Lawrence Taylor, 1981 NFL Draft/Pick #2, North Carolina
I’m not sure if anything needs to be said here. Lawrence Taylor is widely considered the best defensive player in NFL history and one that revolutionized the stand up/hybrid linebacker position.
Taylor’s 13-year career with the NY Giants included 10 straight Pro-Bowls from 1981-1990, 8 First-Team All-Pro selections, 2 Super Bowl victories, the 1986 NFL MVP, 3 NFL Defensive Player of the Year awards, and 132.5 career sacks.
He was named to the NFL’s 75 and 100-year anniversary All-Time Teams, is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame, has his No. 56 retired by the franchise, and is a member of the Giants Ring of Honor.
Carl Banks, 1984 NFL Draft/Pick #3, Michigan State
Another critical piece of the Big Blue Wrecking Crew, Banks is one of the best linebackers to ever play for the New York Giants.
In his nine seasons with Big Blue, Banks helped win two Super Bowls and was a Pro-Bowler and First-Team All-Pro selection in 1987. He finished his Giants career with 36 sacks and 627 total tackles. Banks was also selected to the NFL 1980s All-Decade team and is a member of the Giants Ring of Honor.
Jerry Hillebrand, 1962 NFL Draft/Pick #12, Colorado
Not an overly outstanding player, especially compared to the other two linebackers above, but Hillebrand was a solid linebacker for the G-Men from 1963-1966.
During his rookie campaign, Hillebrand recorded five interceptions, a franchise record for interceptions in a season for a linebacker that still stands today (it was tied by Alec Ogletree in 2018). Hillebrand finished his Big Blue career with nine interceptions, with three returned for touchdowns.