Lawrence Taylor selected to The 33rd Team’s best all-time front 7

Lawrence Taylor selected to The 33rd Team’s best all-time front 7

If you ask New York Giants fans who the greatest player in the nearly 100-year history of the franchise is or was, most will say linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who terrorized opponents from 1981-1993.

Taylor is widely regarded as the best outside linebacker of all time and was the original ‘edge’ rusher that teams still seek out to this day.

In a recent piece for The 33rd Team, former college and NFL head coach and defensive guru, Dave Wannstedt, named Taylor as one of his all-time ‘front seven’ players in NFL history.

If we are talking edge rushers, it has got to be L.T. Bill Belichick, the greatest coach of all-time, said he was the best player of all-time, and his statistics back this up.

Taylor is a three-time Defensive Player of the Year (DPOY). That speaks for itself.

But, more importantly, in my opinion, he played in that 3-4 New York Giants defense with Bill Parcells and Belichick, and he changed the game.

True. “L.T.” as he went on be known turned the Giants from doormats into contenders overnight. He was truly feared by offenses around the league from the very first moment he stepped on the field as a rookie out of North Carolina in 1981.

In 1981, the Giants rode the Taylor wave to their first postseason appearance in 18 years and eventually would win two Super Bowls with him.

People do not realize what a game-wrecker Taylor was as a pass rusher. That’s how he made his living. So much so that when he would drop into coverage, offensive live coaches and coordinators would put a smile on their faces and clap.

His dominance on the line forced offenses to turn protection to whichever side Taylor was on. Coordinators wanted to make sure you got a big offensive lineman blocking L.T. rather than running the opposite way and expecting a running back to block him.

That’s what most teams did. When L.T. was on the field, you must use the lineman to him to give you the best chance to slow him down.

As a six-decade follower of the Giants and the NFL, I can personally tell you that Wannstedt got this right. Taylor was a player with skills that the NFL had never seen before — and perhaps have not seen since. He was playing on a different plane than the other 21 bodies on the field.

Rounding out Wannstedt’s front seven are: linemen Reggie White, Aaron Donald and’Mean’ Joe Greene and linebackers Junior Seau, Derrick Brooks and Ray Lewis.

A solid front if there ever was one. This is all debatable as many would ask where players such as Deacon Jones and Bruce Smith landed on Wannstedt’s list.

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