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ESPN experts: LT best defensive player ever

ESPN recently asked some of their experts to name the best defensive player of all time. To the surprise of virtually no one with a clue, the answer given by most is Lawrence Taylor.

I hadn't seen this until today, when the folks at AOL Fanhouse posted something about it.

The only expert who did not choose LT was Len Pasquarelli. Now, seriously, Pasquarelli has been around the game longer than I have and knows it better than I do. But, I still have to ask. Hey, Len, just what in the hell were you smoking when you chose Deacon Jones over LT?

Lawrence Taylor changed the way the game of football is played. Before LT, linebackers were generally considered straight up run stoppers. No linebacker before or since rushed the passer with the reckless abandon he did. No one I have ever seen struck fear into opposing quarterbacks like LT.

Listen to what ESPN's John Clayton had to say.

"Lawrence Taylor is the best defender in the history of the league. Clearly, he is the best I've seen in 35 years of covering football. Taylor changed the game. ... His skills allowed the Giants to use a 3-4 scheme and showed coaches how a great pass-rusher can be used with his hands off the ground. Many players dominated the game from the defensive side of the ball, but few changed the game. Taylor ushered in a new era of defense to combat Bill Walsh's fast-paced West Coast offense.

Have you ever seen another defender around whom opposing coaches would build entire game plans or blocking schemes? I haven't. Not Reggie White. Not Shawne Merriman. No one.

LT may have partied hard during the week, but on Sunday he left every ounce of energy he had on the field. He had the speed to chase down running backs from behind, the power to run through much larger offensive tackles and the presence to scare the hell out of quarterbacks everywhere.

Ever since he came into the league, coaches and general managers have been trying to find the next LT.

They may never find him.