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Giants Now: The 33rd Team lists Lawrence Taylor among top rookie seasons in NFL history


The 33rd Team lists Lawrence Taylor among top rookie seasons in NFL history

The 33rd Team's Marcus Mosher recently ranked the top 10 rookie seasons of all time, in which legendary Giants linebacker Lawrence Taylor's first year in the NFL landed at No. 3.

"You can argue that Lawrence Taylor's rookie season should be No. 1, and you won't get any pushback from me," wrote Mosher. "Many NFL historians believe he might be the league's best overall player. Taylor is the only player in NFL history to win Defensive Rookie of the Year and the NFL's Defensive Player of the Year in the same season."

The Giants selected Taylor with the second overall pick in the 1981 NFL Draft, and the linebacker had a significant impact immediately.

Taylor started all 16 games as a rookie and finished with 9.5 sacks, one fumble recovery and one interception, although sacks did not become an official stat until the following year.

However, as the article states, Taylor's effect on the defense went well beyond the traditional box score.

"Before Taylor arrived, the New York Giants had gone 18 seasons without making the postseason," said Mosher. "However, in Taylor's first year, the Giants had the No. 3 ranked scoring defense and not only made the playoffs but also defeated the Eagles in Round 1, advancing to the Divisional Round for the first time since 1963. Taylor changed the game and changed how teams account for star pass rushers. His intensity and ability to wreak havoc are just two of the many reasons why he is so high up on this list."

Taylor racked up an impressive list of accolades as a rookie, including Defensive Player of the Year and Defensive Rookie of the Year along with first-team All-Pro and a trip to the Pro Bowl.

This represented just the start of Taylor's stellar career. He went on to win Defensive Player of the Year in his second season as well, and then again in 1986 after his jaw-dropping 20.5-sack campaign. Taylor was also named the league's Most Valuable Player that year, which made him only the second defensive player ever to win the award. He would finish his career as a 10-time All-Pro selection and Pro Bowler, and played a crucial role in two Giants Super Bowl championships.

The Giants retired Taylor's No. 56 soon after his playing days were over, and the all-time great was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame a few years later in 1999.

Here are the top five players on The 33rd Team's list of greatest rookie seasons ever:

1. RB Eric Dickerson, Los Angeles Rams (1983)
2. WR Randy Moss, Minnesota Vikings (1999)
3. LB Lawrence Taylor, New York Giants (1981)
4. CB Ronnie Lott, San Francisco 49ers (1981)
5. RB Edgerrin James, Indianapolis Colts (1998)

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