New unofficial sack totals highlight dominance of Deacon Jones and Jack Youngblood

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Longtime Rams fans know just how good the team’s defensive line was in the 1960s and ‘70s thanks to the sheer dominance of Deacon Jones and Jack Youngblood. However, younger fans may not fully appreciate just how good those two Hall of Famers were in their primes.

Pro Football Reference is thankfully here to provide some context, though.

Thanks to nearly 30 years of research, Pro Football Reference has added sack totals for players who suited up before 1982, when sacks became an official NFL stat. Up to this point, there have been estimates of how many sacks some of the game’s best pass rushers had, but PFR did the work to find out their exact totals.

According to their decades of research and film work, Jones is now unofficially credited with 173.5 career sacks – third-most in NFL history. His teammate with the Rams, Youngblood, recorded 151.5 career sacks, which is good for sixth-most all-time.

As a result of this newfound data, three former Rams rank in the top six of career sacks, with Kevin Greene ranking fourth in league history (160.0 sacks). His total is official, since he played from 1985-1999.

Here’s a look at PFR’s new top-20 unofficial leaderboard for career sacks.

Rank

Player

Sk

Years

Bruce Smith+

200.0

1985-2003

Reggie White+

198.0

1985-2000

Deacon Jones+

173.5

1961-1974

Kevin Greene+

160.0

1985-1999

Julius Peppers

159.5

2002-2018

Jack Youngblood+

151.5

1971-1984

Chris Doleman+

150.5

1985-1999

Alan Page+

148.5

1967-1981

Lawrence Taylor+

142.0

1981-1993

Michael Strahan+

141.5

1993-2007

Jason Taylor+

139.5

1997-2011

Terrell Suggs

139.0

2003-2019

DeMarcus Ware

138.5

2005-2016

Richard Dent+

137.5

1983-1997

John Randle+

137.5

1990-2003

Jared Allen

136.0

2004-2015

Rickey Jackson+

136.0

1981-1995

John Abraham

133.5

2000-2014

Carl Eller+

133.5

1964-1979

Leslie O’Neal

132.5

1986-1999

Provided by Pro-Football-Reference.com: View Original Table

Between Jones, Greene, Youngblood and Aaron Donald, four of the game’s best pass rushers ever suited up for the Rams at one point or another. Donald has 85.5 career sacks in seven seasons, so he would need to keep up that exact pace for another seven years in order to crack the top four ahead of Greene.

That’ll be challenging to do since he’s 30 years old, but no one should ever doubt the three-time Defensive Player of the Year – and the guy who almost never takes a day off.

He needs another 47 sacks to tie for 20th all-time, though other active players could also continue to rise up the list along with him. And while he may never reach the top 20, he’ll be regarded as arguably the best defensive tackle in NFL history.