For the past decade, the New England Patriots have been known for their high-flying offenses, but their dynasty began with defense.
The New England Patriots greatest player of all-time is very clearly QB Tom Brady, but there are some defensive players that could make a strong case for being the 2nd best Patriot.
Here, I will break down and rank my top 10 greatest Patriots defensive players of all-time. It should be no surprise that many Patriots from the early 2000’s make the cut.
As always, some of you will disagree with the order, or you’ll feel like I left someone off the list that should have made it. Either way, make your opinion known in the comments below.
10. SS Rodney Harrison
Rodney Harrison wasn’t in New England long, and his last few seasons were shortened by injury, but I’m not sure any one player made as much of an immediate impact. Harrison came to the Patriots in 2003 after nine seasons in San Diego.
That first year, he was named a First Team All-Pro and helped lead the Patriots to a Super Bowl win. He helped them win it all the next season too.
Over 6 years and 63 games with the New England Patriots, Rodney Harrison had 8 interceptions and 312 tackles in the regular season. He stepped up with 7 interceptions over 9 career playoff games with New England.
9. DT Vince Wilfork
Vince Wilfork spent the first 11 years of his NFL career in New England, and the big man never stopped making plays.
Vince appeared in 158 games as a member of the Patriots, where he had 355 tackles and 16 sacks. Somehow, Wilfork also had three interceptions as the defensive tackle. His heart and soul went into his defensive play, and he was the anchor on the New England defense when they beat the Seahawks in Super Bowl XLIX.
8. LB Mike Vrabel
Now a football coach, it was always clear the Mike Vrabel had a football mind. He came to New England after four years in Pittsburgh and helped the Patriots develop a dynasty as a starter on three Super Bowl winning teams.
Vrabel had 48 sacks and 11 interceptions for the Patriots in the regular season, and another 8 sacks in his 17 playoff games. I wouldn’t be surprised if he one day returns to coach in Foxboro.