While being Mr. Irrelevant may come with a memorable nickname and a trip to Disneyland (barring a pandemic), it also comes with quite the uphill battle to make an NFL roster. 2020’s Mr. Irrelevant, New York Giants linebacker Tae Crowder, is no different.
Free-agent signee Blake Martinez is set to slide in next to Ryan Connelly as Big Blue’s starters at inside linebacker. New York also used three other draft picks on linebackers prior to selecting Crowder.
As it stands at the moment, the likelihood of the ex-SEC standout making the Giants’ roster is slim. However, a potential position change back to that of his early college days could greatly increase his chances of sticking around.
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Could Tae Crowder be Giants’ Answer at Fullback?
As we all know, Giants’ Joe Judge is the most recent leaf to branch off of the Bill Belichick coaching tree. Chances are, Judge will bring more than a few Belichick-Esque philosophies to the table in his first stint as an NFL head coach. So why not start with Patriots 101 of moving a player to the opposite side of the ball?
Could Crowder follow in the footsteps of James Develin and Elandon Roberts, two New England linebackers turned fullbacks? This was a question The Athletics Dan Duggan recently weighed in on as part of his Giants Mailbag column.
This is a very Patriots-way of looking at things and I think we should expect Joe Judge to adopt many of the philosophies he was exposed to during eight years in New England. But keep in mind that the Patriots only converted Roberts to fullback last season after the team’s top two fullbacks, including Develin, landed on injured reserve.
The Giants offense will have a fullback. Eli Penny is the favorite after holding the job for the past two seasons. George Aston, who finished last season on the practice squad, is the other option on the roster and he seems more in line with the Develin-type of battering ram fullback.
Crowder was the last pick of the draft, so he has an uphill climb to make the roster. His ticket will be special teams at first. If he makes the team, having an offensive background — he arrived at Georgia as a running back — could come in handy.
The More Versatile the Better
As Duggan notes, Crowder’s claim to making the Giants roster starts with special teams. Chances are, if New York has their way, Crowder won’t play a single snap of meaningful football on defense for Big Blue this season.
In terms of fullback, Elijhaa Penny is currently penciled in as the starter, so there is no abundant need at the position. However, that’s not to say he isn’t upgradeable.
If Crowder can prove his worth on special teams, while also showing the flexibility to moonlight as a fullback as well as a linebacker, the chances of him making New York’s roster increases greatly. If anything, the Giants would in return save themselves bodies on their 53-man roster with a player who can serve in multiple roles.
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