Top 30 Best Defensive Players In NFL [Latest Updates]

In the National Football League (NFL), a defensive player plays a crucial role in a team’s success. The best defensive linemen are extremely powerful at cutting passes and blocking enemy attack plans. Therefore, they are very sought after. If you’re curious who the best NFL defensive players are, read on with Langley Rams.

Top 30 Of The Best Defensive Players In NFL 2021

The NFL defensive player rankings 2021 below include 30 players whose play style and impact on any NFL game is powerful. To find out who they are, read on below.

#1. Aaron Donald

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Aaron Donald

  • Position: DT.
  • Franchise: Los Angeles Rams.

Aaron Donald is one of the top defensive players nfl at the moment. In just three of the past four seasons, the player has accumulated a total of 100 pressures. The number 80 pressure signals a successful year for an edge rusher. You’ll love my list of best quarterbacks of all time.

Donald’s primary position is inside the heart (double-team) to fend off any attack that the Rams face.

His 2020 season stats are impressive, with 15 quarterback hits, 73 hurries, and 15 sacks.

#2. Cameron Heyward

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Cameron Heyward

  • Position: DE.
  • Franchise: Pittsburgh Steelers.

In 2020, Cameron Heyward made only four sacks in total. But this number does not represent his full potential. The presence of this defensive end across the line allowed Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt to show their full potential.

This player has scored 45 quarterback hurries and 19 hits. It will be challenging to stop Heyward, no matter where he stands, situational end, or nose tackle.

#3. DeForest Buckner

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DeForest Buckner

  • Position: DE.
  • Franchise: Indianapolis Colts.

DeForest Buckner is a versatile player who can play both the run stopper and interior pass rusher positions. The player from the San Francisco trade hit a total of 26 QB hits, 30 hurries, 9.5 sacks, and 32 stops.

The Colts certainly wanted to keep this guy. They signed a four-year, $84 million contract with Buckner.

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#4. Chris Jones

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Chris Jones

  • Position: DT.
  • Franchise: Kansas City Chiefs.

Chris Jones’ performance in Super Bowl LIV was so outstanding that he deserves the MVP title. The form of this defensive tackle hasn’t waned over the seasons after bringing disruption to the top four in any space he was assigned to.

His total pressure is 70, second only to Aaron Donald and Stephon Tuitt.

#5. Stephon Tuitt

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Stephon Tuitt

  • Position: DE.
  • Franchise: Pittsburgh Steelers.

Stephone Tuitt is at the peak of his career as the best defense in the NFL with 11 stellar sacks, 14 quarterback hits, and 45 pressures. At all times, he has the ability to harass the opposing team effectively.

The Steelers’ defense is extremely solid with the presence of Bud Dupree and T.J. Watt as the edge bookends and Cameron Heyward.

#6. Jonathan Allen

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Jonathan Allen

  • Position: DT.
  • Franchise: Washington Football Team.

Allen only has two sacks, but as always, the sacks don’t tell the whole story.

He was a superior running defender with the power to disrupt any doubles team, and he amassed 14 hits and 34 hurries in 510 quick passes.

#7. Leonard Williams

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Leonard Williams

  • Position: DE.
  • Franchise: New York Giants.

Last season, Leonard Williams had a career-high 11.5 sacks, along with 31 tackles and 30 midfield hits.

Patrick Graham, a defensive coordinator for the New York Giants, lays out Williams’ layout strategy across the line. In subsequent seasons, this defensive end’s performance could go even further.

#8. Vita Vea

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Vita Vea

  • Position: NT.
  • Franchise: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Vea cracked his ankle during Week 5 against the Bears and didn’t return until the NFC Championship Match with the Packers.

With Vea on the field, the Bucs only allowed 2.8 yards per taking – when Vea was out, that shot up to 4.0 meters per bearing. He also had a total of 23 pressures with just 189 hasty tackles last season.

#9. Grady Jarrett

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Grady Jarrett

  • Position: DE.
  • Franchise: Atlanta Falcons.

Grady Jarrett weighs only 305-pounds and is 6 feet tall, but don’t underestimate his size. This DE’s extraordinary leverage and quickness can always make it difficult for the opponent’s blocks in the nose split and three techniques. Sometimes, the opponent can’t even keep up with his figure when passing.

Last season, Jarrett scored 17 QB hits and 35 hurries, which came with four sacks.

#10. Kenny Clark

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Kenny Clark

  • Position: NT.
  • Franchise: Green Bay Packers.

Kenny Clark has picked up a couple of serious injuries that have affected his form for the 2020 season. Despite that, the NFL defender still has two pitches, 23 midfield saves, and six Midfielder tackles in 424 shots.

He has stellar saves as an NFL defensive player in NFL history.

#11. Akiem Hicks

Franchise: Chicago Bears.

#12. Daron Payne

Franchise: Washington Football Team.

13. Fletcher Cox

Franchise: Philadelphia Eagles.

#14. Shelby Harris

Franchise: Denver Broncos.

#15. Poona Ford

Franchise: Seattle Seahawks.

#16. Jeffery Simmons

Franchise: Tennessee Titans.

#17. Ndamukong Suh

Franchise: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

#18. Quinnen Williams

Franchise: New York Jets.

#19. Tyson Alualu

Franchise: Pittsburgh Steelers.

#20. Mario Edwards Jr.

Franchise: Chicago Bears.

#21. Sheldon Richardson

Franchise: Minnesota Vikings.

#22. Dalvin Tomlinson

Franchise: Minnesota Vikings.

#23. David Onyemata

Franchise: New Orleans Saints.

#24. Calais Campbell

Franchise: Baltimore Ravens.

#25. William Gholston

Franchise: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

#26. Ed Oliver

Franchise: Buffalo Bills.

#27. Eddie Goldman

Franchise: Chicago Bears.

#28. Dexter Lawrence

Franchise: New York Giants.

#29. Folorunso Fatukasi

Franchise: New York Jets.

#30. Maurice Hurst

Franchise: San Francisco 49ers.

Top 30 Of The Best Edge Rushers In NFL 2021

The pass rusher is also an important position in the NFL defensive line. For 2021, here are the 30 most prominent faces in their roles.

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Shaquil Barrett

#1. Shaquil Barrett

Franchise: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

#2. T.J. Watt

Franchise: Pittsburgh Steelers.

#3. Myles Garrett

Franchise: Cleveland Browns.

#4. Za’Darius Smith

Franchise: Green Bay Packers.

#5. Cameron Jordan

Franchise: New Orleans Saints.

#6. Carl Lawson

Franchise: New York Jets.

#7. Emmanuel Ogbah

Franchise: Miami Dolphins.

#8. Chandler Jones

Franchise: Arizona Cardinals.

#9. Nick Bosa

Franchise: San Francisco 49ers.

#10. Chase Young

Franchise: Washington Football Team

#11. Joey Bosa

Franchise: Los Angeles Chargers.

#12. Montez Sweat

Franchise: Washington Football Team.

#13. Khalil Mack

Franchise: Chicago Bears.

#14. Romeo Okwara

Franchise: Detroit Lions.

#15. Bradley Chubb

Franchise: Denver Broncos.

#16. Trey Hendrickson

Franchise: Cincinnati Bengals.

#17. DeMarcus Lawrence

Franchise: Dallas Cowboys.

#18. Von Miller

Franchise: Denver Broncos.

#19. Brian Burns

Franchise: Carolina Panthers.

#20. Jason Pierre-Paul

Franchise: Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

#21. Bud Dupree

Franchise: Tennessee Titans.

#22. Leonard Floyd

Franchise: Los Angeles Rams.

#23. Brandon Graham

Franchise: Philadelphia Eagles.

#24. J.J. Watt

Franchise: Arizona Cardinals.

#25. Matt Judon

Franchise: New England Patriots.

#26. Haason Reddick

Franchise: Carolina Panthers.

#27. Denico Autry

Franchise: Tennessee Titans.

#28. Frank Clark

Franchise: Kansas City Chiefs.

#29. Markus Golden

Franchise: Arizona Cardinals.

#30. Harold Landry III

Franchise: Tennessee Titans.

Frequently Asked Questions

If you still have any questions regarding the best defensive players in NFL, read on.

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Lawrence Taylor

Who Are The Best Defensive Players In NFL History?

“The best NFL defensive player” is a difficult title to choose as it changes over the years. However, considering their track record over the many NFL seasons, we’ve rounded up the top 10 as follows:

  • Lawrence Taylor, Outside Linebacker. leading the New York Giants to the playoffs in his rookie season
  • Reggie White, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle.
  • Bob Lilly, Defensive End/Defensive Tackle.
  • Ronnie Lott, Cornerback/Safety.
  • Deacon Jones, Defensive End.
  • Dick Butkus, Middle Linebacker.
  • Mean Joe Greene, Defensive Tackle.
  • Rod Woodson, Cornerback/Safety.
  • Ed Reed, Safety.
  • Deion Sanders, Cornerback.

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Who Is The Top Of The Highest Paid Defensive Players In League History?

The highest-paid defensive player in NFL history is T.J. Watt.

Before the 2021 season kicked off, Watt signed a contract worth more than $112 million. It brings in an annual salary of $28 million for him. This salary is a desirable figure for any current defensive linemen.

Who Has The Most Sacks In League History?

Bruce Smith is the player with the most sacks in league history, with 200 sacks in 19 seasons. He was the defensive end of the Buffalo Bills.

What Is The Position Of John Johnson III?

John Johnson III is a free safety of the Cleveland Browns team.

Final Thoughts

And that’s the list of the best NFL defensive players 2021 that we’ve curated.

In the future, this list may change or add new faces. But at the moment, the players mentioned above are possessing the ability to defend and defend firmly to contribute to the victory for their team.

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