Ell N Mike Top 10’s : Greatest Pass Rushers All-Time

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December 29, 2013 by Ell and Mike Sports

Top 10’s All-Time

Top 10 Pass Rushers



1.  Reggie White – “The Minister of Defense”

Reggie White may not be the leader in sacks (198), but he is only 1.5 sacks off with 4 less years than DE Bruce Smith as he played a 15 year career most known for playing with Green Bay. White has had 13 Pro-Bowl selections, 12 All-Pro selections, 2 Defensive Player of the Year selections, and a Super Bowl Championship in his career and was one of the greatest NFL players to ever play the game and one of the greatest defensive leaders. Reggie White was a minister off the field and brought that into the locker room as he was well respected and helped motivate a lot of teammates. He only had 3 seasons in which he didn’t have double digit sack totals and other than his last season he never had less than 8 sacks in a season. R.I.P.

2.  Bruce Smith – “All-Time Sack Leader”

Bruce Smith is the All-Time NFL sack leader with 200 sacks and the 1st person you think of when it comes to the Bills franchise defensively. Smith was one of the most consistent players as he was able to play well all throughout his defensive career as a pass rusher. He was a massive man with a high motor who constantly took on double teams as he mostly played out of the 3-4 formation. Smith is an 11 time Pro-Bowler, 2 time Defensive Player of the Year, and a 9 time All-Pro selection as a 19 year pro only playing for two teams in that span (Bills (15), Redskins (4)). He had 13 seasons of 10+ sacks and 3 out of the 6 seasons when he didn’t he was between the ages of 38 and 40, but still effective and in his last season he was a situational player.

3. Deacon Jones – “Old School Toughness”

Deacon Jones is the originator of the pass rusher as he was a huge defensive end with great speed who could make plays sideline to sideline with athleticism never seen at that time. However, his favorite thing to do was beat up on offensive lineman with a violent head slap allowing him to punish QB’s unblocked. Sacks were not recorded as a statistic in his time, but he has been known to have as many as 26 sacks in a 14 game season while recording double-digit sacks in 9 of his 13 seasons. Jones was an 8 time Pro-Bowler, 5 First Team All-Pro selections, 3 Second Team All-Pro selections, and twice the Defensive Player of the Year. Deacon Jones is considered one of the best to ever play the game thanks to his contributions on and off the field. R.I.P.

4. Lawrence Taylor – “Nasty/Physical/Tough”

Lawrence Taylor is considered one of the toughest pass rushers as he has a ferocious attitude which shows in his physical play as he was an absolute beast from the linebacker position. He had double digit sack totals 7 times in his 13 year career and a nice prime in the late 80’s as the most dominate pass rusher. Taylor was a 10 time Pro-Bowler, 10 time All-Pro, 3 time Defensive Player of the Year, 2 time Super Bowl Champ behind Coach Bill Parcells, and MVP in 1986 with 20.5 sacks on the season. He is a very dominate player considered one of the All-Time greats playing his whole career with the Giants.      

5. Kevin Greene – “Consistency”

Kevin Greene was an absolute beast off the edge from the OLB position as he is the leader in sacks for an OLB with 160 sacks. He recorded double digit sacks in 10 out of his 15 seasons with 5 Pro Bowl selections and 3 All-Pro selections. Greene was able to get it done consistently with a high motor mostly producing double digit sacks from 1988-1999 with four different teams (Rams, Steelers, Panthers, 49ers), however in 1991 the Rams tried him at DE which was a failed experiment (3 sacks) and in 1994 with the Steelers he had 9 sacks just missing the double digit mark. Greene is part of the All-90’s Decade Team and was a hard worker on and off the field. He is now a Linebacker’s Coach for the Packers.

Honorable Mention:


6. Chris Doleman

7. John Randle

8. Derrick Thomas

9. Michal Strahan

10. Jason Taylor



1. Lawrence Taylor – “The Beast”

One of the most dangerous hitters off the edge combined with his abilities to get pass offensive linemen. Taylor made pass rushing look easy and did it often. “LT” came to hit with violent intentions. Unstoppable, unblockable, and undeniable.

2. Reggie White – “The Good Guy”

Reggie White was highly regarded on and off the field and was respected everywhere as well, but once Reggie laced them up, there was one thing you were sure of, and that was he was coming to get the QB. Many teams were aware of Reggie’s power, but they would soon have to get adjusted to his speed as well. Reggie was the most complete DE ever.

3. Bruce Smith – “Sack Machine”

Bruce Smith was masterful at getting to the QB and is arguably the best pass rusher of all time. However, to me, this list is not just about getting to the QB, but how complete of a pass rusher these guys were. That’s not a knock on him because he is the best defensive end ever at getting to the QB. The stats do no lie and he is number 1.

4. Deacon Jones – “The Originator”

Before the league started recording sacks as stat, Jones was out there getting them. Who knows how many sacks he would’ve really recorded, had they been keeping track of them back then. Even with that being, said Jones still was a pioneer in the technique of getting to the QB. He had a move called the “headslap” that was later outlawed because the NFL didn’t like the idea of players being slapped in the head.

5. Chris Doleman – “Elite Pass Rusher”

In 1989, Doleman racked up 21 of his 150.5 sacks; that tied what was the sack record then. Doleman is fourth all time on the sacks lists and averaged almost 12 sacks a season. Doleman was truly a great pass rusher in his 13 seasons playing football.

Honorable Mention:


6. Richard Dent

7.  Kevin Greene

8. Michael Strahan 

9. Derrick Thomas 

10. Gino Marcetti

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