Tae Crowder went from Mr. Irrelevant, the final player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft, to a starting inside linebacker for the New York Giants last season. Let’s take a look at what 2021 might bring as we continue profiling the 90 players the Giants will bring to training camp this summer.
Contract: Year 2 of four-year, $3.37 million rookie contract |
Career to date
Crowder played in 11 games, starting six, as a rookie. He had worked his way into the starting lineup by Week 5, but missed four midseason games due to a hamstring injury suffered on his game-winning scoop-and-score touchdown Week 6 vs. the Washington Football Team.
Crowder ended up with 57 tackles, 34 solo. He also ended up with more playing time than Cam Brown, Carter Coughlin and T.J. Brunson — linebackers the Giants selected ahead of him in the draft.
“My goals for the year were to make the team and help the team in any way I could,” Crowder told the ‘Valentine’s Views’ podcast in February. “With that mentality I just came to work each and every day focused on the small details. It paid off for me.”
Crowder certainly impressed inside linebacker Blake Martinez, whom he lined up next to.
“He’s a great player,” Martinez said about Crowder. “I actually told him, I was like ‘you’re probably one of the best rookies I’ve been around in this league.’ Just work ethic-wise, intelligence, play skill, play ability. Just the aspect to be able to pick up things like he did, and also help me out there on the field as quickly as he did. He was one of the guys that I trusted out there to kind of calm me down if I ever had any moments of kind of need. It was really cool to see.
“I’m just excited for him to have that Year 1 to Year 2 jump, get stronger, faster, more understanding of offensive schemes. The sky is the limit for him, no matter Mr. Irrelevant or not, and I’m excited for years to come playing next to him.”
If the Giants were playing a game this Sunday, I would pencil Crowder in as the starting inside linebacker next to Martinez. His competition for the job appears to be Devante Downs, who he surpassed on the depth chart last season, and newly-acquired free agent Reggie Ragland. Ragland has started 38 of 58 NFL games, but only 13 of 30 the last two seasons with the Detroit Lions.