Turney: Ranking the top 4-3 defensive ends of all time

Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Eagles

Two weeks ago NFL historian John Turney of Pro Football Journal profiled a list of his top 3-4 defensive ends of all time, and that got us to wondering: Who are his best 4-3 defensive ends?

Well, we have our answer.

Turney ranked his top 50 4-3 defensive ends of all time, and there are no surprises at the top. As you’d imagine, Hall-of-Famers Reggie White and Deacon Jones are there. But keep reading. There are names you might not expect … or might have forgotten.

Fortunately, Turney is here to remind us who were the best and brightest at this position. To find them, just connect to the following link:


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  1. brian wolf
    July 30, 2018

    Great article…didnt get to see the 3-4 Ends one yet…I agree its Reggie White number one but I believe Willie Davis was better than Deacon Jones because of his postseason success…Like Doug Atkins, another Hall Of Fame player given away by Paul Brown. Glad you added Cedric Hardman to the list…He was a great pure pass rusher who wasnt great against the run. Though LC Greenwood isnt in the HOF, His postseason success, especially against Roger Staubach was phenominal

  2. bachslunch
    August 5, 2018

    Thanks so much for making this and the 3-4 end articles available. They’re great reading, lots of detail and backup for the opinions, the kind of stuff I personally value a lot. No question he’s seen a ton of film. Reinforces my respect for Turney and his thinking.

    Interestingly, the induction of DEs in the HoF pretty much mirror his rankings, with the Senor election of oversight Claude Humphrey pretty much filling the last horribly glaring omission, am thinking. Contrary to what some naysayers think, you guys are pretty much getting it right, especially with the regularly eligible candidates.

    Please include more. And if anyone else is doing this, please provide commentary and/or links. Wish we could see the thoughts of folks like Howard Mudd or Ron Wolf in tandem with Turney’s. This kind of stuff is really useful to making thoughtful decisions about the pecking order for the HoF and who are good people to give priority to, especially Seniors.

    Sure, there’s a place for team boosterism I guess, but I value things like this much more.

    Great stuff! More, please.

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