There is no end to sports debates and the NFL is no exception.
On a slow news day, media outlets can generate much interest by throwing out a “greatest of all time” discussion.
That ploy works because determining a clear-cut answer would be difficult.
All the players involved have their own legion of supporters who build their case by dishing out facts and numbers.
Pro Football Focus achieved that discussion by asking who the best NFL defender of all time is.
Who's the 🐐? pic.twitter.com/xAmzyEfbtU
— PFF (@PFF) June 23, 2022
PFF identified eight choices, seven of which have retired from the game.
Three-time Defensive Player of the Year Aaron Donald is the only active player on the list but his Super Bowl title and seven First-Team All-Pro selections make him a worthy candidate.
Meanwhile, Reggie White terrorized countless quarterbacks and finished his 15-year NFL career behind Bruce Smith on the all-time career sacks list.
Lawrence Taylor is one of only two defensive players to win MVP honors and revolutionized the game with his dominance.
Dick Butkus became an inspiration for generations of linebackers that came after him and won Defensive Player of the Year honors even if the Chicago Bears won just one game in 1969.
Ray Lewis was the heart and soul of the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense that allowed the fewest points in a 16-game regular season.
Making A Case For The Defensive Backs
Deion Sanders is the quintessential shutdown cornerback who helped bring a Super Bowl win to two NFL teams.
Meanwhile, Ronnie Lott was a menace in the open field with his hard hits that helped him become an eight-time First-Team All-Pro.
Finally, there was a period in time wherein Darrelle Revis locked down opposing wide receivers, giving rise to the unwanted place known as “Revis Island.”
Therefore, it’s tough to settle this discussion because everyone became the best at what they did.