Giants legend Lawrence Taylor is regarded as one of the greatest, if not the undisputed best, defensive players in NFL history. While that’s a sentiment the three-time Defensive Player of the Year shares, he also has profound respect and admiration for some of the game’s other great defenders.
Appearing on the I Am Athlete podcast this week, Taylor was asked by host Brandon Marshall whom he ranks as the top five defensive players of all time. After a few moments, L.T. revealed the following group:
1. Lawrence Taylor, LB
2. Reggie White, DE
3. Deacon Jones, DE
4. Deion Sanders, CB
5. Ronnie Lott, CB/S
Notably absent from the list, and a major reason for starting the conversation with Taylor in the first place, was Aaron Donald. The Rams’ star defensive tackle is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year and often is mentioned alongside Taylor when talking about the best defenders in NFL history. But apparently, Taylor doesn’t feel the same.
“Wait no but listen, I’ll put him on the list … if y’all want me to,” the Hall of Famer joked on the podcast.
To be perfectly clear, every one of the players that Taylor mentioned in his top five is worthy of the honor.
White dismantled opposing offenses and earned the nickname “the Minister of Defense” for his accomplished career. Jones was one of football’s first great defensive ends, a two-time Defensive Player of the Year who terrorized opponents with his signature head slap. Sanders and Lott were stellar defensive backs, who combined for 14 first-team All-Pro nominations and six Super Bowl victories.
However, Taylor’s omission of Donald surely only will spark further debate about football’s greatest defenders across different eras.