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The best Dallas Cowboys defensive players of all-time by position

Best Dallas Cowboys defensive players of all time
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

Jason Garrett is not happy with the Dallas Cowboys’ defense right now. The Cowboys were blown out by the San Diego Chargers, 27-7, in their first 2014 NFL preseason game and the quarterbacks didn’t throw an incomplete pass until the 14:24 mark of the fourth quarter. While most of the starters were out of action, ESPN reported on Saturday that Garrett said the team’s discipline was not very good in the game.

That is pretty bad to hear. The fact that the reserves were playing was excusable and many of the players on the field won’t even be on an NFL team when the 2014 NFL preseason ends. However, discipline is a coaching problem and Dallas is hoping that aspect of the defensive play is better in 2014 with Rod Marinelli coaching the players this year.

It will be an uphill battle for the Dallas Cowboys, especially without their three best defensive players from 2013. DeMarcus Ware and Jason Hatcher left via free agency while Sean Lee is lost for the season with an injury. There is a lot to prove for the young Dallas Cowboys’ players in 2014. They also have a lot to live up to. Here is a look at the best Dallas Cowboys’ defensive players, by position, in the team’s history.

Defensive Tackles: Randy White and Bob Lilly
Defensive Tackles: Randy White and Bob Lilly George Rose/Getty Images

Defensive Tackles: Randy White and Bob Lilly

Randy White went by the nickname of Manster because he was half man and half monster. He was a seven-time All-Pro and made nine appearances in the NFL Pro Bowl. He finished his career with 111 sacks, an unofficial number since they were not recorded until 1982. He pairs here with the man he followed, the greatest Dallas Cowboys' player of them all, Bob Lilly. Lilly played in 11 Pro Bowls and was the original star in the Doomsday Defense.

Defensive Ends: Harvey Martin and Ed Jones
Defensive Ends: Harvey Martin and Ed Jones Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Defensive Ends: Harvey Martin and Ed Jones

An honorable mention has to go here to Jim Jeffcoat, who was one of the best to ever play for the Cowboys, but it is hard to match up to the two outside members of the Doomsday Defense. Harvey Martin is the Cowboys' current sack leader and was co-MVP in Super Bowl XII with fellow lineman Randy White. Ed "Too Tall" Jones was never as prolific as Martin but was just as dominating. He finished with 57.5 sacks.

Outside Linebackers: DeMarcus Ware and Chuck Howley
Outside Linebackers: DeMarcus Ware and Chuck Howley Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Outside Linebackers: DeMarcus Ware and Chuck Howley

The most recent member of the squad, and the only active player on this defensive list, is Ware, who is a threat to break the NFL sack record every year. Ware became the Dallas all-time sack leader before leaving the team this past offseason and he has only been playing since 2005. On the opposite end, Howley joined Dallas in only their second year as a franchise. He holds the distinction of being the only Super Bowl MVP on a losing team. Amazingly, he is still not in the NFL Hall of Fame.

Cornerbacks: Deion Sanders and Mel Renfro
Cornerbacks: Deion Sanders and Mel Renfro Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

Cornerbacks: Deion Sanders and Mel Renfro

This was a tough choice because a favorite defensive players growing up was Everson Walls and he really could have made this list, but he failed to make the cut over either Sanders or Renfro. Renfro finished his career with 52 interceptions while Sanders was one of the most explosive playmakers in NFL history.

Inside Linebacker: Lee Roy Jordan
Inside Linebacker: Lee Roy Jordan Wikimedia Commons

Inside Linebacker: Lee Roy Jordan

The Dallas Cowboys have quite a few solid outside linebackers in the team's history but no one has ever played the inside as well as Lee Roy Jordan. Another Cowboys' superstar who is not in the NFL Hall of Fame, Jordan finished his 12-year career with 32 interceptions as a five-time Pro Bowl player.

Strong Safety: Charlie Waters
Strong Safety: Charlie Waters Wikimedia Commons

Strong Safety: Charlie Waters

If there could be two strong safeties and no free safety, Darren Woodson would have held a spot over free safety Cliff Harris. However, he can't start over Charlie Waters. Waters started his career as Harris' backup, and then played cornerback, but it wasn't until they moved him to strong safety that he flourished. Waters finished with 41 interceptions and played in a total of 25 postseason games.

Free Safety: Cliff Harris
Free Safety: Cliff Harris Wikimedia Commons

Free Safety: Cliff Harris

Cliff Harris teamed with Waters to give Dallas the best safety pairing in their team's history. He played on a pair of Super Bowl winning teams and took part in seven NFC championship games over his career. Harris intercepted 29 passes in his career and recovered 18 fumbles.