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What should we make of Giants’ LB Tae Crowder?

He has played far more than expected, but has that been a good thing

NFL: New England Patriots at New York Giants
Tae Crowder
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

How should we view New York Giants linebacker Tae Crowder? Is he a player who has been an outstanding value considering that he was the final player selected in the 2020 NFL Draft? Is he a developing player who should be part of the team’s future? Or, do the Giants need an upgrade for a player who has only been on the field because there hasn’t been a better alternative?

Or, in reality, is Crowder some combination of all of that? Let’s discuss the third-year linebacker as we continue player-by-player profiles of the Giants’ 90-man roster.

By the numbers

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 235
Age: 25
Position: Linebacker
Experience: 2
Contract: Year 3 of four-year, $3.37 million rookie deal | 2022 cap hit: $913,872

Career to date

On one hand, Crowder has absolutely been a great value for the 255th overall selection. He has played in 28 games, starting 23, and totaling 1,501 defensive snaps. Using Weighted Career Approximate Value from Pro Football Reference, which our Tony DelGenio wrote about recently, Crowder is an absolute outlier. His wAV of 13 places him 28th in that 255-man draft class. Only one player above him was drafted below Round 3.

Sounds awesome, right? Well, unfortunately what wAV really boils down to is that Crowder has played far more than he was expected to.

Pro Football Focus, though, would argue that has not been a good thing for the Giants. I always remind people that PFF grades are not the be-all and end-all of determining who is and is not a good player. There are circumstances and nuances those grades can’t reflect, as well as subjectivity. Still, they do tell us something. And here they tell us Crowder has not been great.

The top line is Crowder’s 2021 grades. The second line shows his 2020 rookie grades. Experience did not lead to better play, at least as judged by these numbers.

2022 outlook

Right now, Crowder would have to be considered a starting inside linebacker next to Blake Martinez for the 2022 Giants. Is that what he ultimately will be? There is, honestly, no way to know. There is a new GM, head coach and defensive coordinator. There are two 2022 draft picks who play inside linebacker. Third-year man Cam Brown has been getting some snaps inside.

Crowder could be a starter. He could make the team as a special teamer and valuable, experienced reserve. He could wind up getting cut as the Giants remake the defensive roster into what Martindale wants.

We will know in September.