The Chicago/St. Louis/Arizona may not have the most illustrious history but they have produced some first class defensive players. Three hall of famers, numerous All-Pros and an American legend.
The ten best defensive players, in no particular order, in Cardinals history:
- Dick “Night Train” Lane, cornerback, 1954-1959: Four time Pro Bowl selection and one time All-Pro in six-season with the Chicago Cardinals. Member of the NFL’s 75th Anniversary All Time Team and the NFL’s 1950’s All-Decade Team. Lane was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1974 and still holds the NFL record for most interceptions in a season with 14-picks in 1952.
- Larry Wilson, free safety, 1960-1972: Spent his entire career with the St. Louis Cardinals and is the franchise leader in career interceptions with 52. He was an All-Pro six times, selected to eight Pro Bowls and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1978.
- Roger Wehrli, cornerback, 1969-1982: In his 14-season career, all with the St. Louis Cardinals, he was a five time All-Pro selection and was named to seven Pro Bowls. He is a member of the NFL’s All-Decade team of the 1970’s and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007.
- Aeneas Williams, cornerback, 1991-2000: Williams played 10-season with the Arizona Cardinals and was named to the NFL’s 1990’s All Decade Team. He was selected to six Pro Bowls and was a first team All-Pro selection three times with the Cardinals.
- Pat Tillman, safety, 1998-2001: He was a good player in four-seasons with the Cardinals but he is a legend off the field. Tillman retired after the 2001 season and joined the U.S. Army and was sent to Afghanistan as an Army Ranger. Tillman was killed by friendly fire while deployed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004. His number is retired at his alma mater Arizona State University and by the Arizona Cardinals. The Cardinals erected a statue in his honor outside their home stadium, University of Phoenix Stadium.
- Adrian Wilson, safety, 2001-2012: The third round pick out of North Carolina State was an All-Pro selection in 2009 and was picked for five Pro Bowls during his career with the Cardinals. He is the sixth player in NFL history with 25 career sacks and interceptions.
- Darnell Dockett, defensive tackle, 2004-current: Dockett has anchored the defensive line since being drafted out of Florida State. He was selected to the Pro Bowl in 2007, 2009 and 2010 and is eighth in all-time in Cardinals history with 36.0 career sacks.
- Simeon Rice, defensive end, 1996-2001: Rice was briefly a member of the Cardinals but after only five-season in Arizona he is second in franchise history with 51.5 sacks. He was selected to the 1999 Pro Bowl after posting a career high 16.5 sacks.
- Tim McDonald, safety, 1987-1992: In six-seasons with the Cardinals he was selected to three Pro Bowls. He is tied for 11th in career interceptions (20) in Cardinals history.
- Jerry Stovall, defensive back, 1963-1971: The second overall pick in 1963 NFL Draft lived up to his billing and was selected to three Pro Bowls in his career. In his rookie season he was also the Cardinals punter and averaged 40.7 yards per punt.