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22 Greatest Defensive Gamers in NFL Historical past

22 Greatest Defensive Gamers in NFL Historical past


NFL video games are sometimes gained with coronary heart and grit much more than with ability. Huge receivers and quarterbacks get the entire highlights on sports activities tv and social media, however defensive gamers ship the stops that win championships. Even because the NFL has given extra leeway to the offensive gamers, a number of the greatest defenders of the twenty first century carved out their place and in addition seem on this record of the 22 greatest defensive gamers in NFL historical past.

1. Lawrence Taylor – Linebacker

Lawrence Taylor
Picture Credit score: shgmom56 – flickr, CC BY-SA 2.0/Wiki Commons.

Lawrence Taylor introduced defensive play to a completely new degree with the New York Giants within the Eighties. The final defender to win NFL MVP, Taylor bodily overpowered total offensive traces and quarterbacks. He’s one of many solely non-quarterbacks in soccer lore one may argue is much more influential and devastating than his offensive counterparts.

2. Reggie White – Defensive Finish

American Football Holding, Sports, Super Bowl
Picture Credit score: Gorodenkoff/Shutterstock.

Arguing for Reggie White or Lawrence Taylor as one of the best defensive participant ever is usually a dialogue round peak versus longevity, however those that desire the Minister of Protection say he had each. White displayed lethal defensive prowess for the Eagles and Packers throughout 14 seasons with the groups. His 1998 marketing campaign with 16 sacks at 37 years previous is likely one of the true oddities in sports activities.

3. D. Butkus – Linebacker

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Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons, By photograph by Alan Gentle, CC BY 2.0.

Butkus pioneered the kind of domineering linebacker play that stars resembling Luke Kuechly and Bobby Wagner aspired to within the 2010s. Butkus made positive that when he hit an opponent, they’d be feeling the aftereffects the subsequent morning or two. The Bears have by no means possessed a participant of Butkus’ caliber ever once more.

4. Deion Sanders – Cornerback

Deion Sanders 2008
Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons.

Coach Prime will get loads of headlines with the Colorado Buffaloes proper now, bringing swag and substance to a poor faculty soccer program. In his taking part in days he flashed unreal athleticism and ball expertise to close down total receiving corps and scare quarterbacks from ever throwing his approach. Sanders is likely one of the solely secondary defensive gamers to win Defensive Participant of the Yr.

5. Deacon Jones – Defensive Finish

Christopher Knight and Deacon Jones in Brady Bunch promo photo ABC
Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons, ABC.

Deacon Jones has been forgotten by casuals with the passing of time, however soccer purists won’t ever let his reminiscence fade. Jones remodeled the aim of a defensive finish on the soccer area, attacking the quarterback with unequalled pace. Jones famously laid declare to the time period “sack” that now’s an important statistical measure for a defensive lineman.

6. Bruce Smith – Defensive Finish

1280px Bruce Smith at Naval Station Norfolk 2009 10 13 1 MC3 John Suits USN
Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons, MC3 John Fits, USN.

Bruce Smith is soccer’s model of Tim Duncan. Whereas by no means a league chief in sacks, Smith racked up 200 over his profession to ascertain himself as one of the best tackler of quarterbacks ever. His tenacity laid the inspiration for the Buffalo Payments within the Nineties, however he by no means gained a Tremendous Bowl.

7. Ray Lewis – Linebacker

Ray Lewis
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Ray Lewis is usually seen because the final remnant of a misplaced period of physicality in soccer. He hounded the center of the sphere and hit gamers with a vengeance in his eyes, main the league in mixed and solo tackles in three totally different seasons. Lewis’s hassle off the sphere generally overshadows his greatness on the gridiron.

8. Joe Greene – Defensive Sort out

Steelers, Football, NFL
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Joe Greene was the primary defensive participant marketed as a famous person for the lots to understand. Greene carried his obligations with the Pittsburgh Steelers with honor and coronary heart, main the crew to 4 Tremendous Bowls and making them one of the best crew defensive unit ever, coined “The Metal Curtain.”

9. Rod Woodson – Cornerback and Security

Rod Woodson Jan 2019
Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons.

Rod Woodson turned over offensive gamers with impeccable ease. Historians who cite Woodson as one of the best nook ever will level out his report variety of pick-sixes and fumble recoveries. Woodson’s versatility was displayed when he succeeded as a security late in his profession with the Baltimore Ravens.

10. Ed Reed – Security

Ed Reed 2008 08 13
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Ed Reed could be the smartest security in NFL historical past. Peyton Manning famously tells of the instances Reed’s mind pressured him into throws that he wouldn’t usually make. His mixture of expertise within the backfield helped Ray Lewis shine up entrance on the road and propelled the Baltimore Ravens to playoff success.

11. Ronnie Lott – Security

2560px Ronnie Lott along with a HUGE fan
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The San Francisco 49ers are extra recognized for his or her offensive legends resembling Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Ronnie Lott exhibited parallel prowess on the opposite finish of the sphere, offering much-needed protection on a crew that wanted stops to again up their scoring drives. Lott gained 4 Tremendous Bowls with the Niners.

12. Aaron Donald – Defensive Sort out

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Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons.

Aaron Donald swallows up total NFL offenses in an period that many followers say is smooth. Donald maintains a bodily and calculated method to protection, and the Rams have been benefiting from it for a decade. Donald has gained three Defensive Participant of the Yr awards and a Tremendous Bowl.

13. J.J. Watt – Defensive Finish

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J.J. Watt’s prime was quick in Houston, however he holds maybe one of the best peak in NFL historical past. Watt had a minimum of 17 sacks in three of 4 seasons from 2012 to 2015. Accidents prevented him from additional high-level play within the again finish of his profession, however everybody knew what he was able to.

14. Jack Lambert – Linebacker

Jack Lambert footballer 2
Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons.

Jack Lambert was simply as vital to the Pittsburgh Steelers as Terry Bradshaw and Joe Greene throughout their 4 Tremendous Bowls within the Nineteen Seventies. His mixture of expertise and management made the Steelers essentially the most formidable defensive crew within the historical past of soccer throughout a complete decade.

15. Emlen Tunnell – Security

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Picture Credit score: Shutterstock.

Emlen Tunnell helped set up the backfield defensive positions as a number of the most vital within the sport. Tunnell intercepted passes at a daunting charge and made it almost unattainable to cross the ball throughout an already run-heavy period.

16. Derrick Thomas – Linebacker and Defensive Finish

KC Chiefs Football
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Derrick Thomas is likely one of the most underrated brilliant spots for the Kansas Metropolis Chiefs, a crew that didn’t expertise lots of success earlier than Patrick Mahomes was drafted. Thomas had seven seasons with a minimum of 10 sacks. His profession and life had been tragically minimize quick as a result of aftermath of a automobile accident he was part of in 2000.

17. Charles Woodson – Cornerback and Security

Charles Woodson San Francisco vs Green Bay 2012
Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons.

Charles Woodson was essentially the most versatile cornerback and security of the 2000s. He knew the place the ball was going to be earlier than anybody else, and his management had a dramatic affect on each the Packers and the Raiders.

18. Mike Singletary – Linebacker

1280px Mike Singletary · DF SD 01 08105
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Mike Singletary was the scariest a part of the 1985 Chicago Bears protection that led the franchise to their solely Tremendous Bowl title. Singletary’s prominence in the midst of the sphere was instrumental in clogging up the opposing crew’s offense and made the Bears completely unbeatable.

19. Bob Lilly – Defensive Sort out

Bob lilly signed
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Bob Lilly cemented himself as Mr. Cowboy after main the Dallas protection for the whole thing of the Nineteen Sixties. Lilly launched fashionable defensive methods to his sport that others wouldn’t undertake for one more couple of a long time. He gained a Tremendous Bowl in 1972.

20. Michael Strahan – Defensive Finish

Strahan 2021 FOX
Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons.

Earlier than he grew to become essentially the most distinguished retired soccer participant in media, Michael Strahan sacked the quarterback in addition to anybody in NFL historical past. Strahan’s report sack whole in 2001 nonetheless stands at this time, though T.J. Watt tied the 22.5 sacks Strahan recorded.

21. Paul Krause – Security

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Paul Krause was the primary NFL security to indicate the world how very important turnovers within the backfield could be to the gamers up entrance. When Krause intercepted passes for the Vikings, it helped the Purple Individuals Eaters defensive lineman eat up the inside.

22. Bobby Wagner – Linebacker

Bobby Wagner 2015
Picture Credit score: Wiki Commons.

Bobby Wagner was one of the best participant on the Legion of Growth protection that stored Seattle on the prime of the NFL for a lot of the mid-2010s. Wagner always leads the NFL in tackles and nonetheless mans the center of the Seahawks’ protection proper now.



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