Ultimate lacrosse defender
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Building the Ultimate Defender

You’ve seen some version of this done in every sport, where people take the best qualities of the best players to create the ultimate competitor. Last week, I came up with the players whose skills would make up the ultimate lacrosse midfielder, and the week before, I dissected by ultimate lacrosse attackman. Today, I’ve completed this exercise to build my ultimate lacrosse defender.

The only rules I played by are that the players had to be current professionals, otherwise I would’ve been at this for hours. Head to Instagram or Twitter to tell us who you would pick for each trait.

The Ultimate Lacrosse Defender

Disclaimer: This was the hardest position thus far to write about, because so many of these guys do so many things well. Many of these players are interchangeable.

Team Defense – Anyone From Notre Dame

Hear me out on this; the Notre Dame defense grads are a different breed. They communicate and compliment each other in ways that only guys who have been playing together for years could. Every one of these guys is good at everything, but what they’re elite at is playing within a system. It just so happens that we get to see this every weekend when the Redwoods play.

Causing Turnovers – Liam Byrnes

He’s been doing this for years now, in multiple leagues. Yes, he’s much more on the lacrosse field than just a stat line hero, but his caused turnovers in particular are due to his prowess as a an off-ball help defender and a busy stick in passing lanes.

2019 Liam Dominating CT’s
2021 Dominating CT’s

On-Ball Defense – Matt Dunn

Perhaps the best overall defender on this list, depending on who you talk to, but one thing is for sure: Matt Dunn is an elite on-ball defender. He has a full arsenal of takeaway checks, understands body positioning and weight transfer, and his angles are elite. I trust Matt Dunn to lock up anybody 1v1.

Off-Ball / Help Defense – Ben Randall

Tricky role to fill here, because you can define this many ways. In this case, I’m defining it as a guy who knows how to give help when needed and doesn’t unnecessarily slide. Randall not only knows when to slide, he knows how to turn a slide into a turnover or at the very least stifles the scoring opportunity, so he takes this attribute in my ultimate lacrosse defender.

Quarterback – Brodie Merrill

Every team needs a guy to keep order and direct traffic, and no one does it quite like Brodie. A legendary pole throughout his career, he’s adapted to whatever role his team needs, and that current role is to QB the Cannons defense.

Below GLE – Tucker Durkin

Durkin could and does play well anywhere on defense, but there are few guys I trust more on an island than Tucker. Below GLE is a lonely place, and he’s more than capable.

GB > Transition – Joel White

Narrowly beating out players like Scott Ratliff, Michael Ehrhardt, and Bryan Costabile for this spot in my ultimate lacrosse defender, there’s just something about a Joel White ground ball leading to transition. Maybe I’m getting old, but few guys have done it this well for this long.