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Last Night the NFL Network revealed their selections of Defensive Lineman and Linebackers for their NFL 100 Team- they chose 14 Defensive Lineman and 12 Linebackers- I will post today on the Defensive Lineman they selected.

They had 33 finalists for the Defensive Line- players who were all worth consideration who did not make the final cut were- Willie Davis, Carl Eller, Len Ford, Howie Long, Julius Peppers, Andy Robustelli, Michael Strahan, DeMarcus Ware, JJ Watt and Jack Youngblood- all Defensive Ends, – Defensive Tackles not making the 14- Curly Culp, Art Donovan, Cortez Kennedy, Big Daddy Lipscomb, Leo Nomellini, Warren Sapp, Tom Sestak, Ernie Stautner, and Bill Willis.

I think the committee who voted nailed this position pretty well- I don’t know about the Bill Hewett selection but I understand the need to have representation from the early days of the league- you can’t just select players from the more modern era. While all the ones who failed to make the cut were great players I see no one who was left off the final 12 who sticks out as an “I can’t believe he didn’t make the list” like LaDainian Tomlinson was last week at running back.  If I had to select my All-Time Starting Line Up at Defensive Line- my line would be David “Deacon ” Jones and Reggie White at the ends and Mean Joe Greene- [the greatest player in the history of my team- the Pittsburgh Steelers- and Bob Lilly at the tackles.

Defensive ends


Doug Atkins (1953-1969)


1982 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Played in eight Pro Bowls… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1960s… Ringleader of powerful Bears defensive units for 12 seasons… Exceptionally strong, agile, earned legendary acclaim as devastating pass rusher who often leap-frogged blockers to pressure passer… Scrimmage-line regular for then-record 17 seasons, 205 career games… Selected by the Cleveland Browns in 1st round (11th overall) of the 1953 NFL Draft… All-American tackle at Tennessee, 1952… Born May 8, 1930, in Humboldt, TN.

Bill Belichick: His length at 6-foot-8 was a lot in those days, it’s a lot now but it was especially big in those days. He was very athletic. Guys would try to cut block him and he just kind of stepped over them, it wasn’t any problem at all. He was a very good pass rusher, had excellent speed in pursuit.

Bill Hewitt (1932-1939; 1943)


1971 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… First named All-Pro with two teams (1933-1934, 1936 with Bears, 1937 with Eagles)… Super-quick defensive first step, known as “The Offside Kid” for knack of reading snap counts… Fast, elusive, innovative on offense and inventor of many trick plays… Middle man on forward-lateral on Bears‘ game-winning TD in 1933 NFL Championship Game… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1930s… Born October 8, 1909, in Bay City, MI.

Belichick: Bill was a little undersized but fast and tough, kind of like how all those Michigan guys are. He was very quick off the ball, helmet or no helmet, he was a tough football player…Very fast off the edge, he was a defensive end that was not used much in coverage but he was a strong pass rusher and was very willing to take on blockers in the running game.

Deacon Jones (1961-1974)


1980 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Unanimous All-Pro 1st-team honors in five straight seasons, 1965-1969… Played in eight Pro Bowls… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1960s… Among first of fast, tough, mobile defensive linemen… Specialized in QB “sacks,” a term he invented, and known for the “head slap,” which was eventually outlawed… Most dominant member of Rams‘ “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line… Selected in the 14th round (No. 186 overall) of the 1961 NFL Draft… Born December 9, 1938, in Eatonville, FL.

Joe Greene: He wore number 75, that’s kind of why I wore 75. The head slap, rip [move], I borrowed that from Deacon. And that was very important in terms of how I played “rush the passer.”

Gino Marchetti (1952-1964; 1966)


1972 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Two-time NFL Champion… Named top defensive end of NFL’s first 50 years… Selected for then-record 11 straight Pro Bowls, though missed one game because of broken ankle suffered in Colts‘ overtime win in 1958 NFL title game… First team All-Pro seven times, 1957-1962, 1964… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1950s… All-around star defender, best known for vicious pass rushing… Selected by New York Yankees in 2nd round (14th overall) of 1952 NFL Draft… Born January 2, 1926, in Smithers, WV.

Belichick: Gino was tall, 6-foot-4, 6-foot-5, 250 [pounds], ran well, really could dominant the line of scrimmage in both the running game and the passing game…Really a standout player on this Colts defense.

Lee Roy Selmon (1976-1984)


1995 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… 1979 NFL Defensive Player of the Year… Made Pro Bowls in each of final six seasons, 1979-1984… Helped power Buccaneers from 0-14 season as a rookie to No. 1-ranked scoring and total defense in 1979… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1980s… First overall selection by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the 1976 NFL Draft… Unanimous All-American, Lombardi Award (best lineman/LB) and Outland Trophy (best interior lineman) winner at Oklahoma, 1975… Born October 20, 1954, in Eufaula, Oklahoma.

Greene: I recall him at Tampa, they played a three-man front. Lee Roy was, to me, the best “30” (3-4) defensive end of all. He could also do the 4-3.

Bruce Smith (1985-2003)


2009 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… 11-time Pro Bowl selection… Eight-time first-team All-Pro selection, including five straight seasons, 1993-1997… Two-time NFL Defensive Player of Year, 1990, 1996… Helped Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances… Considered one of the most dominant defensive players in NFL history… 200.0 career sacks, NFL’s all-time record (since 1982)… Recorded 10.0 or more sacks in NFL-record 13 seasons… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Teams for 1980s & 1990s. Selected by the Buffalo Bills with No. 1 overall pick in 1985 NFL Draft… Born June 18, 1963, in Norfolk, VA.

Belichick: Bruce Smith was a great edge rusher. Tremendous quickness off the ball. Won a lot with his first step and then, if the tackle was off-balance, then he could power him or come back underneath.

Reggie White (1985-1998; 2000)


2006 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Had 3.0 sacks in Super Bowl XXXI win with Packers vs. Patriots… Two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year… Ranks T-3rd in NFL history with 13 straight Pro Bowls, 1986-1998… Ranks 2nd in NFL (since 1982) with 198.0 career sacks… Posted 12 seasons with 10.0+ sacks, including 1st 9 of career, 1985-1993… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1980s and 1990s… Selected by the Philadelphia Eagles with the No. 4 overall pick in the 1984 Supplemental Draft… Born December 19, 1961, in Chattanooga, TN.

Lawrence Taylor: When I look at the best defensive player that ever played the game, I don’t put myself number one; I’m looking at Reggie White as number one. One thing about Reggie was he was a religious person and I could understand it. And when he lined up against you, everybody’s praying. You praying that he don’t hurt you and he praying that he don’t hurt you. Everybody’s praying.

Ray Lewis: I don’t think people really realized how big Reggie was. When Reggie got up under you, I’ll never forget, my son was watching the Super Bowl and Reggie put his hand and was pushing the guy with one hand. He’s like, ‘how is he doing that?’…Reggie was so dominant.

Belichick: Reggie’s in a class by himself. We recruited him at Cleveland in free agency. Didn’t have much of a chance but he was a special guy, he really was.

Cris Collinsworth: When free agency came around, everybody said that the free agents would only go to L.A. or New York or Miami and he was one of the first ones ever to sign and when he went to Green Bay, it shook up everything. It was stunning.

Defensive tackles


Junious “Buck” Buchanan (1963-1975)


1990 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Super Bowl IV Champion… Led Kansas City Chiefs to two Super Bowl appearances… Played in eight career Pro Bowls (six in AFL, two in NFL)… Four-time AFL 1st-team All-Pro honors, 1966-1969… Known for alarming quickness combined with 6-foot-7, 270-pound frame… Missed only one game in 13 seasons… Excelled at intimidating passer, unofficially batted down 16 passes, 1967… 1st overall pick by Kansas City Chiefs in the 1963 AFL Draft… NAIA All-American at Grambling… Born September 10, 1940, in Gainesville, AL.

Collinsworth: Buck Buchanan is a monster. It was almost impossible to block him in part because of the length.

Joe Greene (1969-1981)


1987 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Four-time Super Bowl Champion… 10-time Pro Bowler… Played in six AFC title games… Two-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year… Four-time 1st-team All-Pro… Became defensive cornerstone of franchise that dominated NFL in 1970s… Exceptional team leader flush with size, speed, quickness, strength, determination… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1970s… Selected by Pittsburgh Steelers in 1st round (4th overall pick) of 1969 NFL Draft… Born September 24, 1946, in Temple, TX.

Lewis: My grandfather used to have me sitting down and understanding that nobody goes into Pittsburgh and wins. Me sitting next to “Mean” Joe Greene, me sitting next to LT, the forefathers of what nastiness means.

Collinsworth: You were one of the nicest guys that nobody ever wanted to play against. You had, obviously, the ability to destroy people straight-ahead but his first-step quickness and ability. You put on some tape of this guy, tackles for losses were just a part of playing Pittsburgh but it was him.

Belichick: We used to say, as great as [Jack] Lambert was, ‘Don’t worry about Lambert. Get Joe and we got to take our chances on Jack.’

Bob Lilly (1961-1974)


1980 Pro Football Hall of Fame… Played in five NFL/NFC title games, two Super Bowls, winning SB VI versus Dolphins… Made 11 Pro Bowls, including 10 straight from 1964-1973 (tied for club record)… Named 1st-team All-Pro eight times, including seven straight seasons, 1964-1970… Moved from DE to DT in 1963, becoming heart of Cowboys “Doomsday Defense”… Known for unusual speed, strength, intelligence, recovery ability. Missed only one game in 14 NFL seasons… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1960s and 1970s… Selected by Cowboys in 1st round (13th overall pick) of 1961 draft, the 1st pick in team history… Born July 26, 1939, in Olney, TX.

Merlin Olsen (1962-1976)


1982 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Became stabilizing leader of Rams‘ famous “Fearsome Foursome” defensive line… Started all 208 regular-seasons games in 15-year career… Named 1st-team All-Pro in five straight seasons, 1966-1970… Earned Rams-record 14 Pro Bowl selections, tied for most in NFL history… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1960s and 1970s… 1962 NFL Rookie of the Year… Selected by the Los Angeles Rams in 1st round (3rd overall pick) of 1962 NFL Draft… Two-time All-American at Utah State, 1960-1961… Outland Trophy winner as best interior lineman, 1961… Born September 15, 1940, in Logan, UT.

Greene: Merlin was a very, very bright guy. I watched him, he played by formations — what are the possibilities — and the position of the fullback or halfback would tell him that.

Alan Page (1967-1981)


1988 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Selected by Bears in 1st round (15th overall pick) of 1967 draft… Extremely fast, strong with cat-like reflexes. Did not miss game in 15-seasons, playing in all 218 regular-season games… Played in 4 Super Bowls with Vikings… One of only 2 defensive players ever to win NFL MVP award, 1971… Posted 23 career fumble recoveries, 28 blocked kicks… 6-time 1st-team All-Pro. Elected to 9 straight Pro Bowls, 1968-1976. Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1970s… Won two NCAA titles at Notre Dame, 1964, 1966… Born August 7, 1945, in Canton, OH.

Belichick: Unblockable, a little bit like Randle. Super quick and a little bit longer. I mean, he was unblockable.

John Randle (1990-2003)


2010 Pro Football Hall of Fame Inductee… Earned seven Pro Bowl selections… Named first-team All-Pro in six straight seasons, 1993-1998… Recorded 137.5 career sacks, T-10th in NFL (since 1982)… Posted nine career 10-sack seasons, including eight consecutive from 1992-1999, 2nd-most in NFL (since 1982)… Had career-best and NFL-leading 15.5 sacks in 1997… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1990s… Originally went undrafted, signed by Vikings as undrafted free agent after being undersized, entering league under 250 pounds… Born December 12, 1967, in Mumford, TX.

Lewis: His quickness and that first step, I would’ve adored to play behind that first step. I don’t know if you could name another person that plays like John Randle.

Collinsworth: The Tasmanian devil, he was. It was never, never stopped. Never.

Belichick: Randle had a great first step as an inside rusher, which made him even more dangerous because he could go inside or outside of the guard or run through the guard.

Randy White (1975-1988)


Helped Cowboys to Super Bowl XII win versus Broncos, winning Super Bowl Co-MVP… Played in three Super Bowls and six NFC title games… Made nine consecutive Pro Bowls, 1977-1985… Played in 209 games, missing only one game in 14 seasons… Seven-time 1st-team All-Pro… Named to NFL’s All-Decade Team for 1980s… After two seasons at LB, moved to DT in 1977 breakout season… Selected by the Dallas Cowboys in the 1st round (2nd overall pick) of 1975 NFL Draft… Two-time All-American at Maryland, 1973-1974, winning Lombardi Award (best lineman/LB) & Outland Trophy (best interior lineman), 1974… Born January 15, 1953, in Pittsburgh, PA.

Belichick: How would you like to have Bob Lilly and then when he retires follow it with Randy White? That’s a pretty good group?




    • They didn’t keep sack records until well into Jones career- who knows how many he had- it is probably the record. That head slap…..

  1. He played only 8 seasons in the relative obscurity of the AFL, but only a handful of defensive tackles inspired as much fear in the hearts of offensive lineman on gameday as Ernie “The Big Cat” Ladd – San Diego Chargers 1961-65

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