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When talking about the greatest defensive ends of all time, how can you not start with Reggie White?
He had at least 11 sacks in each of his first nine seasons in the NFL, dipped to eight in 1994 and then had 11 or more sacks in three of the next four seasons. White made 13 Pro Bowls and was an All-Pro eight times in his 15 NFL seasons. His 198 career sacks are the second most in NFL history. His totals don’t include the 23.5 sacks White had in two USFL seasons with the Memphis Showboats before he embarked on his Hall of Fame career in the NFL.
He just keeps on going. Peppers will play his 17th NFL season in 2018, and he doesn’t show any of the signs of aging expected from a 38-year-old, who has played 250 games in the trenches.
In 2017, Peppers racked up 11 sacks, his 10th season with 10 or more sacks. Hardly a one-trick pony, the 6-foot-7, 295-pound Peppers has an amazing 11 interceptions and has returned four of them for touchdowns. He averaged 26.6 yards on his interception returns, including a 97-yard TD.
Unfortunately for Jones, the sack didn’t become an official statistic until 1982, eight years after his 14-year career was over, which is ironic, since he was the one who coined the term. He was an eight-time Pro Bowler and a five-time first-team All-Pro.
According to Pro Football Weekly, Jones accumulated 173.5 career sacks in 14 seasons, including 21.5 in 14 games in 1967 and 22 more in 14 games the following season. But he was also capable of making tackles sideline to sideline, unheard of in his day for a 6-foot-5, 265-poiund lineman.
It remains to be seen whether Watt will ever regain the form that allowed him to terrorize NFL quarterbacks with 69 sacks in a four-year stretch (2012-15), when he was first-team All-Pro each year and the NFL Defensive Player of the Year three times. He also forced 15 fumbles and recovered 13. He also caught three TD passes in 2014 and is the only player in NFL history with two official seasons of 20-plus sacks.
But Watt has played in just eight games over the past two seasons with 1.5 sacks, as he battled through two back surgeries in 2016 and a fractured leg in 2017.