The 2020 NFL draft was one like no other.
Due to COVID-19 safety precautions, a full in-person draft with all the standard fanfare was out of the question.
So the NFL improvised, they called an audible. NFL commissioner Roger Goodell announced the picks live from his basement, and cameras were set up in the homes of both coaches and draftees so that fans could see their reactions, in a safe way.
The Giants held the last pick in the draft, pick #255. Whomever they selected would become the next “Mr. Irrelevant”, a nickname given to the final pick of the draft since 1976.
The Giants selected linebacker Tae Crowder out of Georgia, a college teammate of their first-round pick, offensive tackle Andrew Thomas.
Crowder entered Georgia as a running back but left as a linebacker after a position change.
Through 32 games at linebacker for Georgia, Crowder tallied 122 tackles (10 for a loss), 1.5 sacks, two interceptions, and two fumble recoveries, one of which he took for a touchdown.
Now, Crowder looks to become a not so irrelevant piece to the Giants roster.
After five games, Crowder has accumulated 18 tackles, one pass deflection, and a fumble recovery return for a 43-yard touchdown. That recovery and return have been the highlight of his short NFL career thus far.
It occurred last Sunday against the Washington Football Team. Quarterback Kyle Allen dropped back before being pressured by Kyler Fackrell. In an attempt to evade, Allen lost the football and Crowder was Johnny on the spot, scooping it up and returning it all the way for a touchdown to give the Giants a late lead.
That score would prove to be the difference-maker, as the Giants won 20-19.
As of 10/20, Crowder was placed on injured reserve with a hamstring issue. When he comes back, fans hope that Crowder can pick up where he left off. In the meantime, linebackers Blake Martinez and David Mayo look to hold it down until Crowder is ready to go again.
When all are healthy, this trio of linebackers could prove to be a fairly underrated part of this defense if they can keep things going for the remainder of the season.
Despite the early season struggles for the Giants as a team, Crowder has certainly got off to a great start in bucking that “Mr. Irrelevant” nickname.
Tae Crowder is quickly becoming a very relevant piece to the Giants defense.
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