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Every time the NFL season comes, the talk about the best NFL defensive ends becomes a stir. The ranking of the best defensive tackles in NFL will change if the players do not keep their performance. Therefore, discussions about the best defensive players in NFL never end.

Scott Fujita will share with you the list of the best defensive player in NFL. The ranking is valid until now. Let’s read on to discover!

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Best NFL defensive players 

Top 30 Best Defensive Players in NFL

Below are the top 30 best defensive linemen in NFL history. 

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1. Aaron Donald

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Aaron Donald 

Team: Los Angeles Rams.

Aaron Donald  (Los Angeles Rams) is the best defensive lineman in NFL history. With his brilliant play, he has won numerous awards and honors as an NFL defensive player.

Aaron Donald has had three-time AP Defensive Player of the Year. He was “selected” seven-time Pro Bowl and led the league in sacks once.

He has 93 quarterback hits, 59 tackles for loss, and 46.5 sacks across games. Aaron Donald is the best defensive end in NFL. 

Let’s see what the best defensive player – Donald performs via this video.

2. Cameron Heyward

best defensive players in nfl

Cameron Heyward 

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers.

In the 2020 season, Cameron Heyward had only four sacks.

However, there is no sign of a decline in his performance in the NFL seasons. Even the great combination of Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt also wouldn’t be able to do anything without Heyward’s presence on the defensive line.

Cameron Heyward had 45 quarterback hurries and 19 quarterback hits.

3. DeForest Buckner

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DeForest Buckner 

Team: Indianapolis Colts.

The defensive tackle had 26 quarterback hits, 9.5 sacks, 32 stops, and 30 quarterback hurries.

The above numbers prove that DeForest Buckner is capable and plays very well as a defensive tackle. Buckner signed a contract extension (four years) with the Indianapolis Colts. The contract is worth USD 84 million.

4. Chris Jones

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Chris Jones 

Team: Kansas City Chiefs.

Chris Jones had an outstanding performance at Super Bowl LIV in 2019. However, he did not receive the MVP award.

He’s back in the 2020 season with a more vital fighting spirit. He brought many tough top-shelf quarterbacks. 

He lost only two in total pressures in the last season. They are Aaron Donald of the Los Angeles Rams and Stephon Tuitt of Pittsburgh.

5. Stephon Tuitt

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Stephon Tuitt 

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers.

Stephon Tuitt did an excellent job on the defensive end. He has 11 sacks, 45 QB pressures, and 14 quarterback hits.

Thanks to these achievements, Stephon Tuitt became the best disruptor in all phases.

6. Jonathan Allen

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Jonathan Allen – Washington Football Team  

Team: Washington Football Team.

Jonathan Allen had just two sacks in this ranking. However, sacks do not tell the entire story.

Allen is an excellent run defender with the robust strength to break up any double-team. Jonathan Allen had 34 QB hurries, and 14 QB hits on 510 pass-rushing snaps.

7. Leonard Williams

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Leonard Williams 

Team: New York Giants.

Leonard Austin Williams is one of the best defensive linemen in NFL history. In the last season, Williams had 11.5 sacks, 31 quarterback hurries, and 30 quarterback hits.

Leonard Williams can produce very well, thanks in part to the arrangement of Patrick Graham.  Graham is the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator.

8. Vita Vea

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Vita Vea 

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Vita Vea suffered some severe injuries in Week 5. He returned to the NFC Championship Game. The opponent is the Packers. 

Vita Vea had 23 pressures on just 189 pass-rushing snaps in the last season.

9. Grady Jarrett

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Grady Jarrett 

Team: Atlanta Falcons.

Grady Jarrett was once unappreciated for her small appearance. He’s 6’0″ tall and weighs 305 pounds, but he took advantage of his speed to make it difficult for blockers at both three-technique and nose tackle.

Grady Jarrett had 17 quarterback hits, four sacks, and 35 quarterback hurries.

10. Kenny Clark

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Kenny Clark 

Team: Green Bay Packers.

Kenny Clark has a couple of serious injuries that have affected his performance in the 2020 season. Despite that, the NFL defensive player still has two sacks, 23 quarterback hurries, and six quarterback hits on 424 snaps.

He has excellent stopping power as an NFL defensive player in NFL history.

11. Akiem Hicks

Team: Chicago Bears.

12. Daron Payne

Team: Washington Football Team.

13. Fletcher Cox

Team: Philadelphia Eagles.

14. Shelby Harris

Team: Denver Broncos.

15. Poona Ford

Team: Seattle Seahawks.

16. Jeffery Simmons

Team: Tennessee Titans.

17. Ndamukong Suh

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

18. Quinnen Williams

Team: New York Jets.

19. Tyson Alualu

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers.

20. Mario Edwards Jr.

Team: Chicago Bears.

21. Sheldon Richardson

Team: Minnesota Vikings.

22. Dalvin Tomlinson

Team: Minnesota Vikings.

23. David Onyemata

Team: New Orleans Saints.

24. Calais Campbell

Team: Baltimore Ravens.

25. William Gholston

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

26. Ed Oliver

Team: Buffalo Bills.

27. Eddie Goldman

Team: Chicago Bears.

28. Dexter Lawrence

Team: New York Giants.

29. Folorunso Fatukasi

Team: New York Jets.

30. Maurice Hurst

Team: San Francisco 49ers.

Top 30 Best Edge Rusher in NFL History

1. Shaquil Barrett

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

2. T.J. Watt

Team: Pittsburgh Steelers.

3. Myles Garrett

Team: Cleveland Browns.

4. Za’Darius Smith

Team: Green Bay Packers.

5. Cameron Jordan

Team: New Orleans Saints.

6. Carl Lawson

Team: New York Jets.

7. Emmanuel Ogbah

Team: Miami Dolphins.

8. Chandler Jones

Team: Arizona Cardinals, Jones ranks NFL-first in sacks since his rookie season of 2012.

9. Nick Bosa

Team: San Francisco 49ers.

10. Chase Young

Team: Washington Football Team.

11. Joey Bosa

Team: Los Angeles Chargers.

12. Montez Sweat

Team: Washington Football Team.

13. Khalil Mack

Team: Chicago Bears.

14. Romeo Okwara

Team: Detroit Lions.

15. Bradley Chubb

Team: Denver Broncos.

16. Trey Hendrickson

Team: Cincinnati Bengals.

17. DeMarcus Lawrence

Team: Dallas Cowboys.

18. Von Miller

Team: Denver Broncos.

19. Brian Burns

Team: Carolina Panthers.

20. Jason Pierre-Paul

Team: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

21. Bud Dupree

Team: Tennessee Titans.

22. Leonard Floyd

Team: Los Angeles Rams.

23. Brandon Graham

Team: Philadelphia Eagles.

24. J.J. Watt

Team: Arizona Cardinals.

25. Matt Judon

Team: New England Patriots.

26. Haason Reddick

Team: Carolina Panthers.

27. Denico Autry

Team: Tennessee Titans.

28. Frank Clark

Team: Kansas City Chiefs.

29. Markus Golden

Team: Arizona Cardinals.

30. Harold Landry III

Team: Tennessee Titans.

Frequently Asked Questions

This section is question collection related to the topic:

1. Does Jonathan Allen play for the Washington Football Team?

Yes. Jonathan Allen is an excellent defensive tackle of the Washington Football Team in the NFL game.

 2. Who are the highest-paid defensive players in NFL history?

T.J. Watt is the highest-paid defensive player in NFL history. T.J. Watt signed a contract worth more than 112 million dollars just before the 2023 season kicked off. Therefore, his annual salary is $28 million. That is the highest salary a defensive player has received to date.

3. Which team does Derwin James JR. play for?

Derwin James JR. is a vital safety for the Los Angeles Chargers of the NFL. 

4. What position does John Johnson III play in?

John Johnson III is a free safety. He plays for the Cleveland Browns team.

5. Who is the No.1 pass rusher in NFL history?

Joey Bosa of the Los Angeles Chargers team is the best pass rusher in the NFL. 

Final Thoughts – Best NFL Defensive Player

Any defensive player must always try and perform well so as not to fall off this list. Only true warriors can save history. Thank you for reading!

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