A great defensive lineman is considered to be such a player who is capable of changing the complexion of a particular game. They can do that if the opposing quarterback gets taken down. What is more, their physical dominance at the pitch is notable, and the whole team relies on them. In this article, we will review some of the players who showed what professionalism means during the years.
6. Jason Taylor
The sack master of the Dolphins', a total of 139.5, won him the seventh place in the NFL for all times. In addition to that, he is considered to be a fantastic pass rusher, as well. During his exceptional career, he had eight interceptions and forty-six fumbles. Thus, he was awarded Defensive Lineman of the year twice, and the Football Hall of Fame exposed his profile. Some of the prizes Taylor won are:
- NFL Defensive Player of the Year for 2006
- Pro Bowler six times
- All-Pro four times
5. Doug Atkins
Atkins was a real giant on the “battlefield” with his 6-foot-8 height and 260 pounds weight. For seventeen seasons, he took advantage of his swiftness, wild personality, and colossal size. These qualities, together with his physical endurance and strength, made him a real champion who dominated opposing offensive linemen. He was named one of the ten best pass rushers in NFL.
Due to his great talent and gifted nature, Atkins achieved the following recognitions:
- In 1954 and 1963 he became an NFL Champion
- He was All-Pro ten times
- He was a Pro Bowler 8 times
- His name was added to the Football Hall of Fame
4. Richard Dent
Dent changed four teams during his career with Chicago Bears, from 1983 to 19993. Then he became a player of the San Francisco 49ers in 1994. Next, in 1996, he moved with the Indianapolis Colts. Finally, he was one of the best players in Philadelphia Eagles in 1997.
The outstanding period of Dent's professional career was in 1985 with the Chicago Bears. According to the NHL critics, he was the best one at all times. During that season, Dent had 17 sacks. That was a real success in American football. Another moment to remember was his stellar performance in Super Bowl XX. He performed two forced fumbles and 1.5 sacks. For that, he and only two other players have ever received a Super Bowl MVP.
Some other of his deserved prizes and recognitions are:
- He is listed ninth on the all-time sacks list with 137.5 career sacks at The Hall of Fame
- He became a 4-time All-Pro
- He was awarded a Pro Bowler four times
- He was elected an XXIX (49ers) Champion
3. Warren Sapp
Sapp is considered to be one of the NFL's greatest trash talkers of all time. His 100 sacks, including the playoffs, were achieved thanks to the excellent qualities he owns. In addition to his size, he is mighty, fast, and athletic. This controversial defensive tackle was one of the league’s all-time great trash talkers, and his on-field play backed up every bit of it.
The legendaries Sapp compiled 573 career tackles which makes him an exceptional run stuffer, too. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers (from 1995 to 2003) and the Oakland Raiders (from 2004 to 2007) were lucky to have such a talent. For twelve years in the NFL, Sapp won several prizes, among which are the following:
- He was a 6-time All-Pro
- He was a 7-time Pro Bowler
- He became a Super Bowl XXXVII (Buccaneers) champion
- In 1999 he won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year award
- He was listed in the Pro Football Hall of Fame
2. Julius Peppers
Peppers has a 16-year-old career history. It started in 2002 with the Carolina Panthers until 2009. Then, he played with the Chicago Bears for three years. After that, the Green Bay Packers counted on him for two more years. And finally, from 2017 to 2018, he went back to where he started. He played again for the Carolina Panthers.
A strange thing is how a former college basketball player can become one of the best defensive linemen in NFL history. With his 159.5 career sacks, Peppers was at the fourth place in the list of all times. What is more, he scored six touchdowns, 52 forced fumbles, 11 interceptions. These numbers show how remarkable his performance has been. His induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame is a logical result.
The list with the prizes he got is long, that's why we will list some of the most significant ones:
- 6-time All-Pro
- 9-time Pro Bowler
- 2002 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
- 2004 NFC Defensive Player of the Year
- 2004 NFL Defensive Lineman of the Year
1. Joe Greene
F1or twelve years “Mean” Joe Greene was the first line of defense for the Pittsburgh Steelers. The defense was popular with the nickname “Steel Curtain”, so you can imagine how powerful it was. For that reason, four Super Bowl titles were awarded to it. Greene's abilities were a masterpiece both the run and the pass. He proves many times he was always ready to fight for the team with all means possible.
During his active career, Greene played in 181 out of a possible 190 games. He recorded 16 fumble recoveries and 78.5 sacks. However, he had his wrong side – he often lost his temper on the pitch. He was considered one of the most aggressive NFL players of all time. Perhaps, this disadvantage actually played an essential role in his development. Here are some of his awards:
- He was a Super Bowl IX, X, XIII, XIV champion
- In 1969 he was awarded NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year
- 8-time All-Pro and 10-time Pro Bowler
- In 1972 and 1974 he became NFL Defensive Player of the Year
- His name is listed at the Pro Football Hall of Fame