On any NFL greatest players list, QBs dominate. I thought it just that a list be generated to focus on all the other positions, and seeing my viewing experience began, in earnest, in 1975, I thought I'd make that the start of the timeline, given I saw these players live. It was very difficult to whittle it down to 10 players, so additions are welcome.
1 Lawrence Taylor
Nobody I can think of changed the game defensively the way Taylor did. Unblockable for much of his career, offenses had to account for him on every play, it was either that, or risk losing your QB. Many teams just started running all their plays away from Taylor - Ned964
Best defensive player ever besides maybe Mean Joe Greene - 2storm
My old friend, who helped me with this list, wanted Taylor number 1. that's what kind of impression he left us with. My friend also wanted Joe Green in the original ten. He also wanted Bruce Smith in there, who I see someone has added. - Ned964
Taylor really is one of the most dominant NFL players of all time. - PackFan2005
2 Jerry Rice
Jerry Lee Rice is a former American football wide receiver who played 20 seasons in the National Football League, primarily with the San Francisco 49ers.
In the end, there is just no denying the monster numbers he put up. Fluid with incredible concentration, who practiced as hard as he played. The model of the Niners practice warriors of the 80's and early 90's - Ned964
3 Barry Sanders
Barry Sanders is a former American football running back who spent his entire professional career with the Detroit Lions of the National Football League.
An amazing 10 year career that saw him often times single handedly beat defenses geared solely to stop him. I don't think there's any point of anyone trying to emulate him, he was truly one of a kind. - Ned964
4 Anthony Munoz
Controlled and dominated every player lined up against him. Gave the Bengals the incredible luxury of taking the left side for granted. A great run blocker as well. - Ned964
5 Reggie White
If it wasn't for his years spent in the WFL, hed be higher on this list. Could dominate a game from the DE position. Powerful, with plenty of set up moves to make him nearly unblockable. - Ned964
6 Randy Moss
Randy Gene Moss is a former American football wide receiver who played 14 seasons in the National Football League.
Electric! Blazing speed with great hands. Had defenses devised specifically just to take him away. - Ned964
7 Emmitt Smith
Emmitt James Smith III is a former college and professional American football running back who became the National Football League's all-time leading rusher during his fifteen seasons in the league during the 1990s and 2000s.
He played behind some of the greatest offensive lines ever, but his numbers alone make his iinclusion a must. Great balance and strength - Ned964
8 Walter Payton
Walter Jerry Payton was an American football running back who played for the Chicago Bears of the National Football League for thirteen seasons.
Payton is the best. By far my favorite player ever - 2storm
Sweetness. Smooth, strong and agile, the complete package. RIP Walter - Ned964
9 Sean Taylor
It's true he didn't play long, we tragically lost this once in a lifetime player. But I've never seen anyone hit offensive players that hard, not Ronnie Lott, not Jack Tatum, no one. I love defenders, and this guy showed me what a supreme athlete with heart could do. RIP Sean - Ned964
10 Bruce Smith
11 LaDainian Tomlinson
My boy LT - 2storm
12 J.J. Watt
Justin James "J. J." Watt is an American football defensive end for the Houston Texans of the National Football League. He was drafted by the Texans with the 11th pick in the first round of the 2011 NFL Draft, and played college football at Wisconsin. ...read more.
If this cat can stay off the I.R., he's gonna break the all time sack record. - Ned964
13 Deion Sanders
Deion Luywnn Sanders, Sr. is a former American football and former American baseball player, who works as an analyst for CBS Sports and the NFL Network.
14 Jim Brown
James Nathaniel Brown is a former professional American football player and actor. He was a running back for the Cleveland Browns of the National Football League from 1957 through 1965.
Would definitely be included, but he was long since retired in 1975... - Ned964
15 Odell Beckham Jr.
Odell Beckham Jr. is a NFL wide receiver, playing for the New York Giants. He is most-known for making an incredible one-handed catch against the Dallas Cowboys. Beckham was drafted 12th overall to the New York Giants.
16 Antonio Brown
Antonio Brown is an American football wide receiver and punt returner for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League. He is often regarded as one of the best Wide Receivers in today's game in the NFL. Brown was selected 195th overall to the Pittsburgh Steelers in the sixth round.
17 Joe Greene
Charles Edward Greene, better known as "Mean" Joe Greene, is a former American football defensive tackle who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers of the National Football League from 1969 to 1981.
18 Jonathan Ogden
19 Charles Woodson
Charles Woodson is a former American football cornerback and free safety. He played college football for Michigan, where he led the Wolverines to a national championship in 1997. Woodson, a "two-way player" who played both offense and defense, won the Heisman Trophy in the same year, becoming the second, ...read more.
20 Ray Lewis
Raymond Anthony Lewis Jr. is a former American football linebacker who played his entire 17-year career for the Baltimore Ravens of the National Football League.
21 Adrian Peterson
Adrian Lewis Peterson is an American football running back who originally played for the Minnesota Vikings and currently plays for the Arizona Cardinals of the National Football League.
22 Warren Sapp
23 Frank Gore
Franklin Delano Gore is an American football running back for the Indianapolis Colts of the National Football League.
24 Terrell Owens
Terrell Eldorado Owens is an American football wide receiver who played for the Seattle Seahawks, San Francisco 49ers, and Philadelphia Eagles of the National Football League.
25 Clay Matthews
William Clay Matthews III is an American football outside linebacker for the Green Bay Packers of the National Football League.
26 Fred Taylor
27 Tony Gonzalez
Anthony David Gonzalez is a former American football tight end who played 17 seasons in the National Football League.
28 Ronnie Lott
29 Derrick Thomas
30 Shannon Sharpe
31 Larry Allen
32 Antonio Gates
Antonio Ethan Gates, Jr. is an American football tight end for the San Diego Chargers of the National Football League.
33 Joey Galloway
34 Mark May
35 Orlando Pace
Orlando Lamar Pace is a former American college and professional football player who was an offensive tackle in the National Football League for thirteen seasons.
36 Marvin Harrison
37 Eric Dickerson
Eric Demetric Dickerson is a former college and professional American football player who was a running back in the National Football League for eleven seasons during the 1980s and 1990s.
38 Randy White
39 Charles Haley
40 Ty Law