Barry Sanders remembers meeting Lawrence Taylor for first time
SB Nation’s Detroit Lions website recently posed a question to its followers on social media- "What is your favorite encounter with a professional athlete?" While many fans took to Twitter to answer the question, one reply in particular stood out from the pack.
Legendary Lions running back Barry Sanders posted his reply, recalling his second game as a professional which came against the New York Giants. The Giants got the best of the Lions that day, beating Detroit 24-14, but it was an encounter that occurred after the game with Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor that truly stood out to Sanders.
Sanders played well that game, rushing the ball 12 times for 57 yards and a touchdown (4.8 yards per carry) while adding six receptions for 96 yards. He went on to win the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award that season.
Taylor responded to Sanders' tweet, praising him as one of the best running backs to ever play the game.
The best photos of Hall of Fame linebacker Lawrence Taylor, who was named to the NFL 100 All-Time Team
Giants offensive weapons ranked No. 7 in NFL by ESPN
Daniel Jones put together a solid rookie season last year, completing nearly 62.0 percent of his passes for 3,010 yards and 24 touchdowns in just 12 starts. His starts are even more impressive when considering that he did not have his full arsenal of playmakers on the field at the same time at any point during the season.
The Giants' five key offensive weapons – running back Saquon Barkley, wide receivers Sterling Shepard, Golden Tate and Darius Slayton and tight end Evan Engram – were not all on the field together for a single snap in 2019.
Despite that fact, the group is being praised for its talent and depth. ESPN’s Bill Barnwell ranked the offensive weapons for all 32 teams across the league this week, and the Giants came in at No. 7.
As Barnwell writes, "If everyone could just get on the field at one time, the Giants would be something to stress out about for opposing defenses. Daniel Jones wasn't able to get his five key weapons – Saquon Barkley, Evan Engram, Golden Tate, Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton -- on the gridiron together for a single snap in 2019. Jones dropped back 77 times with only Shepard missing from that bunch and posted a passer rating of 100.7, 13 points higher than his season-long total.
"Slayton was the revelation of the bunch, leading the team with 740 receiving yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie fifth-round pick. The Giants don't have anybody as valuable as DeAndre Hopkns, but they are deeper one through five than the vast majority of teams and still have position-leading upside at running back and tight end with Barkley and Engram. If they just could stay healthy..."
In 13 games last year, Barkley ran for 1,003 yards on 217 carries (4.6 yards per carry) and six touchdowns, adding 52 receptions for 438 yards and two receiving touchdowns. Barkley was named Pepsi NFL Rookie of the Year, NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year and the FedEx Ground Player of the Year in 2018 after gaining over 2,000 yards from scrimmage with 15 touchdowns. A recent ESPN survey of league personnel ranked Barkley as the league's top running back.
Shepard played 10 games in 2019, catching 57 passes for 576 yards and three touchdowns. He was named to the Pro Football Writers Association's All-Rookie Team in 2016.
Tate played in 11 games with 10 starts in his first season with the Giants, finishing the year with 49 receptions for 676 yards and six touchdowns. The veteran receiver was named to the Pro Bowl in 2014.
Slayton played 14 games (nine starts) in his rookie campaign and had 48 receptions for 740 yards and eight touchdowns. The fifth-round pick was one of the most productive rookie wide receivers in the league last season.
Engram played in just eight games in 2019, catching 44 passes for 467 yards and three touchdowns. He was named to the PFWA All-Rookie Team in 2017 after catching 64 passes for 722 yards and six touchdowns.
View photos of all skill position players on the Giants' 90-man roster.
Pro Football Focus crowns Julian Love as Giants' most underrated player
Julian Love did not see extended action on defense until the second half of his rookie season, but once he got on the field, the young defensive back made the most of his opportunity.
Love had only played a handful of defensive snaps through the first 10 games of the season. He took over for the injured Jabrill Peppers in Week 12 against Chicago and recorded his first career interception and pass breakup. He went on to play at least 97 percent of the team's defensive snaps in each of the final five games of the season.
Last year's fourth-round pick finished the season with 35 tackles (28 solo), five tackles for loss, one quarterback hit, one interception, three passes defended and one forced fumble. He earned an overall grade of 70.5 from Pro Football Focus despite playing a new position.
Love saw plenty of success during his time at Notre Dame as well, earning coverage grades from PFF of 83.7 and 90.9 during his final two seasons and was named a Consensus All-American as a junior.
PFF recently praised Love for his play over the last three seasons, naming him the Giants' most underrated player while applauding his ability to get his hands on the ball.