Friday, Aug. 29, 2014

Commentary: Top 25 all-time NFL defensive players to come out of BYU (+photos) (34 items)

By , For the Deseret News

Jan. 31, 2014

Since Bronco Mendenhall arrived at BYU, it has been transformed from a school that was known primarily for its offense into a place where defense has been a huge part of the Cougars' success as a program. Even though the defense has carried the torch for BYU as of late, it has produced NFL talent on that side of the ball for a long time. This is the list of the best of those defensive players based solely on what they have done in the NFL.

Note: Obviously a list like this is completely subjective, but I try to leave out all bias when I do these rankings.

The things I factored in while doing these rankings include All-Pro selections, Pro Bowls, years as a starter, years in the league and impact on a team. Also, stats weighed heavily in my decision-making.

Jay Yeomans is a courier by day and a freelance writer by night. He is the creator and lead writer of the website Contact him at Twitter: @jmoneysports

1 of 34.

Ena made the Philadelphia Eagles in 2002 after going undrafted. He played in 47 games for the Eagles and the Tennessee Titans as a linebacker. His best season came in 2004 when Ena recorded 32 tackles while starting five games for the Titans.

For his career, Ena recorded 59 tackles over four seasons.

2 of 34.

Kapele was selected in the 10th round (114th overall) by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the 1960 draft. Kapele played 38 games over the course of three seasons for the Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles on the defense line before finishing his NFL career in 1962.

3 of 34.

Gray was selected in the fourth round (92nd overall) by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1993 draft. Gray appeared in 67 games (three starts) over the course of six seasons with the Colts and the Carolina Panthers.

During his career, Gray tallied an interception, a forced fumble and two fumble recoveries.

4 of 34.

Kehl was selected in the fourth round (123rd overall) by the New York Giants in the 2008 draft. To this point, Kehl has played six seasons for the Giants, St. Louis Rams, Kansas City Chiefs and Washington Redskins. His most impressive season came in 2008, when as a rookie, Kehl recorded 35 combined tackles and his only career sack and interception.

For his career, Kehl has totaled 122 combined tackles in 72 games (five starts).

5 of 34.

Mendenhall was selected in the second round (55th overall) by the Washington Redskins in the 1980 draft. Mendenhall played 23 games (20 starts) over two seasons for the Redskins and recorded a sack and two fumble recoveries while playing on the defensive line.

1. jzzlvr
Salt Lake City, UT,
Jan. 31, 2014

Interesting list. BYU is not really known as a school that puts out a lot of great defensive players. I have a feeling Ansah is going to be moving up that list over the years and would probably be in the top 10 if this list were to be done again in 5 - 10 years.

2. Keisels Beard
Overton, NV,
Jan. 31, 2014

I'm disappointed. I really feel like I should be higher on the list. The compiler must be follicly challenged.

3. Truebluecoug
Park City, UT,
Jan. 31, 2014

Jay. Thanks for this great article. Looking forward hopefully to the next one on the Offense and possibly special teams. Full steam ahead.

4. Jmoney34
Sandy, UT,
Jan. 31, 2014

The offensive list was posted already. It was put out on December 26th.

5. idablu
Idaho Falls, ID,
Feb. 1, 2014

Love Keisel with his beard! He looks like a Viking.