When you're compared on draft day to one of the greatest football players of all time, you have a lot to live up to. That's what happened to DeMarcus Ware when Bill Parcells drafted him for the Dallas Cowboys in 2005. I think the reason we don't hear much about Parcells' comparison is that Ware has been so great. Had Ware flopped, it'd be something you'd hear all the time -- "Remember when Parcells said this guy could be like Lawrence Taylor? Har-de-har-har." Something like that.
Instead, Ware has become one of the elite defensive players in the NFL. And Patriots coach Bill Belichick, who was on the Giants' coaching staff under Parcells during Taylor's career, said on a conference call with Cowboys writers that the comparison may be a good one:
"I mean, he's the best player we've faced this year. He does all of the things you want him to do. He's strong against the run. He can rush the passer. He's great in pursuit. He's got power. He's got speed. He's got good technique. He's good in pass coverage. He gets a lot of depth. I mean, he's an asset to your pass coverage, if you want to drop him. I'd say all those same things about Lawrence Taylor. Lawrence had a tremendous career. Ware has had a great --what is it? -- six years or whatever it's been. He's been great in that time and looks like he’s still going strong."
It's tough to imagine higher praise for a defensive player, especially from someone who saw Taylor's brilliant career up-close, as Belichick did. But Todd Archer offers this:
In his first 100 games, Ware has 85 sacks, 25 forced fumbles, three touchdowns and one interception.
In Taylor's first 101 games, he had 84 sacks (including 9.5 as a rookie in 1981 before sacks were an official stat), 16 forced fumbles, eight interceptions and one touchdown.
So, maybe it's not crazy at all. Taylor is credited of course with revolutionizing the position of linebacker, and in some cases with revolutionizing other positions as well. And his contribution to Super Bowl champion teams certainly elevates him above Ware at this point, as does his longevity. But if Ware's career continues on its current path and he ever does find his way to a Super Bowl, this may not be a silly debate when all is said and done.