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The Greatest Defensive Tackles of All Time

Updated June 7, 2020 42.4k votes 6.7k voters 151.1k views83 items

List RulesPlease rank the players based on their career accomplishments

The key to a winning football games is winning the battle in the trenches. For a defense, the unsung hero down fighting in the frontlines is a defensive tackle. These big, burly guys are the anchor of the defense. Without a great defensive tackle, other pieces of the defense may not be able to function as crisply without these important players. For the most part, only diehard football fans recognize the contributions of defensive tackles and defensive linemen. These guys may not put up the biggest numbers, but often times they can occupy several offensive linemen, clearing the way for their teammates to make a big play.

There are a number of familiar names on this list of the greatest defensive tackles. "Mean" Joe Greene, Bruce Smith and Howie Long are some of the most popular players in Pittsburgh Steelers, Buffalo Bills and Oakland/Los Angeles Raiders history. Many of these defensive tackles have taken their place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame, proving how valuable they were to their team's successes. This list starts with the greatest players of all time and ends with the players who are prett 

Vote for who you think should be considered the greatest defensive tackle of all time on this Ultimate List. There are plenty of great players on this list so you really can't go wrong with who you choose.
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  • 1
    Joe Greene
    2,108
    585
    Charles Edward Greene (born September 5, 1946), better known as "Mean" Joe Greene, is a former... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    John Randle
    1,286
    648
    John Anthony Randle (born December 12, 1967) is a former American football defensive tackle... more on Wikipedia

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    #64 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame#290 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes

  • 3
    Alan Page
    1,322
    675
    Alan Cedric Page (born August 7, 1945) is a retired jurist and former professional American... more on Wikipedia

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    #4 of 82 The Best Notre Dame Football Players of All Time#46 of 144 The Greatest Chicago Bears of All Time

  • 4
    Reggie White
    1,218
    233
    Reginald Howard White (December 19, 1961 – December 26, 2004) was an American professional... more on Wikipedia

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    #98 of 150 Athletes You Didn't Know Were Conservative#441 of 753 People We Wish Were Still Alive

  • 5
    Bob Lilly
    1,001
    522
    Robert Lewis Lilly (born July 26, 1939), nicknamed "Mr. Cowboy", is a former American football... more on Wikipedia

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    #89 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever#38 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

  • 6
    Aaron Donald
    Aaron Charles Donald is an American football defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams of the... more on Wikipedia
  • 7
    Merlin Olsen
    Merlin Jay Olsen (; September 15, 1940 – March 11, 2010) was an American football player,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    Randy White
    1,109
    644
    Randall Lee White (born January 15, 1953) is a former American football defensive tackle. He... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Warren Sapp
    1,205
    703
    Warren Carlos Sapp (born December 19, 1972) is a former American football defensive tackle. A... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    Deacon Jones
    David D. "Deacon" Jones (December 9, 1938 – June 3, 2013) was an American football defensive... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    Alex Karras
    Alexander George Karras (July 15, 1935 – October 10, 2012) was an American football player,... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Rosey Grier
    Roosevelt Grier (born July 14, 1932) is an American actor, singer, Protestant minister, and... more on Wikipedia
  • 13
    Art Donovan
    Arthur James Donovan Jr. (June 5, 1924 – August 4, 2013), nicknamed the Bulldog, was an... more on Wikipedia
  • 14
    Vince Wilfork
    Vincent Lamar Wilfork (born November 4, 1981) is a former American football nose tackle who... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Buck Buchanan
    Junious "Buck" Buchanan (September 10, 1940 – July 16, 1992) was a professional American... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    Carl Eller
    Carl Eller (born January 25, 1942) is a former professional American football player in the... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Cortez Kennedy
    534
    400

    Cortez Kennedy

    Cortez Kennedy (August 23, 1968 – May 23, 2017) was an American football defensive tackle who... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Jerome Brown
    458
    354

    Jerome Brown

    Willie Jerome Brown III (February 4, 1965 – June 25, 1992) was an American football defensive... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Dan Hampton
    Daniel Oliver Hampton also known as "Danimal" (born September 19, 1957) is a retired Hall of... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    Joe Klecko
    241
    149

    Joe Klecko

    Joe Klecko (born October 15, 1953 in Chester, Pennsylvania) is a former American football... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    Steve McMichael
    247
    173

    Steve McMichael

    New England Patriots, Green Bay Packers

    PositionDefensive tackle, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceHouston, Texas, United States of America

    Age58

    Stephen Douglas "Mongo" McMichael (born October 17, 1957) is a former American college and... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Geno Atkins
    Gene "Geno" Reynard Atkins Jr. (born March 28, 1988) is an American football defensive tackle... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Willie Davis
    Willie D. Davis (born July 24, 1934) is a former American football defensive end for the... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Fletcher Cox
    226
    136

    Fletcher Cox

    Fletcher Cox is an American football defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Haloti Ngata
    Etuini Haloti Ngata (Tongan pronunciation: [ˈŋata]; born January 21, 1984) is a former... more on Wikipedia