Mr. Irrelevant Unseats Giants Starter

Tae Crowder Stakes Claim to Starting Spot

Getty Tae Crowder #48 of the New York Giants.

Tae Crowder may have been pegged as this year’s Mr. Irrelevant. However, the 255th-selection in the 2020 NFL Draft is anything but irrelevant in the New York Giants‘ defense after his most recent showing.

Back in late April, we noted that the former Georgia standout was turning heads in training camp and pushing for a starting gig. This past Sunday, Crowder may have officially staked claim to that role.

Approximately an hour before Big Blue’s Week 4 kickoff, ESPN’s Jordan Raanan tweeted that lineup changes could be in order for New York’s defense, namely the prospect of Crowder starting alongside Blake Martinez. While Crowder didn’t draw the official start against the Rams, he may as well have.

Devante Downs, as he has all season, started at inside linebacker for the Giants. Yet this time, he was quickly tossed aside for Crowder. Fresh off a season-high 55 snaps the week prior, Downs was limited to a whopping four snaps in Week 4. Crowder, on the other hand, played a career-high 33 snaps (58%), logging the second-most snaps by a Giants inside linebacker on the day (Blake Martinez – 57 snaps).

Aggressive & Disciplined: Crowder Flashes High Upside

Crowder may have only tallied two total tackles against the Rams, however, his presence was felt far more than the statistics may lead you to believe. Crowder flashed the speed and instincts that once made him a three-star running back recruit out of high school. Mr. Irrelevant also made numerous unheralded plays on Sunday, fittingly enough. Crowder played within his role, maintaining backside gaps and containing the edge on outside runs.

Though he may have had his second-half interception turned over by review (a decision still being questioned by Giants fans), Crowder flashed coverage skills at the position that the team has been desperate for.

Talkin’ Giants host Bobby Skinner does a brilliant job highlighting all these instances, and more from Crowder’s impressive outing below:

Crowder’s play shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, as he literally pre-warned us all about what he would bring to the Giants defense.

“I’m an aggressive player, a disciplined player,” Crowder said during his introductory conference call with the Giants back in late-April. “A hard-working player and I like to make plays for the team. I can play Sam, I can play Will and Mike. I’m pretty good in coverage. I love to fit the run and I love to cover backs, too.”

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What Does David Mayo’s Return Mean for Crowder?

Crowder’s stint as Big Blue’s pseudo-starter alongside Blake Martinez could potentially be short-lived. New York’s returning leading tackler from a season ago, David Mayo, is eligible to come off of injured reserve at any time. With that said, Mayo is extremely limited in pass-coverage, leaving the door open for Crowder to carve out an extensive role on the Giants’ defense.

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