Green Bay Packers: Top 10 Defensive Linemen of All Time
Next to linebackers, defensive ends and tackles are the most important players on defense in the NFL, whether a team is using a 4-3 or 3-4 formation.
However, in a 3-4 scheme, the nose tackle is often the most essential big guy on the field. B.J. Raji is beginning to fill that role quite nicely for the Pack as they've recently switched their outlook on defense, but he still has some work to do before he becomes one of Titletown's best of all-time.
The defensive line is required to stop the run and rush the passer, and the Green Bay Packers have had no shortage of superstars take on those jobs in their rich history.
Here's a tribute to the great men who have held the line in Titletown through the many years of the franchise's existence.
Sources: Pro-FootballReference.com, Packers Hall of Fame, Wikipedia.org
Special thanks to Dennis Venhuis for contributing ideas and research to this ranking.
Holliday excelled in his rookie season with the Pack in 1998 and played with team for four more seasons. He is currently fifth in the record books with 32 sacks.
The gigantic nose tackle became a fan favorite in Titletown partially because of his size and his "gravedigger" celebration dance. Brown played in 125 games as a Packer, as well as 15 playoff appearances, the second most to Favre's 22.
The Packers picked McCoy in the first round of the 1970 NFL Draft. He led the team in sacks in two of his seven seasons with the team and grabbed his only career interception in 1974.
Dotson played defensive end in Green Bay for six seasons and was a part of the team's two Super Bowl appearances in the late 1990s. His 26 sacks with the Pack are sixth among lineman in the team's record books.
Brown spent his entire eleven year career with the Packers and has played more games than any other defensive lineman in team history. His 25.5 sacks sit in seventh place, just short of Dotson's record.
10. Ron Kostelnik
Ron Kostelnik was the Pack's primary run stopper and fixture at left tackle after replacing the retiring Dave Hanner in 1964.
He played an important role on the team's top defense during the 1960s and was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame in 1989.
While most of his specific stats are hidden in history, Kostelnik did recover seven fumbles during his career.
9. Lionel Aldridge
The late Lionel Aldridge started as a rookie under Vince Lombardi in 1963 and went on to play nine seasons in Titletown, contributing to three consecutive championships in the mid-1960s and earning membership in the Packers Hall of Fame.
Although he was a defensive star in Green Bay, he was traded to San Diego after helping the Pack to victories in the first two Super Bowls.
8. Dave Hanner
Dave Hanner spent his entire 42-year career with the Green Bay Packers, however, he only performed as a defensive tackle for 13 of those many seasons. The rest of the time he served as a scout and a coach.
As a player, Hanner saw the field in 160 games and reached two Pro Bowls.
Even if he wasn't such a durable and effective lineman, I'm sure he still would have been inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame for his other contributions to the franchise.
7. John Martinkovic
Martinkovic was a steady performer for six seasons with the Packers in the 1950s.
Determination was one of his best uncoachable qualities. He took both a blocked punt and a fumble recovery back for scores during his career.
Martinkovic recovered ten fumbles in all, made the Pro Bowl three times, and was later inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.
6. Ezra Johnson
Johnson was picked by the Pack in the first round of the 1977 NFL Draft and, after eleven seasons, retired as the team's all-time sacks leader. However, he is now fifth on the list with 41.5.
In 1978, he recorded 20.5 sacks, including a five-sack outing against the Lions, and made his only Pro Bowl.
In 1983, Johnson brought down the ball carrier 107 times, a Packers record among defensive lineman, and he was later inducted into the team's Hall of Fame.
5. Aaron Kampman
Aaron Kampman spent seven seasons as the Packers' left defensive end after being drafted in 2002, but in his final season, he was converted to linebacker when the team switched to a 3-4 scheme.
Even so, when he departed to Jacksonville in 2010, he sat at fourth all-time among Packers' players in quarterback sacks with 54.
As one of the league's best pass rushers in his prime, Kampman was selected to two consecutive Pro Bowls in 2006 and 2007.
4. Kabeer Gbaja-Biamila
Muhammed-Kabeer Olanrewaju Gbaja-Biamila played nine seasons in Green Bay after his fifth round selection in the 2000 NFL Draft.
Often known for having one of the quickest first steps among defensive lineman, Gbaja-Biamila is now the Packers all-time leader in sacks with 74.5.
KGB recorded 12 sacks in 2002 along with his lone career interception, which he returned 72 yards for a touchdown. In 2003, he was selected to his first and only Pro Bowl.
3. Henry Jordan
Henry Jordan was a rock at the right defensive tackle position for 11 seasons in Titletown and assisted the team to five championships.
Jordan was quick to the quarterback and was skilled at creating pressure in the backfield. His intelligence and durability made him an outstanding leader on what was, perhaps, the Pack's best defensive squad in history.
Jordan was selected to four Pro Bowls and is a member of the Packers Hall of Fame and the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
2. Reggie White
Reginald White, the Minister of Defense, became one of the Packers' best free agent signings and the most recent player to have his number retired at Lambeau Field after six Pro Bowl years in Titletown, where there is also a street named after him.
White led the Pack to two Super Bowl appearances in the late 1990s and is also a member of the decades' All-Pro team.
His accolades as an Eagle are also extravagant, but as a Packer, White was the NFL Defensive Player of the year in 1998, and is currently second in sacks behind KGB with 68.5.
He was inducted into the Packers Hall of Fame for his efforts in turning the franchise around and, more importantly, inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006.
1. Willie Davis
Willie Davis was the anchor of the Packers' defensive line for a decade, with durability that prevented him from missing a single game in his entire career.
After starting his career with the Browns in 1958, Davis was bounced around at multiple positions, including offensive tackle, and he strongly considered giving up. Everything changed when he was traded to the Packers in 1960 and he met the legendary coach, Vince Lombardi.
Davis was moved to defensive end, where his speed, agility, and size transformed him into a prime playmaker. His hard-hitting style made him a machine at forcing the ball loose, and he recovered 21 fumbles, a team record.
Although sacks weren't an official statistic during Davis' days, respected statisticians and Davis himself believe he had over 100 in his career because he averaged in the "teens" each year. Paul Hornung and Davis even claim he had 25 in one season.
Because of his football smarts and dedication to the game, Davis was also a great leader on five championship teams. He also played in five consecutive Pro Bowls and was a lock for the 1960s All Decade Team, the Pro Football Hall of Fame, and No. 1 in this ranking.
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