Top 25 Defensive Players in NFL History



25. Mel Blount

Ironically, cornerback and Steeler legend Mel Blount may have been mostly responsible for today’s five-wide sets and video game-like numbers in the passing game. The “Mel Blount” rule prohibited defensive backs from making contact and harassing a wide receiver who ran five yards past the line of scrimmage upon his release. Prior to the 1978 rule changes, Mel Blount had made a career out of mauling receivers out of their breaks and physically imposing his will in pass coverage for the Steel Curtain. 

At a wiry 6’3″ and 205 pounds, Blount loved to get physical, mix things up in the secondary, and stick his nose into the action to make tackles. In fact, Blount was so good so early in his career, he didn’t give up a single touchdown as a rookie. After his stellar rookie campaign, Blount took home 1975 NFL Defensive Player of the Year honors with 11 interceptions in 14 games. Mel Blount ultimately went on to retire as a four-time Super Bowl champion as a member of the 1970s Pittsburgh Steelers’ dynasty. Good enough to crack the top 25 on this list as far as I am concerned.