Michael Strahan, the best defensive end ever to play for the New York Giants, recently had strong praise for the Giants' current best defensive end, Jason Pierre-Paul, saying he "could be one of the best to ever play!" Strahan's tweet is below
I want to look at that in two parts. First, no offense to @michaelrenne but if you don't understand that Pierre-Paul is already a far superior player to what Osi Umenyiora ever was then I'm not sure you know what you are looking at when you watch the two of them play.
Umenyiora can do one thing -- speed rush to the outside. Pierre-Paul is stronger, more athletic and is one of the best run-defending defensive ends in the league while Umenyiora has always been one of the worst (Osi -9.8 per PFF vs. run the last two seasons, Pierre-Paul an NFL-best +30.1). Simply put, Umenyiora is a one-trick pony -- a very good one, admittedly -- while Pierre-Paul is an all-around stud.
One other point on that. During his career Umenyiora has rarely been the player on the Giants' defensive line who has drawn the double team from opposing offenses. Early in Umenyiora's career that was Strahan and the last two years it's been Pierre-Paul. That tells you what opposing offensive coordinators think.
The second part of this is Strahan's assertion that Pierre-Paul "could be one of the best to ever play!"
My belief is we are a loooooong way from being able to put JPP in that category -- one that would put him right there with Strahan. Pierre-Paul needs to play at a high level for another six, eight, maybe even 10 years before he belongs in that conversation.
Do I think Pierre-Paul could wind up alongside Strahan? Sure. He has every physical attribute you could ever want in a defensive end, and from all indications has the will to be great. He didn't showcase his absolute best in 2012, but that doesn't mean Strahan won't ultimately end up being right.