VA
  • TGT on YouTube
  • About TGT
  • The TGT Team
  • How TGT rates
  • Responsible Gambling Advice
  • Contact Our Team
  • Writers Wanted
  • Content Disclaimer
  • Affiliate Disclosure
Contains commercial content
Billboard Left
Billboard Left
The Grueling Truth - Where Legends Speak / The Top-20 Defensive Players in NFL History

The Top-20 Defensive Players in NFL History

History's greatest defenders
Publish Date: 02/26/2022
Fact checked by: Simon Briffa

No active players are eligible to be on this list!

20) Darrell Green, Washington Redskins

Green played cornerback in the NFL for an amazing 20 years! Most Corners make a switch to safety when they slow down. It seemed that Green never really slowed down. Green was also a clutch kick returner who made some huge plays in the playoffs as a return man. Green had 54 interceptions in his illustrious career.  He had an interception in a record 19 consecutive seasons. Darrell Green was a seven-time Pro Bowler and four-time All-Pro selection.  he was enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Check out the best bookmakers for betting on Football!

 

19) Buck Buchanon, Kansas City Chiefs

Buck Buchanan was also incredibly durable, as he missed only one game in his 13-year career.  He was a six-time All AFL selection and two-time Pro Bowler after the AFL and NFL merged. Buck’s size, speed, and strength were unheard of when he began his pro football career in 1963. Buck Buchanan was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1990.

 

18) Chuck Bednarik, Philadelphia Eagles

“Concrete” Charlie Bednarik was the last regular two-way player, starring as a linebacker and center.  He would often play virtually every minute of a game. Known for his hard-hitting and sure tackling, Bednarik was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and ten-time All-Pro. He led the Eagles to their last NFL Championship in 1960.

 

17) Emlen Tunnell, Giants/Packers

When Tunnell ended his career, he was the career leader in interceptions with 79.  Paul Krause later passed him with 81. Tunnell was a nine-time Pro Bowler and eight-time All-Pro award winner.  He was the first African-American elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1967.

 

16) Willie Lanier, Kansas City Chiefs

Lanier was one of the greatest middle linebackers to ever play the game. Lanier was a tough, intense and durable player.  He missed only five games in his career. lanier was known as a big-hitter and was a very smart player. Willie Lanier was an eight-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection.  He was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1986.

 

15) Bruce Smith, Bills/Redskins

Bruce Smith was a dynamic edge pass rusher from the defensive end position.  He is the NFL’s career leader in sacks with 200. Durability was another Smith characteristic as he played in 279 games.  He was a dominant pass rusher, as his three NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards confirm. Bruce Smith was an 11 time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2009.

 

14) Jack Ham, Pittsburgh Steelers

Ham was overshadowed by teammate Jack Lambert, but Ham was one of the greatest outside linebackers in NFL history. Was very good against the run, but he may have been the best cover linebacker the NFL has ever seen.

 

13) Dick “Night Train” Lane

Lane was one of the first defensive backs that struck fear into opposing receivers with his aggressive style of play.  He was an intimidating force and known for his devastating hits. Lane was more than just a big hitter, however.  He utilized his excellent speed and coverage skills to account for 68 career interceptions.

 

12) Alan Page, Vikings/Bears

In 1971, Page was the first defensive player to be named MVP.  He was also the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1971 and 1973. In his fifteen-year career, Page accounted for 148.5 sacks and 22 fumble recoveries.  Page’s reliability and consistently high level of play were something his teammates and coaches could always count on.

 

11) Bob Lilly, Dallas Cowboys

Durability was a trademark of Bob Lilly, as he played in 196 consecutive games.  His strength in the middle of the Cowboy’s defense forced the opposition to utilize more than one blocker to slow him down.  The extra attention an offense paid to Lilly also made things much easier for his teammates. Lilly went to the Pro Bowl eleven times and was a nine-time All-Pro.  His greatest honors include being affectionately known as “Mr. Cowboy” and the fact that he was the first Cowboy player to be inducted into the Dallas Cowboy Ring of Honor.

 

10) Merlin Olsen, Los Angeles Rams

Merlin Olsen played in the NFL for 15 years, from 1962 – 1976.  Olsen was a Pro Bowl selection 14 times and was a ten-time All-Pro. Olsen was also named league MVP in 1974, as he won the Bert Bell Award for the NFL’s best player.

 

9) Mel Blount, Pittsburgh Steelers

Blount had 57 career interceptions, which ranked 11th all-time in league history.  He was a five-time Pro Bowler and six-time All-Pro selection.  Blount also helped the Steelers to four Super Bowl championships. Mel Blount was named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1975 and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1989. In my opinion, Mel Blount was the greatest corner in NFL history, he was so good they changed the rules because of him.

 

8) Gino Marchetti, Baltimore Colts

In 1969, Gino Marchetti was selected by the Pro Football Hall of Fame as the greatest defensive end in pro football history.  He played in the NFL for 15 outstanding seasons, spanning 1952-1966. Gino was selected to the Pro Bowl eleven times and was an All-Pro ten times. Marchetti helped lead the Colts to two NFL titles.  He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1972.

 

7) Dick Butkus, Chicago Bears

Butkus was one of the most feared players in NFL history. Butkus was also an eight-time All-Pro selection. Injuries cut his career short, after nine incredible years. Check out the top sports betting sites for betting on Football!

 

6) Mean Joe Green, Pittsburgh Steelers

Greene was selected to ten Pro Bowls and received All-Pro honors eight times.  He was also named NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1972 and 1974. Green was quite simply the greatest defensive tackle in NFL history.

 

5) Ronnie Lott, 49ers/Raiders/Jets/Chiefs

Lott early in his career as an outstanding Cornerback and later on made the switch to safety and became if not the greatest safety of all-time at the very worst he is in the top 3.

 

4) Reggie White, Eagles/Packers/Panthers

Reggie White was credited with 198.5 sacks, second all-time to Bruce Smith.  White also was twice named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year. Known for his tenacious pass rush from the defensive end position, Reggie White earned Pro Bowl and All-Pro honors in 13 out of his 15 NFL seasons. If the Packers had not signed White you could make a very strong case that QB Brett Favre never wins a Super Bowl.

3) Ray Lewis, Baltimore Ravens

Lewis was the leader of the Ravens defense for over 15 years and during that time led the Ravens to two Super Bowl championships.

 

2) Deacon Jones, Los Angeles Rams/Chargers

Deacon Jones was one of the first defensive ends to perfect the art of rushing and sacking a quarterback.  Jones used his excellent speed and powerful first step to victimize opposing tackles.  He collected 179.5 sacks over his career, which was third all time. Of course, sack record was not an “official” stat at the time Jones played, so those stats were taken from unofficial counts by the teams he played for. An eight-time Pro Bowl and All-Pro selection, I would categorize Deacon Jones as the NFL’s first great pass rushing defensive end, and the best that ever rushed the passer.  Jones was also named the NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 1967 and 1968.

 

1) Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants

Taylor revolutionized the position of outside linebacker in the NFL. He was drafted by the Giants in 1981 and he immediately had an impact, leading the Giants to the playoffs in his rookie season.

 

Thanks for reading The Top-20 Defensive Players in NFL History! We hope you enjoyed what we put together here!

Billboard Left
Billboard Left
Read Also
Esteban de Jesus, Roberto Duran y AIDS (1972-89)
Many of us dream of celebrity sports fame, but only cruel individuals ...
SI Sportsbook Promo
Every NFL team’s best player not in the Pro Football Hall of Fame- NFC East
The Pro Football Hall of Fame houses the greatest players in NFL ...
Top 100 remaining 2021 NFL free agents after Day 1
This is the most up-to-date list of available NFL free agents following ...
Predicting the next five Pro Football Hall of Fame classes
Induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is ...
Ranking the top 200 players in the NFL ahead of the 2021 season
This list isn’t based solely on performances from the 2020 NFL season. ...
Top 100 NFL free agents entering the 2021 offseason
Below is a list of the top 100 free agents available this ...
Notable Pro Football Senior Committee Hall of Fame candidates for 2020
The Pro Football Hall of fame recently announced that it could induct ...
Active NFL players in 2019 who will make the Hall of Fame- AFC North
I tried to include as many players worthy of consideration for the ...
Active NFL players in 2019 who will make the Hall of Fame- NFC East
I tried to include as many players worthy of consideration for the ...
Sportsbook of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Latest News
Boxing Beterbiev vs Yarde: Odds, Tips and Predictions 01/28/23
🥊 Boxing Match: Beterbiev vs Yarde 📅 Date: January 28 ...
6 Takeaways as Trayce Jackson Davis leads the Hoosiers to a fourth straight win
Indiana won its fourth consecutive game with a ...
NHL Red Wings vs Canadiens: Odds, Tips, and Predictions 01/26/23
📅 Date: Thursday, January, 26 🕚 Game Time: ...
Our Latest YouTube Videos
Video: NFL🏈 Predictions Show: Conference Championship Game previews
NFL Predictions Show: Conference Championship Game previews
Video: Bengals Weekly Show W/Joe Kelly: Bengals/Bills Preview with Guest Tony Da Tiger
Bengals Weekly Show W/Joe Kelly: Bengals/Bills Preview with Guest Tony Da Tiger
Video: NFL🏈 Predictions Show: Giants vs Eagles, will the Giants pull the upset?
NFL Predictions Show: Giants vs Eagles, will the Giants pull the upset?
Betting Tips
Sportsbook of the month
SI Sportsbook - Get your Free Bet now! Get your Free Bet now!
Top Betting Sites
Top Betting Bonuses
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Review
97/100
DraftKings
DraftKings
DraftKings Review
96/100
FanDuel
FanDuel
FanDuel Review
94/100
PointsBet
PointsBet
PointsBet Review
94/100
BetMGM
BetMGM
BetMGM Review
93/100
SI Sportsbook
SI Sportsbook Bonus
BET $20 GET $200 IN FREE BETS
T&Cs apply
9.7/10
First deposit only | 21+ & located in VA | Promo code as seen| A qualifying bet is $20 or more | Min odds of +120 or more | Free Bet Tokens credited after bet is settled and expire after 7 days | Free Bet stakes not included in winnings | Please Gamble Responsibly - Gambling Problem? VA: CALL 1-888-532-3500 | Full T&C apply
DraftKings
DraftKings Bonus
20% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.6/10
FanDuel
FanDuel Bonus
Bet $5, Get $150 in Bonus Bets
T&Cs apply
9.4/10
BetMGM
BetMGM Bonus
100% up to $1000
T&Cs apply
9.3/10
BetRivers.com
BetRivers.com Bonus
100% up to $500
T&Cs apply
9.2/10
Our Team
Mike GoodpasterAuthor IconJosh SchwartzSamuel TeetsMark Lewis
+8
Mike Goodpaster
Mike Goodpaster
Chief Editor
Author Icon
Christopher Carlson
Content Writer
Josh Schwartz
Josh Schwartz
Editor
Samuel Teets
Samuel Teets
US Sports Veteran
Mark Lewis
Mark Lewis
Editor
Simon Briffa
Simon Briffa
Sports Editor
Chris Benedict
Chris Benedict
Editor
Author Icon
Malik Zorrok
Author
Author Icon
Daniel Kornhauser
Author
John Raspanti
John Raspanti
Author
Author Icon
Buddy Gibbs
Author
Brian Coburn
Brian Coburn
Author
Peter Bonahoom
Peter Bonahoom
Author
Find out what the legends have to say about sports this week....

If you enjoy hearing from the legends of pro sports, then be sure to tune into “The Grueling Truth” sports shows, “Where the legends speak”

Contact us: [email protected]

Players must be 21 years of age or older or reach the minimum age for gambling in their respective state and located in jurisdictions where online gambling is legal. Please play responsibly. Bet with your head, not over it. If you or someone you know has a gambling problem, and wants help, call or visit: (a) the Council on Compulsive Gambling of New Jersey at 1-800-Gambler or www.800gambler.org; or (b) Gamblers Anonymous at 855-2-CALL-GA or www.gamblersanonymous.org.

This site is using Cloudflare and adheres to the Google Safe Browsing Program. We adapted Google's Privacy Guidelines to keep your data safe at all times.

sdfgfdgcsdfgfdgcww
Move to Top
Close
Stake.us Exclusive Bonus
5% Rakeback
Promo Code
Copy
Visit Site
T&Cs apply, 21+
Payment Methods
Bitcoin
Litecoin
Ethereum
Dogecoin
Highlights
  • Social casino loved by Drake!
  • Play Plinko, Hilo, Crash and more!
  • Get Stake Cash bonuses every day!
Stake Originals
Dice
Crash
Plinko
Mines
×
Your Bonus Code:
The bonus offer of was already opened in an additional window. If not, you can open it also by clicking the following link:
Visit Site