The Fierce Five: NFL’s Top 5 Defensive Linemen

A good defensive line can change the tempo of a football game. When a team controls the trenches, they will control the entire game. Defensive lines are made up of 3 or 4 of the biggest, strongest and meanest players on each football team. We’re going to look at the 5 best players on the defensive line.


J.J. Watt, Houston Texans

Hands down the best defensive player in the entire NFL. Watt is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and an MVP runner up. Watt dominates a game like no other. Sacks, tackles and pass deflections; J.J. controls just about every aspect of the game.


Aaron Donald, Los Angeles Rams

Aaron Donald is a second-year defensive tackle. At just 24 years old, Donald is already dominating the league. With double digit sacks from the tackle position, he shows uncanny ability to break double teams and hit the quarterback. Though Donald has shown the ability to hit the quarterback, his true skill comes from clogging up the middle of the field and stuffing running backs.


Khalil Mack, Raiders

A converted outside linebacker, Mack is now one of the most dominant defensive ends in all of football. He is strong enough to shed the blocking of the offensive line, and fast and agile enough to cover tight ends and stuff outside runs. Mack is the NFL sacks leader, and is top-5 for total tackles from the defensive line.


Muhammad Wilkerson, New York Jets

Muhammad Wilkerson is as close to J.J. Watt as one can get. A multi-tool skillset; Wilkerson can rush the quarterback, stuff the run and take on double teams. Wilkerson teams up with another defensive star, Sheldon Richardson, to form one of the most dominant defensive lines in the league.


Ndamukong Suh, Miami Dolphins

Suh has been a staple of consistency since entering the league in 2010. After changing teams, his 2015 got off to a slow start, but has since picked up and reclaimed his spot as an elite defensive tackle. Suh is a player that opposing coaches look to avoid at all cost. Suh doesn’t just dominate the game physically, he plays the game with a certain “nastiness” that is crucial in order to be successful in the trenches.

–Michael Hersey