrupting a quarterback's rhythm by rushing and hitting him. A great defensive end is double teamed most of the time, allowing for his counterpart to blow up an offense's scheme. A great defensive end isn't measured by stats, though having a lot of sacks certainly doesn't hurt his claim to being one of the greatest of all time.

There are a lot of familiar faces on the list of greatest defensive ends of all time. Famous defensive ends like Reggie White, Michael Strahan and Jack Youngblood are some of the toughest and menacing players in the league. White and Strahan were considered the best defensive ends of their generation. Strahan currently holds the single season record for sacks in a season. Youngblood cemented his status as the toughest player in the NFL when he played in Super Bowl XIV with a broken leg.

Selecting who the greatest defensive end of all time isn't easy, especially since most of these defensive ends either are in or will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. But you can vote for who you feel is the best-ever on this Ultimate List.
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  • 1
    2,716
    806

    Reggie White

    Green Bay Packers, Carolina Panthers
  • 2
    1,517
    397

    Joe Greene

    Pittsburgh Steelers, North Texas Mean Green football
  • 3
    2,029
    771

    Bruce Smith

    Buffalo Bills, Washington Redskins
  • 4
    2,770
    1,124

    J. J. Watt

    Arizona Cardinals
  • 5
    1,682
    862

    Deacon Jones

    Mississippi Valley State Delta Devils football, Los Angeles Rams
  • 6
    1,292
    602

    Julius Peppers

    North Carolina Tar Heels football, Chicago Bears
  • 7
    1,177
    614

    Howie Long

    Oakland Raiders, Villanova Wildcats football
  • 8
    1,575
    857

    Michael Strahan

    Texas Southern Tigers football, New York Giants
  • 9
    701
    349

    Ed Jones

    Tennessee State Tigers football, Dallas Cowboys
  • 10
    939
    529

    Jack Youngblood

    Los Angeles Rams
  • 11
    722
    399

    Richard Dent

    Indianapolis Colts, Chicago Bears
  • 12
    652
    335

    Jason Taylor

    Washington Redskins, Akron Zips football
  • 13
    758
    440

    Charles Haley

    San Francisco 49ers, Dallas Cowboys
  • 14
    634
    345

    Dwight Freeney

    Indianapolis Colts, Syracuse Orange football
  • 15
    405
    189

    Merlin Olsen

    Los Angeles Rams, Utah State Aggies football
  • 16
    741
    448

    DeMarcus Ware

    Troy Trojans football, Dallas Cowboys
  • 17
    839
    565

    Jared Allen

    Idaho State Bengals football, Kansas City Chiefs
  • 18
    390
    226

    Bubba Smith

    Baltimore Colts, Houston Oilers
  • 19
    473
    304

    Carl Eller

    Seattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings
  • 20
    462
    306

    L. C. Greenwood

    Pittsburgh Steelers
  • 21
    394
    272

    Gino Marchetti

    Dallas Texans, Baltimore Colts
  • 22
    367
    230

    Lyle Alzado

    Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders
  • 23
    445
    295

    Jim Marshall

    Cleveland Browns, Minnesota Vikings
  • 24
    514
    426

    Lee Roy Selmon

    Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Oklahoma Sooners football
  • 25
    355
    285

    Chris Doleman

    Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons