By John Turney
|Credit: NFL Films|
In 1972 Mendenhall was drafted by New York Giants in the 3rd round (55th overall) of the draft. He became an immediate starter (and an All-Rookie selection) for the Giants at what they called 'middle guard' and recorded 2½ sacks and displayed good discipline in the middle—enough to allow Gregory to roam free in his "rover" position, which put additional pressure on all the other defensive linemen, including rookie Mendenhall but the scheme worked well in 1972. Mendenhall's 6-1 255 build seemed ideal for that position. And for that era, it was, 255 was more than big enough for a middle guard/nose tackle especially one with Mendenhall's quickness.
Certainly, the Cowboys were impressed—