The 50 Greatest Defensive Backs in NFL History (Revised and Updated, 2012 edition)

Thursday, March 1, 2012

50. Steve Atwater 89-99 Broncos
And we're off.  

49. Leroy Butler '90-01 Packers

-4 good seasons and the title.

48. Bill Thompson '69-81 Broncos
-4 good years and lots of productivity around them.

47. Gary Fencik '76-87  Bears
-4 good seasons, productive years surrounding them, and the title.

46. Sam Madison 97-08 Dolphins
4 good years and productive almost his whole career

45. Troy Vincent 92-06 Eagles/Dolphins
-Productive in his 20s and 4 good seasons in his 30s.  

44. Ken Riley '69-83 Bengals
-A long productive, consistent career.

43. Cliff Harris '70-9 Cowboys
-5 good years and the title.

42. Dick LeBeau '59-72 Lions
-4 good years and lots of productivity surrounding it. 

41. Eric Allen 88-01 Eagles/Raiders/Saints
-5 good years and productive into his mid 30s.

40. Eddie Meador 59-70 Rams
-5 good years and a lot of additional productivity

39. Larry Wilson 60-72 Cardinals
-5 good years and additional productivity

38. Ty Law 95-09 Patriots
-4 good years, long and productive career, titles.

37. Emmitt Thomas 66-78 Chiefs
-Half dozen good seasons.

36. Jack Butler 51-9 Steelers
-Half dozen good seasons, his 10 pick '57 is current best season on the board.

35. Jimmy Patton 55-66 Giants
-5 good to great years and his 11 pick '58 is the new best season on the board. Really comparable to Butler who just got in the HOF.

34. Richie Petitbon 59-72 Bears
-5 good years and lots of additional productivity

33. Troy Polamalu Steelers 03-
-5 good to great years, titles.  

32. Cornell Green 62-74 Cowboys
-Half dozen good years, productive into his 30s.

31. Darren Sharper '97-10 Packers/Vikings
-Half dozen good years and a lot of productivity surrounding them. 

30. Roger Wehrli 69-82 Cardinals
-7 good years.  

29. Lemar Parrish Bengals/Redskins 70-82
-7 good years and additional productivity

28. Erich Barnes 58-71 Browns/Giants
-5 good years and his '61 is new best season. 

27. Jack Christiansen 51-8 Lions
-6 good to great years and always productive

26. Charles Woodson Raiders/Packers 98-
-7 good years, in his early 20s and mid 30s, and the title.

The Top 25 Defensive Backs of all Time.

25. Aeneas Williams '91-04 Cardinals
-7 good to great seasons. 

24. Donnie Shell '74-87 Steelers
-5 good years right in the middle of his career, productive into his 30s and the titles.  

23. Jake Scott 70-8 Dolphins/Redskins
-5 good years, titles, and productive every year of his career.  

22. Bobby Boyd 60-8 Colts
-Half dozen good years, always productive, his '68 is the best season on the board. 

21. Darrell Green Redskins '83-02
-5 good years and a long productive career and a title. 

20. Mel Blount Steelers 70-83
-6 good years, productive every year, titles.  

19. Ken Houston 67-80 Redskins/Oilers
-8 good years, solidly in the top 25.

18. Champ Bailey Broncos/Redskins 99-
-8 good years and still productive at 33.

17. Ed Reed Ravens '02-
-8 good years, a super '08.  Still productive at 33. 

16. Ronde Barber Bucs '97- 
-7 good years and the title, productive until 35.  

15. Jimmy Johnson 49ers 61-76
-8 good seasons and lots of additional productivity

14. Mike Haynes Patriots/Raiders '76-89
-8 good seasons and the title. 

13. Mel Renfro Cowboys '64-77
-7 good years, lots of additional productivity and the title. 

12. Johnny Robinson Chiefs '60-71
-8 good seasons, always productive, a title and a good top end.  Should be in the HOF.

11. Herb Adderly 61-72 Packers
-6 good years, titles, productive his whole career, his '62 is the best team on the board. 

10. Yale Lary Lions '52-64
-10 good years, productive every year of his career. 

9. Lem Barney Lions '67-77
-8 good to great years.

8. Emlen Tunnell 48-61 Giants
-9 good years and a high top end.

7. Willie Brown Raiders '63-78
-7 good years, high top end, long productive career and the title.

6 Paul Krause '64-79 Vikings/Redskins
-10 good years, a high top end and a long career

5. Night Train Lane Cardinals/Lions 52-65
-8 good years and a high top end. 

4. Willie Wood Packers 60-71
-9 good years, productive every year after his rookie season, titles.

3. Ronnie Lott 49ers '81-94
-9 good years, productive every year, titles. 

2. Deion Sanders '89-05 Falcons/Cowboys
-8 good seasons, high top end, titles. 

1. Rod Woodson '87-03 Steelers/Ravens
-10 good years, high top end


DennisVee said...

Brian Dawkins probably deserves a listing... maybe Louis Wright (shutdown CB extraordinaire), Pat Fischer, Kenny Easley (despite shortened career), Deron Cherry...

Hard-hitters John Lynch and Joey Browner are probably in the 50-60 range, just on the outside looking in....

Raiders fans would probably scream for Lester Hayes to be on here.. I could see him somewhere in the 40-50 area, but no higher.

Some of the player listed spent time with other teams:
Steve Atwater was a Jet for a year.
Sam Madison ended his playing days with the Giants.
Ty Law spent time with the Jets, Chiefs and Broncos.
Petitbon ended his career with the Redskins.
Sharper was a Saint.
Aeneas Williams spent his last years with the Rams.
Adderly was a Cowboy too.
Night Train began with the Rams.
Old Man Willie was a young Bronco.
Tunnell finished with Lombardi's Packers.
Lott was a Raider and a Jet.
Deion had brief stints with 49ers, Redskins and Ravens.
Woodson spent time with 49ers and Raiders.

And Darrell Green actually won two SBs with the Redskins ('87 and '91 seasons).

DennisVee said...

I apologize, Jim... I just looked at the 50 QBs list and saw your disclaimer about only listing the teams with which players spent significant and productive time... So please disregard my above listing of additional teams. I did the same thing with the OL list, so please ignore that one as well....

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