Couldn’t help smiling Sunday night when I saw Vince Wilfork, the Patriots’ round mound of nose tackle, lay out in an attempt to intercept a batted pass against the Jets. Wilfork, believe it or not, already has two picks this year. A third would give him a share of the NFL season record for a defensive tackle.
I bring this up because the all-time mark for interceptions by a defensive lineman is held by a Redskin. That would be Ron McDole, who played end under George Allen and Jack Pardee from 1971 to ’78 (after stints with the Cardinals, Houston Oilers and Bills). McDole wasn’t a great player, merely a good one. But he had a knack for picking off passes – 12 in all, four more than any other D-lineman in league history.
Three different years, McDole had multiple INTs (high: 3 – just one off the record). Only three other Redskins defensive linemen have had more than one in a season. Any guesses? The answers are: DT Dan Wilkinson in 2001, DT Darryl Grant in 1989, and DE Ed Berrang in 1952 (two each).
Just curious: Did anybody get Berrang? If so, you win a lifetime pass to Griffith Stadium.
Here are the D-linemen with the most career interceptions:
12 Ron McDole, DE, Redskins, 1961-78
8 Richard Dent, DE, Bears, 1983-97
8 Julius Peppers, DE, Bears, 2002-11
7 Mike Jarmoluk, DT, Eagles, 1946-55
7 Jim Duncan, DE, Giants, 1950-53
7 Jason Taylor, DE, Dolphins, 1997-present
6 Earl Faison, DE, Chargers, 1961-66
6 Chris Doleman, DE, Vikings, 1985-99
(In the case of a non-active players, the teams listed are the ones they played for the longest.)
Yup, old friend Jason Taylor is tied for fourth. He had an eighth INT, by the way, as an outside linebacker with the Dolphins in 2009.
Finally, here are the D-linemen with the most picks in a season:
4 Don Floyd, DE, Houston Oilers, 1962
3 Jim Duncan, DE, Giants, 1953
3 Sonny Gandee, DE, Lions, 1954
3 Ed Cooke, DE, Broncos, 1965
3 Ron McDole, DE, Redskins, 1971
3 Charlie Johnson, NT, Eagles, 1980
3 Richard Dent, DE, Bears, 1990
Johnson, you’ll note, is the only tackle in the group. He’s the guy Wilfork is chasing – though Vince probably doesn’t know it. I mean, we’re not exactly talking about a high-profile record here.
Still, it says something about a defensive lineman – that he’s good about getting his arms up, perhaps, or that he has great ball awareness, or that he’s lucky, or that, yes, he has good hands. Those hands spend a fair amount of time in the dirt (or underneath somebody’s facemask), of course, but on certain special occasions they can find themselves in contact with a football.
One last McDole fun fact: He’s also tied for third all-time in another obscure statistical category – career safeties (3). Don’t you just love guys like him?