Having a defensive player that can be a game changer is something that all NFL coaches want. Unfortunately, finding a true playmaker on defense is hard, especially in the secondary. A ball hawk is simply a player that seemingly knows where the ball will be thrown and can pick it off with ease. Here are three of the best of the best when it comes to ball hawks in NFL history.
1. Paul Krause
Paul Krause holds the record for most interceptions in an NFL career with 81 and that enough is reason to put him on this list. His size (especially for the time) made him an absolute menace for opponents. In fact, when Krause was 18, he was 6’3 when the average height for a male was 5’8. His genes definitely gave him an advantage in sports, but that doesn’t discount the huge amounts of talent he has too.
2. Dick Lane
“Night Train” Lane is one of the coolest stories in history. He actually got into the NFL by showing up at a training camp looking for a job at age 24 as he was unsatisfied with his career at the time. He got a spot and actually went on to set the NFL record for interceptions with 14, as a 24 year old rookie. He also did this in only 12 games, which makes the feat even more incredible. He got a large number of his interceptions throughout his career by utilizing the bait and switch, which would involve covering a player loosely and once the QB threw the ball, he would quickly reposition himself to intercept it.
3. Ed Reed
There is no better modern example of a ball hawk than Ed Reed. Whenever you played the ravens in the mid to late 2000’s you always had to find out where #20 was on the field. With the ball in his hands, he was a maniac and capable of creating offense from defense and scored numerous touchdowns in his career. The instincts this guy had when the ball was in the air was second to none and every time he got an interception, he was looking to score and make a real difference in the game. His football mind and knowledge of offensive routes and plays made him a nightmare for opposing coaches to game plan for.