ESPN names Lawrence Taylor the best edge rusher of all-time

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The folks at ESPN recently named their choices for the best players in NFL history at each defensive position.

At edge rusher, the choice was an easy one — New York Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor. That is because Taylor was the first player to be called an edge rusher. He wasn’t really just an edge rusher, however. LT was more like a force of nature. He simply took over games.

Jeff Legwold said it all:

Taylor announced himself to the league as a rookie in 1981 with 133 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 8 pass knockdowns, 2 forced fumbles and an interception and won the league’s Defensive Player of the Year award. There are many around the league who say Taylor changed the way people thought pass-rushers could be used in a defense. Taylor’s best season came in 1986, when he led the league in sacks (20.5), won MVP and earned his third Defensive Player of the Year award.

All of the experts polled are all younger than me, so I will chime in with my take. Forget the numbers. The guy was unlike anything anyone had ever seen in this league. He was operating on a higher level —  like a Michael Jordan, a Wayne Gretzky or even a Babe Ruth.

To illustrate how special Taylor was, they are still looking for the next “L.T.” 41 years later. No one has come close.

The Giants were a sorry excuse for a franchise in 1981 when they selected Taylor second overall in the NFL draft. All of a sudden, they became relevant, qualifying for the postseason for the first time in 18 seasons and his presence was the reason why.

From there, the Giants built their team around Taylor — a defensive player — which was unheard of and became champions, something none of us who endured the ‘wilderness’ of the 1960s and 70s thought we’d ever see.

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Story originally appeared on Giants Wire