The 50 Greatest Defensive Linemen in NFL History (Revised and Updated, 2012 edition)
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
Part of a series. Previous post is here.
50. Fred Dryer Rams '69-81
-Hey, it's Hunter. And we're off.
49. Ed Jones '74-89 Cowboys
-Long, productive career.
48. Leroy Selmon '76-84 Bucs
-4 good years, always a productive player.
47. Bryant Young 49ers '94-07
-Long productive career with an all time great 1996 and a title.
46. Ray Childress '85-96 Oilers
-5 good seasons.
45. Lyle Alzado '71-85 Broncos/Raiders/Browns
-Long, productive career and a title.
44. Rosey Grier Giants/Rams '55-66
-5 good years, mostly productive in his 20s.
43. Claude Humphrey '68-81 Falcons
-5 good years and a couple of them big.
42. Kevin Williams 03- Vikings
-6 good seasons.
41. Bob Baumhower '77-86 Dolphins
5 good years and the third best season currently on the board.
40. Richard Seymour '01- Patriots/Raiders
-6 good seasons, the Raider resurgence over the past couple years gets him to the list.
39. Neil Smith Chiefs '88-00
-6 good seasons, his '95 is the second best season on the board so far.
38. Steve McMichael Bears '80-94
-5 strong years, really solid back to back in the mid 80s.
37. Art Donovan '50-61 Colts
-Half dozen good seasons.
36. Bill Willis '46-53 Browns
-Short but dominant career.
35. Len Ford '48-58 Browns
-5 big years right in the middle of his career.
34. Jerry Mays '61-70 Chiefs
-8 good seasons, just good throughout his whole career.
33. Richard Dent '83-97 Bears
-His 17 sack '85 is the new best season on the board.
32. John Randle '90-03 Vikings
-7 good seasons.
31. Ron Mcdole '61-78 Bills/Redskins
-8 good seasons, if Randle's a HOF'er so is McDole.
30. Cortez Kennedy '90-00 Seahawks
-Seven strong years, a little top end notch above Randle/McDole
29. Deacon Jones '61-74 Rams
-6 good seasons in the heart of his career.
28. Howie Long '81-93 Raiders
-Half dozen good seasons and the title.
27. LC Greenwood '69-81 Steelers
-6 good seasons and the titles.
26. Charles Haley '86-99 49ers/Cowboys
-5 good years, a ton of titles, and 1990, the new second best season on the board.
The top 25 Defensive Linemen Ever.
25. Julius Peppers '02- Panthers
-7 good years and a high top end; Peppers is a Hall of Famer.
24. Jack Youngblood '71-84 Rams
-7 good years, high top end.
23. Jason Taylor '97-11 Dolphins
-7 powerful years and a really high top end, his '00 is behind only Dent so far.
22. Dan Hampton '79-90 Bears
-7 good years, high top end, title. He and Taylor are comparable, but Hampton had the title.
21. Alex Karras '58-70 Lions
-8 good consistent seasons.
20. Buck Buchanan '63-75 Chiefs
-8 good seasons, I like him behind Doleman.
19. Warren Sapp '95-07 Bucs
-7 good years, high top end, 2002 is the second best year on the board, and the title.
18. Jim Marshall '60-79 Vikings
-6 good years and then a ton, just a ton of additional productivity. Absolutely should be in the HOF.
17. Henry Jordan '57-69 Packers
-Half dozen good years, high top end, titles.
16. Chris Doleman '85-99 Vikings
-9 good years and a high top end, I'm good with this order for Taylor/Hampton/Doleman.
15. Willie Davis '58-69 Packers
-7 good years, titles, high top end.
14. Bob Lilly Cowboys '61-74
-10 good years, title.
13. Ernie Stautner '50-63 Steelers
-10 good seasons and a high top end.
12. Doug Atkins Bears '53-69
-9 good years, high top end. Long, productive career.
11. Leo Nomellini '50-63 49ers
-9 good years, high top end - the best season for a defensive lineman on the board, Nomellini's '51.
The 10 Best Defensive Linemen Ever.
10. Michael Strahan '93-07 Giants
-9 good years, high top end, title.
9. Randy White '75-88 Cowboys
-9 good years, high top end, title.
8. Gino Marchetti '52-66 Colts
-9 good years, high top end, titles.
7. Carl Eller '64-79 Vikings
-10 good years, unbelievably dominant from 69-71, his '69 is best season on board.
6. Andy Robustelli Giants/Rams '51-64
-11 good years, high top end, Eller/Robustelli are a step above the prior linemen.
5. Merlin Olsen Rams '62-76
-13 good seasons, 200+ games and almost all of them productive; didn't quite have the top end of the other guys in this section.
4. Alan Page Vikings/Bears '67-81
-He's Eller but better, 10 good years, crazy dominant at his peak, his '69 is best season on the board.
3. Bruce Smith Bills '85-03
-13 good years, long, productive career, and had a little higher top end than Olsen.
2. Joe Greene Steelers '69-81
-11 good years, all the titles, high top end, productive from day one right up until he turned 35.
1. Reggie White '85-00 Eagles/Packers
-13 good to dominant years and the title. He's Bruce Smith but better. I don't think there's much question about his being the best ever.