NFL Network analysts say LT is the most defensive player of all-time
NFL Network recently asked 10 of its analysts a simple question- “Who are the top three defensive players of all time, as you see it?”
Most of the analysts listed are many of the same players. Reggie White was a popular choice, as were Aaron Donald and Deion Sanders.
But the one and only name included on all 10 lists, and in the top spot on the list of nine, was none other than Lawrence Taylor.
“This is an impossible exercise (I had to leave off Joe Greene!) Except for my No. 1: unquestionably Lawrence Taylor, who simply changed the outside linebacker position and, in the process, made offensive tackle a premier football position,” writes Judy Bautista. “Nobody had any idea how to block Taylor (he was the league’s Defensive Player of the Year each of his first two seasons), and all you need to know about his dominance is that he was the league’s MVP in 1986, when he was. 20.5 sacks in the Giants’ first Super Bowl season – the last defensive player to win the award. “
Taylor was named either first- or second-team All-Pro and selected to the Pro Bowl in 10 consecutive seasons, taking home three Defensive Player of the Year awards and one NFL MVP during that stretch. His 142.0 career sacks just narrowly beats Michael Strahan’s 141.5 for the most in franchise history.
Here’s what a few other NFL Network analysts have to say about Taylor’s success compared to some of the other all-time defensive greats.
Jeffri Chadiha – “Taylor altered defensive schemes and turned left tackle into a marquee position. The league didn’t even keep sacks as an official statistic until he became a dominant force. Edge rushers everywhere owe LT plenty.”
Brian Baldinger – “LT had the perfect combination of speed, power and toughness with an instinct that could take him off the ball faster than anyone else on the field. Every team had to adjust its entire protection scheme to try to corral him. LT constantly. changed the game. “
Chad Reuter – “The phrase ‘he changed the game’ is thrown around too easily – but not in the case of LT’s ability to wreak havoc in the backfield made teams change the way they protected their passers, and he also stopped the run. And moved like a safety in coverage. The first true ‘edge defender,’ Taylor’s going to be tough to knock off the top of this mountain. “
Adam Rank – “Taylor … well, he’s the greatest player in the conversation for NFL history. He changed the game forever when he came into the league, and there is still another player like him since.”
James Jones – “There’s no disputing the best offensive player in NFL history (Tom Brady). If we’re being honest with ourselves, the best defensive player of all time is clear cut as well. It’s Lawrence Taylor. It’s unheard of for A non-quarterback to win the MVP award, let alone a defensive player. Well, he did it and was a three-time Defensive Player of the Year. He changed the game. “