Top 10 NFL Defensive Ends of All Time

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A breakdown and list of the greatest NFL defensive ends of all time as a top 10 list. Who will round out the list at the number one spot?

The Defensive end is one of the more important positions in the NFL, and has seen some of the NFL’s greatest athletes. This list will rank the top 10 to ever play the game with respect to their eras.

10. Michael Strahan

Michael Strahan was a dominating pass rusher that mostly used power as his main tool to beat offensive tackles during his career. Strahan totaled 141.5 career sacks which ranks sixth all time.

Strahan was also great against the run and setting the edge as he was one of the strongest defensive ends to ever play the game. He was selected as first team all pro four times during his career, and won NFL Defensive Player of the Year in 2001.

That same season he set the single season sack record with 22.5 and would also lead the league in sacks two seasons later. Strahan also helped the New York Giants pull off one of the greatest upsets in league history in Super Bowl XLII.

9. Willie Davis

Willie Davis was another one of the great defenders on one of the greatest dynasties the NFL has ever seen in the 1960s Green Bay Packers. Davis totaled an unofficial total of 99.5 career sacks with five unofficial double digit sack seasons.

Davis was selected as a first team all pro five times during his career, including four straight from 1964-1967. Davis was a five time NFL champion and a two time Super Bowl champion.

Davis was also selected as a member of the NFL 1960s All Decade team, and once finished top 5 in MVP voting.

8. Jack Youngblood

Jack Youngblood might have been one of the toughest players to ever play in the history of the NFL as he once played through a broken leg. Youngblood totaled 151.5 unofficial career sacks which would rank sixth all time on the unofficial list.

Youngblood was a five time first team all pro and and twice led the league in sacks in 1974 and 1979. He helped the Rams reach the Super Bowl in 1979 before they fell short to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

7. JJ Watt

JJ Watt totaled 114.5 career sacks, which ranks 24th all time, however his ability against the running game is why he ranks this high. Longevity is the only thing keeping him from being higher on this list.

Watt won Defensive Player of the Year three times during his career, which ties him with Lawrence Taylor and Aaron Donald for winning the award the most times in a career.

Watt was selected as a first team all pro five times during his career, and twice led the league in sacks, once having over 20 sacks in a season. He would also finish runner up in MVP voting in 2014.

6. Doug Atkins

Doug Atkins totaled 94.5 unofficial career sacks, but that doesn’t include the first seven years of his career where there wasn’t footage of every game.

Atkins was a man amongst boys during his era and dominated in every aspect of the game terrorizing offenses for almost two decades. His longevity is why he ranks this high as well as being one of the first players to ever specialize pass rush moves.

Atkins was second team all pro six times during his career, and added a first team all pro in 1963.

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