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.  

The 50 Greatest Offensive Linemen in NFL History (Revised and Updated, 2012 edition)

Anthony Munoz2.jpg

Part of a series.  Previous entry is here.

50. Mel Hein '31-45 Giants
-Hard to analyze individual linemen, hard to analyze anyone from the war era, but we'll consider Hein first anyway.

49. Stan Jones '54-66 Bears
-3 good years, solid until position switch.

48. Dwight Stephenson '80-87 Dolphins
-Can't rank him higher than this given the short career; he turned 30 and was done.

47. Dermontti Dawson '88-00 Steelers
-Top end not as good as Stephenson's, but much more career.

46. Bob Kuechenberg '70-83 Dolphins
-3 years you'd call good, but productive throughout career.

45. Joe Jacoby '81-93 Redskins
-Most of his productive career done after '86

44. Joe Delamieullure '73-85 Bills/Browns
-4 good years spread throughout his career.

43. Rayfield Wright '67-79 Cowboys
-5 good seasons, Wright and this next guy should have played together.

42. Larry Allen '94-07 Cowboys
-6 good years, not much after he turned 30

41. Ralph Neely Cowboys '65-77
-4 good seasons and no bad ones, Neely was valuable throughout his career.  I'm not sure why Wright's in the Hall and not Neely.  

40. Lou Groza '46-67 Browns
-Not only best kicker of the era, part of that dominant Browns line.

39. Charlie Cowan '61-75 Rams
-3 good seasons and then a long career of solid play. 

38. Leon Gray '73-83 Patriots/Oilers
-A helluva peak; his '78 is the best year on the board so far.  

37. Frank Gatski Browns '46-57
-Browns linemen.  They all make it. 

36. Dick Schafrath '59-71 Browns
-Even Browns linemen in the 60s make this list. 

35. Alan Faneca Steelers '98-10
-7 good years, long consistent career

34. Steve Wisniewski Raiders '89-01
-7 good seasons

33. Will Shields '93-06 Chiefs
-Was always solid - and then from 31-35 had his five best seasons and retired.  As good as any of the guards in this run.  

32. Dan Dierdorf Cardinals '71-83
-Solid, hearty 6 year peak.  I'm going to leave him ahead of Faneca, but they maybe should be flipped. 

31. Mike Munchak Oilers '82-93
-7 good thumping seasons; there's no good reason to put Munchak and Dierdorf in the Hall and leave out Wisniewski/Faneca (they might not leave Faneca out, I'm just guessing)

30. Lomas Brown '85-02 Lions
-As good as the next guy and for the same reason.

29. Jackie Slater Rams '76-95
-Here for longevity, he was still productive at 38.

28. Mike Kenn '78-94 Falcons
-Just like the previous two guys.  

27. Matt Light '01- Patriots
Light's a hall of famer; his '07 is the best season on the board so far. 

26. Bob Brown Eagles/Rams/Raiders '64-73
-Half dozen good years. 

The 25 best offensive linemen of all time. 

25. Tom Mack '66-78 Rams
-A half dozen good years inside a productive career.  That's apparently the profile of a HOF guard who isn't Steve Wisniewski.

24. Russ Washington '68-82 Chargers
-Half dozen good seasons, his best coming in his 30s.  

23. Mick Tingelhoff Vikings '62-78
-Half dozen good seasons and then value well into his 30s

22. Gene Hickerson Browns '58-73
-All Browns linemen go to heaven.

21. Jim Tyrer '61-74 Chiefs
-7 good years right in the heart of his career; he fits right in with this coming group of guys all considered HOF candidates.

20. Willie Roaf '93-05 Saints/Chiefs
-Half dozen good years and a great late career finishing kick.

19. Jonathan Ogden Ravens '96-07
-7 good seasons.  We've hit a new level I think once we get to the upper half.

18. Walter Jones '97-08 Seahawks 
-7 good seasons; he and Ogden had the same career.  

17. Mike Webster Steelers '74-90
-6 good seasons and titles, long, productive career.

16. Orlando Pace '97-09 Rams
Pace's top end is the best on the board; his '00 is the best season and his 3 year stretch from '99-01 is easily the best on the board so far.  

15. Richmond Webb Dolphins '90-02
-8 good seasons right out of the gate; I do not understand why this isn't a HOF'er

14. Randall McDaniel Vikings '88-01
-9 good seasons, he's a step up from that run of guards earlier.  

13. Ron Mix Chargers '60-71
-9 good seasons.

12. Larry Little '67-80 Dolphins
-7 punishing years and titles.  

11. Gary Zimmerman Vikings/Broncos '86-97
-8 good seasons and titles; from Tyrer all the way through here I wouldn't object to any ordering, Pace was best top end but fewest good years, all the other guys just had long, consistent, productive careers. 

The 10 Best Offensive Linemen of all Time.

10. Jim Parker '57-67 Colts
-Parker was a better Larry Little.

 9. John Hannah '73-85 Patriots
-7 good seasons. 

8. Bruce Matthews '83-01 Oilers
9 good seasons, multiple positions, long, productive career.  

7. Ron Yary '68-82 Vikings
-7 good to great seasons, his top end is as good as Pace's.

6. Jim Ringo '53-67 Packers/Eagles
-8 good seasons and titles.

5. Forrest Gregg Packers '56-71
-9 good seasons right in the heart of his career and titles, not quite Shell's top end. 

4. Art Shell Raiders '68-82
-8 good seasons and titles.  His '77 is the second best season on the board.  

3. Jim Otto Raiders '60-74
-9 good seasons, the best center who ever lived.  

2. Gene Upshaw '67-81 Raiders
-9 good seasons and titles.  

1. Anthony Munoz '80-92 Bengals
-10 good seasons, many of them great.  He's the best lineman ever.  

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