To say that Tae Crowder was a little less-heralded than his University of Georgia -- and now Giants -- teammate Andrew Thomas would a bit of an understatement.
But while the fourth overall pick in the 2020 Draft sat out the first quarter for missing a team meeting on Saturday night, it was the man saddled with the moniker of “Mr. Irrelevant” who came up huge In a big spot for Big Blue.
Crowder, the 255th and final pick in this season’s draft, spotted a loose ball after Kyler Fackrell stripped Washington quarterback Kyle Allen, and raced it back the other way for a 43-yard touchdown. It gave the Giants a 20-13 edge with less than four minutes to play, a lead they did not relinquish after stopping Washington on a two-point conversion attempt in the final minute.
“I wanted to dive on [the ball] bad,” Crowder said. “But I knew if I could just scoop it up and get it in the end zone for the team, it was something we needed at the moment.”
“It was a huge play,” cornerback James Bradberry added. “Any time you can go out there and get a forced fumble and get a touchdown -- any time your defense can score -- it's a huge momentum swing for your whole team. We needed that in that moment and I was glad we made that play.”
Crowder did not get an invite to the NFL Combine earlier this year, but was second on his Georgia team in tackles as a senior last year with 62. You never know what to expect from a seventh-round pick, but the Giants have an ailing linebacker corps, and Crowder found himself as Mr. Irrelevant no longer.
“I took it as motivation,” Crowder said. “I love the name. I just wanted to get here and get to work with my team. One of my goals this year was to help the time in any way I can.”
“It's funny that you call him Mr. Irrelevant because he's been doing a lot for us,” defensive lineman Leonard Williams added. “I think since he came in, he's just been the quiet guy working hard. He's slowly worked his way up into playing with the defense, he's built his trust up with his teammates. He went out there and made a huge play, one that was possibly the deciding factor in the game.”
Though he’s certainly no longer irrelevant, Crowder still deflected some praise for the play, instead crediting the player who forced the miscue to set up his touchdown.
“Big ups to Kyler Fackrell for making a great play with a sack-fumble,” Crowder said. “I was just in the right place at the right time, just trying to make a play for my team.”