Sports

The Best NFL Players From Illinois  

Ranker NFL
203 votes 27 voters 40 items

List Rules Vote up the top pro football players born or raised in Illinois

Here’s a list of the best NFL players from Illinois. The Prairie State is home to some bona fide tough guys who have put a quite a beating on their opponents every Sunday they played in the NFL. Some of the best football players of all time like Dick Butkus, Ray Nitschke, and Rodney Harrison came from Illinois.

Vote for who you think are the top NFL players from Illinois and add any of your favorites missing from the list!

list ordered by
1
Dick Butkus is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
USA, Chicago, Illinois
Richard Marvin "Dick" Butkus is a former American football linebacker who played for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League. He was drafted in 1965 and he is also widely ...more
2
Donovan McNabb is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Donovan Jamal McNabb is a retired American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for thirteen seasons. Before his NFL career, he played football and basketball for ...more
3
Otto Graham is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois, United States of America
Otto Everett Graham, Jr. was an American football quarterback who played for the Cleveland Browns in the All-America Football Conference and National Football League. Graham is regarded by ...more
4
Rodney Harrison is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Markham, Illinois
Rodney Scott Harrison is a retired professional football player of the National Football League. Harrison played safety for the San Diego Chargers and New England Patriots. He was a two-time Pro ...more
5
Charles Tillman is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Charles "Peanut" Tillman is an American football cornerback for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. He played college football for the University of Louisiana at ...more
6
George Halas is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
George Stanley Halas, Sr., nicknamed "Papa Bear" and "Mr. Everything", was a player, coach, owner and pioneer in professional American football. He was the iconic founder and ...more
7
Jimmy Garoppolo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
James Richard Garoppolo (born November 2, 1991) is an American football quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Eastern ...more
8
Shannon Sharpe is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois, United States of America
Shannon Sharpe is a former American football tight end who played for the Denver Broncos and Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League, as well as a former analyst for CBS Sports on its ...more
9
Ken Norton, Jr. is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Jacksonville, Illinois, USA
Kenneth Howard "Ken" Norton, Jr. is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League and the current defensive coordinator for the Oakland Raiders. Previously, he ...more
10
John Lynch is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Hinsdale, Illinois
John Terrence Lynch, Jr. is a former American football strong safety who played fifteen seasons in the National Football League and is a current color commentator for NFL on Fox. He played ...more
11
Steve Atwater is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Stephen Dennis Atwater nicknamed "Smiling Assassin" is a former American football player who spent most of his career playing free safety for the Denver Broncos. Atwater and Dennis ...more
12
Simeon Rice is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Simeon James Rice is a former American football defensive end. He was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals third overall in the 1996 NFL Draft. He played college football at Illinois. In his 12-year ...more
13
Ray Nitschke is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Elmwood Park, Illinois, United States of America
Raymond Ernest "Ray" Nitschke was a professional American football middle linebacker who spent his entire 15-year National Football League career with the Green Bay Packers.
14
Bryan Bulaga is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Barrington, Illinois
Bryan Joseph Bulaga is an American football offensive tackle who plays for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Packers in the first round of the 2010 NFL ...more
15
Jim Hart is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Evanston, Illinois
James Warren "Jim" Hart is a former American football quarterback who played in the National Football League for the St. Louis Cardinals from 1966 through 1983 and the Washington
16
Bryant Young is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago Heights, Illinois
Bryant Colby Young is a former American football defensive lineman for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. A first round draft pick out of University of Notre Dame, he ...more
17
George Connor is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
George Leo "Moose" Connor was an American football offensive tackle/linebacker for the Chicago Bears from 1948 to 1955. He was originally a number one draft pick by the New York Giants ...more
18
Paddy Driscoll is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Evanston, Illinois
John Leo "Paddy" Driscoll was a professional American football quarterback. Driscoll was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1965 and is a member of the NFL 1920s All-Decade ...more
19
David Diehl is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
David Diehl is a former American football offensive lineman who played his entire career with the New York Giants of the National Football League. He was the Giants starting left guard on two ...more
20
Shaun O'Hara is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago Heights, Illinois
Shaun O'Hara is a former American football center who played in the National Football League for eleven seasons. He played college football for Rutgers University. He began his professional ...more
21
Ray Buchanan is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Chicago, Illinois
Raymond Louis Buchanan is a former American football player in the NFL. He was drafted out of Louisville in 1993 by the Indianapolis Colts in the 3rd round, and subsequently played for the ...more
22
Michael Turner is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Waukegan, Illinois
Michael Turner is a former American football running back in the National Football League. He last played for the Atlanta Falcons of the National Football League. He was drafted by the San Diego ...more
23
Ken Anderson is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Batavia, Illinois
Kenneth Allan "Ken" Anderson is a former American football quarterback who spent his entire professional career playing for the Cincinnati Bengals of the NFL and later returned as a ...more
24
Mike Kenn is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Evanston, Illinois
Michael Lee "Mike" Kenn is a former American football player who was selected by the Atlanta Falcons in the first round of the 1978 NFL Draft. A 6'7", 275-lb. offensive tackle ...more
25
Len Rohde is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best NFL Players From Illinois
Palatine, Illinois
Leonard Emil Rohde was an American football offensive tackle who played fifteen seasons for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League. He helped the 49ers win the NFC West Division ...more