CBS Sports: Former New York Giants LB Lawrence Taylor tops list of best pass rushers

Lawrence Taylor - Stephen Dunn

CBS Sports columnist Pete Prisco considers former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor to be the best pass rusher of all time.

In light of the passing of Hall of Famer Deacon Jones Monday night, CBS Sports columnist took it upon himself to rank the greatest pass rushers the NFL has seen.

One name stood out above all of the rest.

No. 1 is former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who in his illustrious career put quarterbacks' helmets in the dirt 132.5 times. Prisco said Taylor is not only the best pass rusher, but the best overall defender the NFL has seen.

"The best is former New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor. He redefined the way the game is played. He had speed, power, explosiveness and he rang up 132 1/2 career sacks, even as he battled off-field demons.

"Taylor not only is the best pass rusher ever, he's also the (greatest) defensive player of all time."

Taylor takes the No. 1 spot, with Prisco citing a violent attack from the edge. Today, we consider J.J. Watt and Aldon Smith and Von Miller as the premier sack artists in the league, but all three pale in comparison to the ferocity that was Taylor.

Behind Taylor is Jones, who on Monday night at the age of 74 lost his battle with lung cancer and heart complications. Jones, a member of the Fearsome Foursome in Los Angeles, had a knack for making offensive tackles look silly, and did so without the assistance of the official sack stat.

Bruce Smith, Reggie White and Richard Dent round out the top five, while Gino Marchetti, Derrick Thomas, DeMarcus Ware, Chris Doleman and Kevin Greene complete the list.

Players who just missed cracking the list include Doug Atkins, Jason Taylor, Charles Haley, Leslie O'Neal, Mark Gastineau, Willie Davis, Jack Youngblood and another former New York Giants great, Michael Strahan.

Though now he's just a morning talk show personality, Strahan did have a tremendous career wreaking havoc on opposing quarterbacks. He's a seven-time Pro Bowl defensive end, a five-time First-team All-Pro, a Super Bowl champ and a member of the New York Giants Ring of Honor, not to mention he was ranked 99th in the The Top 100 Greatest NFL Players and currently stands fifth all-time in career sacks.

The New York Giants have a tremendous history of great pass rushers, beginning with Taylor, onto Strahan and today Jason Pierre-Paul, who today we learned underwent back surgery. It's believed he will be ready by September.

Follow Sam on Twitter @SamSpiegs

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