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Giants GM George Young predicted before the draft that he would be better than NFL legends such as Dick Butkus: "Taylor is the best college linebacker I've ever seen. One of the factors that the Giants said they considered in selecting Taylor was his solid reputation. By that I mean there was no rap on him", said head coach Ray Perkins.
"Great potential as a linebacker, a fine young man, free of injuries." As it would turn out, Taylor would have the longer and more successful career while Rogers, although successful in his own right with several 1,000-yard rushing seasons and two Pro Bowl selections, was injury-prone and forced to retire following the 1987 season with the Washington Redskins.
One of the two GMs who said they would not take Taylor was Bum Phillips, who had just been hired as coach and general manager by the New Orleans Saints. On the blitz, he's devastating." On draft day, Phillips made good on his promise not to draft Taylor and the Saints instead selected Heisman Trophy-winning halfback George Rogers with the first pick, leaving the Giants with the decision of whether to select Taylor.
As fate would have it for Taylor, the Saints were also the team who had the first pick in the draft. To the raucous approval of the crowd in attendance at the draft (which was held in New York City), the Giants selected him.
Walsh assigned guard John Ayers, the team's best blocker, to block Taylor and, although Taylor still recorded a sack and three tackles, he was not as effective as normal.
In contrast to his on-field success Taylor was already developing a reputation for recklessness off the field; after nearly getting killed during the season when his speeding resulted in a car crash, Young told the team's trainer he would be surprised if the linebacker lived past the age of 30, and the Giants insured Taylor's life for million.
Years after facing him in an exhibition game, Pittsburgh Steelers Quarterback Terry Bradshaw recalled, "[h]e dang-near killed me, I just kept saying, 'Who is this guy?
Reports came out of the Giants training compound of the exploits of the new phenom.
Taylor did not appreciate this approach, and early on told Parcells, "I've had enough.