(Photo by Walter Iooss Jr./ Sports Illustrated via Getty Images)
On the heels of Aaron Donald getting a massive new deal with the Rams earlier this week, CBS Sports came out with their top 10 NFL defensive players of all time, and Donald came in at No. 5
“Donald has 98 sacks in his career, the most for a defensive tackle after his first eight seasons in NFL history (and fourth-most by any player),” Jeff Kerr of CBS Sports wrote. “His 150 tackles for loss and 226 quarterback hits in his first eight seasons are second-most by a player in NFL history (and most for a defensive tackle). He also has seven first-team All-Pro selections in eight seasons and is the only player in the NFL with 400 pressures over the last five years.
A top-five finisher in NFL Defensive Player of the Year voting seven consecutive seasons, Donald also already has a Super Bowl championship — along with 6.5 sacks and 17 quarterback hits in 10 postseason games.”
Reggie White was ranked as the greatest defensive player of all time, followed by Lawrence Taylor, Ray Lewis and Deion Sanders. The only former Steelers player in the top 10 was Rod Woodson, who came in at No. 9.
“Not only was Woodson one of the best cornerbacks of his era, but he was one of the best safeties of his time when he transitioned to the position full time in 1999," Kerr wrote. "Woodson earned 11 Pro Bowl appearances and six first-team All-Pro selections in his Hall of Fame career, the final one coming at age 37 when he had eight interceptions as a safety (which also led the league),” Kerr said. “Woodson finished his career with 1,158 tackles 71 interceptions and 13.5 sacks in 17 seasons. He also led the league in interceptions twice and was the 1993 Defensive Player of the Year. Woodson holds the league record for interceptions returned for touchdowns (12) and fumble recoveries (32). He has the second-most interception return yards in NFL history (1,483) and is third all-time in interceptions. He was also a star on the 2000 Baltimore Ravens defense, a unit that gave up the fewest points in a 16-game season in NFL history (and won the Super Bowl).”
So, you have to be wondering where's Joe Greene? Yeah, Kerr somehow left him off the list. Which is pretty mind-boggling. Don't get me wrong, Woodson was a phenomenal defensive back, but Greene is not only the greatest defensive player in franchise history, he's the best ever to don the black and gold. Also, you can even make a valid argument that Mel Blount was a better cornerback than Woodson.
Greene was named first-team All-Pro five times and was a 10-time Pro Bowler. He also won NFL Defensive Player of the Year twice (1972, 1974), and was a four-time Super Bowl champion. Greene was named to the NFL's 75th and 100th Anniversary all-time teams.
Ranking the top 10 defensive players to ever play the game is not an easy task, and I thought Kerr's list was pretty good for the most part, but Greene was a big omission. I would have took Woodson or Dick Butkus out, and had Greene in the top 5.