ICYMI: My Big NFL 5: Defensive Linemen

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The defensive line is a really interesting position. You have responsibilities like stopping the run, getting to the quarterback, and/or opening up holes for your linebackers to get through so they can get to the quarterback. These men are quick, strong, and have to be smart. Here are the five men that did this best:

 

Apr 22, 2013; Brooklyn, NY, USA; New York Giants former player Michael Strahan attends game two in the first round of the 2013 NBA playoffs between the Brooklyn Nets and the Chicago Bulls at the Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Debby Wong-USA TODAY Sports

5. Michael Strahan (Giants)

Nowadays, he is a big personality on The NFL Today and Live With Kelly and Michael, but before all that, he was one of the all time great defensive ends. His career started off slow, but in 1997, everything turned around. In 2001, he broke the single season record for sacks at 22.5 on the way to a Defensive Player of the Year campaign. He currently owns the Giants franchise record for sacks at 141.5. He also ended his career with 794 tackles.

 

Sep 25, 2011; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings defensive end Jared Allen (69) sacks Detroit Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford (9) for a 7 yard loss in the fourth quarter at the Metrodome. The Lions win 26-23 in overtime. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Kluckhohn-USA TODAY Sports

4. Jared Allen (Chiefs/Vikings)

A guy who seemed to make an immediate impact, Jared Allen is one of the most feared pass rushers in the history of the game. His career started in 2004 with the Chiefs, where he spent four seasons and accumulated 43 sacks during his time. Now he is with the Vikings still making a huge impact. The Vikings superstar is a nightmare for quarterbacks around the league with the ability to get in the backfield and not only sack, but strip the quarterback of the ball. In 2011, he nearly broke Michael Strahan’s single season sack record, coming up 1/2 a sack short. He currently has 117 career sacks, along with 26 forced fumbles, 5 interceptions, and 4 TD.

 

December 9, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tampa Bay Buccaneers former player Warren Sapp is introduced during the 10th anniversary of the 2002 Super Bowl champions during halftime at Raymond James Stadium. The Eagles won 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

 

3. Warren Sapp (Buccaneers/Raiders)

Warren Sapp is one of the greatest defensive tackles ever. In a position not really known for sacks, more for stopping the run, Sapp recorded over 95 career sacks. He was also a solid tackler, recording almost 600 at the defensive tackle position. He was also solid at forcing fumbles, knocking the ball loose 19 times. This year, in his first year of eligibility, Sapp will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

 

July 23, 2012; Bethlehem, PA. USA; A pictures of former Philadelphia Eagles player Reggie White is displayed outside the facility at Lehigh University. Mandatory Credit: Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

2. Reggie White (Eagles/Packers/Panthers)

After a nice college career, Reggie White was signed by the USFL’s Memphis Showboats, where he spent two seasons before the collapse of the USFL. He was signed by the Eagles shortly after the collapse in 1985, and went on to have a Hall of Fame Career. He spent 8 seasons with the Eagles, accumulating 124 sacks, which was more than the number of games he played with them. He went on to spent six seasons with the Packers, picking up another 68.5 sacks, a Super Bowl title, and the 1998 NFL Defensive Player of the year award. He would play for the Panthers for a year until retiring in 2000. Tragically, he died in 2004. He would posthumously inducted to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

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