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List of Famous Football Defensive Linemans

Updated June 14, 2019 6.0k views381 items

List of the most famous (American) football defensive linemans in the history of the sport, listed by popularity with photos of the players when available. There have been many legendary defensive linemans in the NFL and NCAA, and you'll find all of them on this list below. Some of these men are considered to be the best defensive linemans to ever play the game, and if you're looking for a specific football player you can look for them by using the "search" function on this list. These amazing defensive linemans may currently be active while others have been retired for quite sometime. This list of the top defensive linemans in American football includes all the greats from both the NFL and college football.

List items include Jimmy Johnson, Charles Haley and many more.

This list answers the questions, "Who is the greatest defensive lineman of all time?" and "Who are the best defensive linemans of all time?"
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  • Willie Davis1

    Willie Davis

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceLisbon, Louisiana, United States of America

    Age86

    Willie D. Davis (born July 24, 1934) is a former American football defensive end for the... more on Wikipedia
  • Carl Eller2

    Carl Eller

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceWinston-Salem, North Carolina

    Age78

    TeamsSeattle Seahawks, Minnesota Vikings

    Carl Eller (born January 25, 1942) is a former professional American football player in the... more on Wikipedia
  • Bobby Bell3

    Bobby Bell

    Defensive end, Linebacker

    BirthplaceShelby, North Carolina, United States of America

    Age80

    Bobby Lee Bell Sr (born June 17, 1940) is a former professional American football linebacker... more on Wikipedia

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    #43 of 154 The Greatest Linebackers of All Time#8 of 128 The Best Kansas City Chiefs Of All Time

  • Charles Haley4

    Charles Haley

    Defensive end, Linebacker

    BirthplaceGladys, Virginia, Virginia

    Age56

    Charles Lewis Haley (born January 6, 1964) is a former American football linebacker and... more on Wikipedia
  • Chris Doleman5

    Chris Doleman

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceIndianapolis, Indiana

    Age59

    Christopher John Doleman (born October 16, 1961) is a former American football defensive end... more on Wikipedia

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    #25 of 96 The Greatest Defensive Ends of All Time#85 of 176 The Best Atlanta Falcons of All Time

  • Buck Buchanan6

    Buck Buchanan

    Defensive tackle, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceGainesville, Alabama

    AgeDied at 52 (1940-1992)

    Junious "Buck" Buchanan (September 10, 1940 – July 16, 1992) was a professional American... more on Wikipedia
  • Harvey Martin7

    Harvey Martin

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceDallas, Texas, United States of America

    AgeDec. at 51 (1950-2001)

    TeamsDallas Cowboys

    Harvey Banks Martin (November 16, 1950 – December 24, 2001) was an American football defensive... more on Wikipedia
  • Vince Wilfork8

    Vince Wilfork

    Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceBoynton Beach, Florida

    Age38

    TeamsNew England Patriots, Miami Hurricanes football

    Vincent Lamar Wilfork (born November 4, 1981) is a former American football nose tackle who... more on Wikipedia
  • Manny Fernandez9

    Manny Fernandez

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceOakland, California

    Age69

    Manuel Jose Fernandez (born July 3, 1946) is a former American football player of who played... more on Wikipedia
  • Richard Seymour10

    Richard Seymour

    Defensive tackle

    BirthplaceGadsden, South Carolina

    Age40

    TeamsOakland Raiders, Georgia Bulldogs football team, New England Patriots

    Richard Vershaun Seymour (born October 6, 1979) is a former American football defensive tackle... more on Wikipedia

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    #200 of 329 The Most Obnoxious Athletes#30 of 83 The Greatest Defensive Tackles of All Time

  • Jim Jeffcoat11

    Jim Jeffcoat

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceLong Branch, New Jersey

    Age59

    James Wilson Jeffcoat, Jr. (born April 1, 1961) is a former American football defensive end in... more on Wikipedia
  • Jacob Green12

    Jacob Green

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplacePasadena, Texas

    Age63

    Jacob Carl Green (born January 21, 1957) is a former American football defensive end. He... more on Wikipedia

    More 

    #1122 of 1,323 The Best Football Players Ever#264 of 432 The Greatest Defenders in NFL History

  • Courtney Brown13

    Courtney Brown

    Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceCharleston, South Carolina

    Age42

    TeamsDenver Broncos, Penn State Nittany Lions football, Cleveland Browns

    Courtney Lanair Brown (born February 14, 1978) is a former American college and professional... more on Wikipedia
  • Joe Klecko14

    Joe Klecko

    Defensive tackle, Lineman

    BirthplaceChester, Pennsylvania, United States of America

    Age66

    Joe Klecko (born October 15, 1953 in Chester, Pennsylvania) is a former American football... more on Wikipedia
  • Mark Gastineau15

    Mark Gastineau

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceArdmore, Oklahoma

    Age63

    TeamsArizona State Sun Devils football, New York Jets

    Marcus Dell Gastineau (born November 20, 1956) is an American former football player who was a... more on Wikipedia
  • Jamal Reynolds16

    Jamal Reynolds

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceAugusta, Georgia

    Age41

    Idris Jamal Reynolds (born February 20, 1979) is an American former college and professional... more on Wikipedia

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    #51 of 81 The Best Florida State Football Players of All Time#71 of 142 The Biggest First Round NFL Draft Pick Busts

  • Otis Sistrunk17

    Otis Sistrunk

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceColumbus, Georgia

    Age74

    Otis Sistrunk (born September 18, 1946 in Columbus, Georgia) is a former professional football... more on Wikipedia
  • Fred Smerlas18

    Fred Smerlas

    Tackle, Nose tackle

    BirthplaceWaltham, Massachusetts

    Age63

    Frederic Charles Smerlas (born April 8, 1957) is a former American football defensive lineman... more on Wikipedia
  • Bill Willis19

    Bill Willis

    Defensive tackle, Lineman

    BirthplaceColumbus, Ohio

    AgeDied at 86 (1921-2007)

    William Karnet Willis (October 5, 1921 – November 27, 2007) was an American football defensive... more on Wikipedia

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    #60 of 83 The Best Ohio State Buckeyes of All Time#33 of 61 The Best NFL Players From Ohio

  • Ray Childress20

    Ray Childress

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceMemphis, Tennessee

    Age57

    Raymond Clay Childress, Jr. (born October 20, 1962) is a former American football defensive... more on Wikipedia
  • Willie McGinest21

    Willie McGinest

    Defensive end, Linebacker

    BirthplaceLong Beach, California, United States of America

    Age48

    TeamsUSC Trojans football, New England Patriots, Cleveland Browns

    William Lee McGinest, Jr. (born December 11, 1971) is a former American football linebacker... more on Wikipedia
  • Henry Melton22

    Henry Melton

    Defensive tackle

    BirthplaceCedar Hill, Texas

    Age33

    TeamsChicago Bears

    Henry James Melton (born October 11, 1986) is a former American football defensive end. He... more on Wikipedia
  • Clyde Simmons23

    Clyde Simmons

    Defensive end, Defensive lineman

    BirthplaceLane, South Carolina

    Age56

    Clyde Simmons Jr. (born August 4, 1964) is a former American football defensive end in the... more on Wikipedia
  • Bubba Smith24

    Bubba Smith

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceOrange, Texas, United States of America

    AgeDec. at 66 (1945-2011)

    TeamsBaltimore Colts, Houston Oilers, Michigan State Spartans football, Oakland Raiders

    Charles Aaron "Bubba" Smith (February 28, 1945 – August 3, 2011) was an American professional... more on Wikipedia
  • Marty Lyons25

    Marty Lyons

    Defensive tackle, Defensive end

    BirthplaceTakoma Park, Maryland, United States of America

    Age63

    TeamsNew York Jets

    Martin Anthony Lyons (born January 15, 1957) is a former American college and professional... more on Wikipedia

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    #290 of 322 People Who Should Be in the Pro Football Hall of Fame#52 of 91 The Best Alabama Crimson Tide Football Players of All Time