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The Greatest Defensive Tackles of All Time

Updated June 7, 2020 41.9k votes 7.1k voters 155.7k 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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    Charles Edward Greene (born September 5, 1946), better known as "Mean" Joe Greene, is a former American football defensive tackle who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football...  more

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    Alan Cedric Page (born August 7, 1945) is a retired jurist and former professional American football player. He gained national recognition as a defensive tackle in the National Football League...  more
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    Reginald Howard White (December 19, 1961 – December 26, 2004) was an American professional football player who played defensive end in the National Football League (NFL) for 15 seasons during the...  more

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    Aaron Charles Donald is an American football defensive tackle for the Los Angeles Rams of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Rams in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He played...  more
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    John Anthony Randle (born December 12, 1967) is a former American football defensive tackle who played for the Minnesota Vikings and the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL). On...  more
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    Robert Lewis Lilly (born July 26, 1939), nicknamed "Mr. Cowboy", is a former American football defensive tackle and photographer. After a college career at Texas Christian University (TCU), he played...  more

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    Merlin Jay Olsen (; September 15, 1940 – March 11, 2010) was an American football player, announcer, and actor. He played his entire 15-year professional football career in National Football League...  more

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    Randall Lee White (born January 15, 1953) is a former American football defensive tackle. He attended the University of Maryland from 1971 to 1974, and played professionally for the Dallas Cowboys...  more
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    Warren Carlos Sapp (born December 19, 1972) is a former American football defensive tackle. A Hall of Famer, Sapp played college football for the University of Miami, where he was recognized as a...  more

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    David D. "Deacon" Jones (December 9, 1938 – June 3, 2013) was an American football defensive end in the National Football League (NFL) for the Los Angeles Rams, San Diego Chargers, and the Washington...  more
  • 11
    Junious "Buck" Buchanan (September 10, 1940 – July 16, 1992) was a professional American football defensive tackle with the Kansas City Chiefs in the American Football League (AFL) and in the...  more
  • 12
    Roosevelt Grier (born July 14, 1932) is an American actor, singer, Protestant minister, and former professional football player. He was a notable college football player for The Pennsylvania State...  more
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    Alexander George Karras (July 15, 1935 – October 10, 2012) was an American football player, professional wrestler, sportscaster, and actor. He was a four-time Pro Bowl player with the Detroit Lions...  more

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    Carl Eller (born January 25, 1942) is a former professional American football player in the National Football League (NFL) who played from 1964 through 1979. He was born in Winston-Salem, North...  more
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    Vincent Lamar Wilfork (born November 4, 1981) is a former American football nose tackle who played in the National Football League (NFL) for 13 seasons. He played college football for the University...  more
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    Arthur James Donovan Jr. (June 5, 1924 – August 4, 2013), nicknamed the Bulldog, was an American football defensive tackle who played for three National Football League (NFL) teams, most notably the...  more
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    Cortez Kennedy

    Cortez Kennedy (August 23, 1968 – May 23, 2017) was an American football defensive tackle who played his entire eleven-season career with the Seattle Seahawks of the National Football League (NFL)....  more
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    Jerome Brown

    Willie Jerome Brown III (February 4, 1965 – June 25, 1992) was an American football defensive tackle for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League (NFL). He played his entire five-year...  more
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    Daniel Oliver Hampton also known as "Danimal" (born September 19, 1957) is a retired Hall of Fame American football defensive tackle who played twelve seasons for the Chicago Bears from 1979 to 1990...  more

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    Joe Klecko

    Joe Klecko (born October 15, 1953 in Chester, Pennsylvania) is a former American football player, of Polish descent, best remembered for his days as Defensive Lineman; a member of the New York Jets'...  more

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    Gene "Geno" Reynard Atkins Jr. (born March 28, 1988) is an American football defensive tackle for the Cincinnati Bengals of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Georgia,...  more
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    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 professional football player as a defensive tackle in the National Football League (NFL), a former...  more

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    William Anthony Perry (born December 16, 1962) is an American former professional football player who was a defensive lineman in the National Football League (NFL) for ten seasons during the 1980s...  more

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    Fletcher Cox

    Fletcher Cox is an American football defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League. After playing college football for Mississippi State, he was selected 12th overall by...  more
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    Etuini Haloti Ngata (Tongan pronunciation: [ˈŋata]; born January 21, 1984) is a former American football defensive tackle. He played college football for the University of Oregon and earned consensus...  more