4 Greatest Defensive Players in Raiders History
There are so many key roles in every defense that it can be hard to determine which players are most important to one unit, let alone a franchise's entire history. When one does manage to stand out ahead of the pack, you know they're showing flashes of greatness.
With that in mind, here are the greatest defensive players in the history of the Raiders franchise.
Best Raiders Defensive Players of All Time
4. Jack Tatum, S (1971-79)
Known for his physicality and high-octane style of play, Jack Tatum was one of the original hard-hitting safeties that many players modeled their game after. Tackle statistics weren't recorded when he played, but Tatum would have no doubt been high on the list if they were. The Raiders legend was a second-team All-Pro twice, a Pro Bowler three times and a Super Bowl Champion once.
3. Lester Hayes, CB (1977-86)
The cornerback Lester Hayes was a true shutdown defender in coverage. His 39 career interceptions are tied for the franchise lead, he also led the league with 13 in the 1980. Hayes helped the Raiders win two Super Bowls ,and quarterbacks often avoided his direction altogether when throwing the ball. He was a First-Team All-Pro once, a Pro Bowler five times, a Defensive Player of the Year in 1980 and is now a member of the 1980's All-Decade Team.
2. Willie Brown, CB (1967-78)
The man Lester Hayes tied with for career lead in Raiders interceptions is Willie Brown. This Raiders legend not only made an impact as a player, but as a defensive backs coach as well. He won three Super Bowls with the franchise — two as a player and one as a member of the coaching staff. Brown's list of achievements is a long one, including two First-Team All-Pro honors, four Pro Bowls and a spot on the NFL 100th Anniversary All-time roster. Now a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Brown's legendary career is complete.
1. Howie Long, DE (1981-93)
The best player to ever take the defensive side of the football for the Raiders was defensive end Howie Long. The fearsome edge rusher totaled 84.0 sacks for his career, while also recording 12 turnovers (10 fumbles recovered, 2 interceptions). He was the Defensive Player of the Year in 1985, a First-Team All-Pro three times, a Pro Bowler eight times and Super Bowl Champion once. Long's play earned him a spot on the 1980's All-Decade Team and a place in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
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