By Michael Stewart
Introduction: With the 2018 NFL draft just a few days away and the Giants selecting 2nd overall for only the second time since 1981. I began thinking how many times have the Giants selected within the top 5 of the 1st round? Since the Giants have a long history in the NFL (since 1925), I decided to only go come to 1970 to see how many times they were in that position and who was taken. After extensive research, I came away with a good list of prospects that were drafted in the top 10 by the Giants; which resulted in good and bad selections: Therefore; here is my list of the Top 3 best and worse draft picks taken in the top 10:
- DE-Cedric Jones (Oklahoma) Selected 5th overall: Jones currently has the top honors of being the worse top 10 draft pick in New York Giants history. The Giants already had Michael Strahan anchored on one side and were looking to find a DE to compliment him to form arguably the best pair of Defensive ends in the league. Well, that never took off as Jones was a disappointment from day 1 and never came close to earning that 1st round selection honor.
- OT-Ereck Flowers (Miami) Selected 9th overall: Flowers career can still be savaged, however; he has earned the award as the Giants second worse top 10 pick of all-time. Flowers has never progressed the way the Giants had hoped, showing small samples of what they had vision, but for the most part a complete bust. Flowers is still young enough to turn it around, however; it’s highly unlikely that he will in a Giants uniform.
- OG-John Hicks (Ohio State) Selected 3rd overall: Hicks was a two-time All-American at Ohio State and named to the 1st team All Big 10 twice. He won both the Outland Trophy and the Lombardi Award as a senior; and finished 2nd in the Heisman voting; which no offensive lineman has done then or since. After a solid rookie season, Hicks won NFC Rookie of the Year and seemed to be on his way to a hall of fame career. However; in 1976 and only 27 years old, the Giants traded him to the Steelers and Hicks never played a single snap again.
- OLB-Lawrence Taylor (North Carolina) Selected 2nd overall: This was a no-brainer and the best player in New York Giants history hands down. Taylor made an immediate impact for the Giants in his rookie season; revolutionizing the outside linebacker position and leading the Giants to the playoffs. Taylor terrorized and dominated the league; often having opposing Offensive Coordinators designing game plans involving Taylor. Former Redskins head Coach Joe Gibbs created the HB position because of Taylor to help utilize an extra blocker against him.
- QB-Eli Manning (Ole Miss) Selected 1st overall by Chargers/traded to the Giants: OK, the Giants didn’t originally draft Manning, but they immediately traded for him by surrendering their 4th selection (QB Philip Rivers and a slew of picks) so I’m including him on this list. Manning has rewarded the Giants with two Super Bowl Victories, both against the Patriots and was named MVP in each game. Manning will finish his career as the Giants all-time passer in many categories and should end up with a gold jacket in Canton.
- QB-Phil Simms (Morehead State) Selected 7th overall: Many questioned GM George Young’s selection of Phil Simms out of a small college school; despite the fact the Giants needed a young talented quarterback for the future. Simms started to show signs and showed improvement each season until an injury in the 1983 season, limited him to only two games. However; Simms returned in 1984 in good health and never looked back and performed the way GM George Young had envisioned. Simms help lead the Giants to a Super Bowl victory against the Denver Broncos by completing 22 of 25 passes for 268 yards and 3 touchdowns; which included 10 in a row.
Final Thoughts: Will the selection of this year’s pick make either top 3 list above? Hopefully; for the Giants sake, it will be under the best picks. GM Dave Gettleman was part of many of the picks mentioned above and understand the importance of getting this selection right. Historically; Gettleman has never traded up or back in the 1st round and unless he is totally blown away, don’t expect him to change that philosophy anytime soon. It’s still unclear which direction Gettleman and the Giants are leaning to; could it be a quarterback or a position player? Whoever Gettleman decides on, let’s hope that this player does indeed have a hall of fame career with the Giants and ends up on this list as one of the best top 3 picks of all-time.