It carries a lot of weight when John Mara says he hasn't been this excited for a rookie since Lawrence Taylor in 1981.
The New York Giants' president and chief executive officer was talking about wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. when he said that at the end of last season. Shortly after, Beckham became the first player in franchise history to be named the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year in the 48 years of the award. The LSU product was also the Giants' first Rookie of the Year since Taylor, a Hall of Famer, won the defensive honor in his debut season coming out of North Carolina.
And so they were linked again.
A recent list of the "Top 30 NFL Rookies of All Time" by Sporting News also drew the comparison as both Beckham and Taylor cracked the top five.
Beckham came in fifth, one place ahead of wide receiver Randy Moss and his record-breaking year with the Vikings in 1998.
"There's no bending logic here," Vinnie Iyer wrote. "As if OBJ's 91 catches, 1,305 yards and 12 TDs in just 12 games weren't awesome enough, it put him on a low-end pace of 121, 1,740 and 16 for a whole season. With his jaw-dropping one-handed catch, he captured everyone's attention as an instant superstar and was popular enough to win the Madden cover for this year. His splash season stands up historically with anyone."
Meanwhile, Taylor finished third, trailing only cornerback Dick "Night Train" Lane (1952) and halfback/returner Gale Sayers (1965).
"Taylor is in the conversation for the best defensive player of all time, and won both defensive rookie and defensive player of the year during his first season," Iyer added. "He was unofficially credited with 9.5 sacks, which went with 133 tackles, 8 pass breakups, two forced fumbles and an interception. He did everything, everywhere, with a nasty streak right from the start."