Next up in my top Redskins players of all-time series comes the guys in the trenches on defense. Defensive linemen are underappreciated for everything they do for a football team. They are crucial in stopping the run, and having a good pass rush makes everything run more smoothly for a defensive unit. Currently, the Redskins D-line is perhaps the most solidified unit on the team, with studs like Chase Young, Jonathan Allen, and Da’Ron Payne clogging the trenches. However, for this article, I won’t be including a guy like Chase Young, but rather the most exceptional guys to play on the defensive line in ‘Skins history.
1. Dexter Manley
When you earn the nickname of the “Secretary of Defense,” it should be no surprise that you get the top spot on this list. Dexter Manley is the best Redskins defensive lineman of all time, playing nine years in the burgundy and gold. During his years in Washington, Manley established himself as one of the league’s premier pass rushers, recording 8.5+ sacks seven times during his career. He was a feared presence of the defensive line and was a staple of the Redskins’ defenses of the ‘80s. He ranks #1 on the ‘Skins all-time leading sack list and had his best season in 1986 when he recorded 18.5 sacks.
2. Charles Mann
Mann played for 11 seasons in the burgundy and gold and was a staple of the Washington defense during his time with the franchise. Mann had more of a consistent run than Manley did with the ‘Skins, recording 82 sacks and notching four Pro Bowl selections throughout his Redskins career. He is 3rd on the Redskins all-time sacks list, only behind Manley and Ryan Kerrigan. Mann was a starter on both the 1987 and 1991 Redskins Super Bowl Champion teams and is considered a legend by Redskins faithful.
3. Gene Brito
Many fans might not think of Brito when talking about the best defensive lineman in ‘Skins history, as he played for the team in the 1950s. However, Brito had a dominant run clogging the trenches for the franchise back in the day. In seven years with the Redskins, Brito was a five-time Pro Bowler and a three-time 1st Team All-Pro selection. Unfortunately, Brito played in an era before tackles and sacks were recorded, so we can’t define his greatness in statistics. He was described as a quick force off the edge who was disruptive in the run and pass game.
4. Dave Butz
Dave Butz is a Redskins legend true and through. After spending his first two seasons with the Phoenix Cardinals, Butz would come to Washington and play there for 14 seasons. The 6’7 291lb Butz was a force on the defensive line, clogging running lanes and attracting double teams for years. Butz’s best season in his career came in 1983 when he earned the lone Pro Bowl and 1st Team All-Pro appearances in his career after recording 11.5 sacks. He was a two-time Super Bowl Champion with the Redskins and is immortalized in franchise history.
5. Darryl Grant
Grant may not have been the best defensive lineman on the ‘Skins during the years he played, but his contributions to the franchise give him a high ranking on this list. Grant played for ten seasons in the burgundy and gold, winning two Super Bowls along the way. He was a consistent starter for the better part of a decade and made some memorable plays. His most significant moment came in the NFC Championship against Dallas in 1982 when he recorded a pick-six after Dexter Manley batted the ball in the air. His best season came in 1984 when he recorded eight sacks from the defensive tackle position.
6. Diron Talbert
After spending the first four seasons of his career with the Rams, Diron Talbert would join the Redskins and play the best years of his career there. He played with the franchise from 1971 to 1980 and started nearly every game he could play for the entire decade. Talbert’s best season with the ‘Skins would come in 1974 when he was selected to the only Pro Bowl of his 14-year career. He was a starter on the 1972 NFC Champion Redskins team and enjoyed a successful career in the burgundy and gold.
7. Andre Carter
Andre Carter played for four different teams throughout his 13-year NFL career and spent five of those seasons in Washington. Carter was a solid starting defensive end for his first four seasons with the ‘Skins before playing in more of a reserve role in 2010. He recorded double-digit sacks twice with the Redskins and ranks #8 on the franchise’s all-time sack list. He played the best years of his career with the Redskins despite not making a Pro Bowl until 2011 with the New England Patriots.
8. Ron McDole
McDole played an impressive 18 years in the NFL, with his final eight seasons in a Washington Redskins uniform. Unfortunately, McDole played in an era before many defensive statistics were recorded, but it is safe to say the guy certainly had an impact during his years with the team. He was a starter on the 1972 NFC Champion Redskins and surprisingly was decent in coverage despite being a defensive end. McDole recorded six interceptions during his Redskins career, with three of them coming in 1971. This is further proof of the impact this guy had when he was on the football field.
9. Matt Ioannidis
Picking which stud defensive linemen from today’s Redskins to add to this list was a challenge, but Matt Ioannidis deserves to be the top current player listed. The 5th round pick out of Temple has most definitely exceeded any expectations placed on him when entering the league. Ioannidis has been a starter and rotational defensive lineman on the ‘Skins for three seasons now and has improved each year. This past season, Ioannidis recorded 8.5 sacks and 64 total tackles on route to a Pro Bowl alternate selection. Although he hasn’t officially made the Pro Bowl yet in his career, Ioannidis is well on his way.
10. Chris Baker
“Swaggy” might not have been the best player on the field during his years in the NFL, but he was a solid starter and fan favorite for several years with the ‘Skins. He makes the list more because of the lasting impact he had with me as a fan, not as much his skill. Baker played in Washington for five seasons and was apart of both the 2012 and 2015 NFC East Champion Redskins teams. Baker wasn’t exactly a pass rusher, but he was a decent run stopper. His best season with the Redskins came in 2015 when he was paired on the defensive line with childhood friend Terrence “Pot Roast” Knighton. He was a big personality and loyal Redskins fans will remember him for his commitment and love of the franchise.
Q: Who has the most sacks in Redskins history?
A: Dexter Manley. For his nine seasons in the burgundy and gold, Manley recorded 91 sacks, good enough for the most in Washington Redskins history. This record is likely to be broken; however, as Ryan Kerrigan only needs 1.5 more sacks to break Manley’s record.
Q: Who has the most sacks in a season in Redskins history?
A: Dexter Manley. The “Secretary of Defense” had the best season of his career in 1986, recording 18.5 sacks in a Pro Bowl and All-Pro season. Manley’s 1986 season was unreal, and his mark of 18.5 sacks still stands as the most by any Redskins player in a single season.
Q: Who has the most sacks in a game in Redskins history?
A: Ryan Kerrigan, Dexter Manley, Brian Orakpo, Phillip Daniels, and Ken Harvey. Each of these guys has had a game in Redskins uniform in which they recorded four sacks. While each of these guys had different careers and play styles for the ‘Skins, they all are immortalized in Redskins history for their performances.
Q: Who has the most tackles for loss in Redskins history?
A: Ryan Kerrigan. Throughout his nine-year career thus far in a Washington Redskins uniform, Kerrigan has recorded 114 tackles for loss. He has 62 more tackles for loss than the next closest on the list, being Andre Carter. Being an outside linebacker, it is no surprise that Kerrigan holds this record.
Q: Who has the most tackles for loss in a season in Redskins history?
A: Ryan Kerrigan. In the 2016 NFL season, Kerrigan recorded 18 tackles for loss. That number was good for the most in the entire NFL that season. 2016 was also the 2nd time that Kerrigan was selected to the Pro Bowl in his career.
Q: Who has the most tackles for loss in a single game in Redskins history?
A: Andre Carter. On December 13th, 2009, in a game against the Oakland Raiders, Redskins defensive end Andre Carter recorded six tackles for loss in a blowout 34-13 win. Carter’s six TFLs are tied for the most in a single game in NFL history.
Q: Who is the most recent Redskins Pro Bowl defensive lineman?
A: Marco Coleman. The defensive end out of Georgia Tech played for six teams throughout his 14-year NFL career and was named to the only Pro Bowl of his career in 2000 with the Redskins. That season, he recorded 12 sacks and 51 total tackles. Unfortunately for the ‘Skins, the team has not had a Pro Bowl defensive lineman since.
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