When you’re talking about the best defensive tackles in NFL history, I believe there really only four you can consider for the best ever. And then argue about which one of those four is the best ever. Not necessarily in this order, but Joe Greene from the Pittsburgh Steelers. Bob Lilly from the Dallas Cowboys. Merlin Olsen from the Los Angeles Rams. And last and perhaps not least Randy White also from the Cowboys, the best defensive tackle of the 1980s at least and I would argue probably the best defensive tackle if not defensive lineman of the 1980s and the second half of the 1970s if not that entire decade.
That is how great of a football player Randy White was and I would have a pretty good idea growing up as a Redskins fan in the 1980s and seeing him play at least twice a year for about 7-8 years. The reason why the Doomsday Defense of the Cowboys was so good is because they didn’t have to blitz to pass rush or stop the run. You had Ed Jones and Harvey Martin on the ends and Randy in the middle. Larry Cole was a very good DT as well. And you always had to double team Randy, (except for Russ Grimm with the Redskins) which freed up either Ed Jones or Harvey Martin on the outside, or Larry Cole as the other DT.
Randy White was 6’4 but he only weighed 260-265 pounds and he might have even beefed up to that once Tom Landry finally figured out that Manster wasn’t a linebacker but a defensive lineman. And 260-265 for a defensive tackle in the 1980s and would’ve been small even back then. Especially going up against the Redskins and the big Chicago Bears offensive lines in the 1980s. But he was so strong and quick. He could get into the opponents backfield before the offensive lineman even moved. Or just knock the lineman out-of-the-way.
He reminds me of Dick Butkus (Chicago Bears LB) as far as how quick, strong, athletic, and aggressive he was. He didn’t tackle his opponents, but he pounded them into the ground like pro wrestlers did. But his slams on opponents were real. Randy White was the best Cowboy defensive player of the 1970s and it would be between Randy and Bob Lilly as far as greatest Cowboy defender of all time. The nickname Manster that Randy picked up (half man, half monster) he was exactly that. Because football was like war for him and the goal seemed to be for him to destroy his opponents and not just win the game. Because of his strength, athletic ability, and quickness he’s still one of the best defensive players ever.