Lawrence Taylor, an All-America at North Carolina, was the first-round draft pick of the New York Giants and the second player selected overall in the 1981 NFL Draft. The 6-3, 237-pound linebacker set the tone for his pro career with an outstanding rookie season during which he recorded a career-high 133 tackles, 9.5 sacks, 8 passes defensed, two forced fumbles, a fumble recovery and an interception.
A dominant force on defense, Taylor was named first-team All-Pro in each of his first nine seasons. His ability to dominate a game with his attack style changed the outside linebacker position from a read-and-react posture to an aggressive mode.
An intense player, he had the speed to run past offensive linemen and the strength to out-muscle them. Starting in Taylor’s first season, the Giants began a 10-season streak in which they made the playoffs six times and won two Super Bowls.