2020 NFL Draft: Giants greatest picks, values, and whiffs

By Joe Pantorno

With the 2020 NFL Draft beginning on Thursday night from Roger Goodell’s basement (8 p.m. ET, ESPN), the Giants are on the verge of picking up a franchise-altering talent with the No. 4 pick.

There are plenty of options on the table to address a necessary team need, whether it’s at linebacker or offensive tackle, so chances are Dave Gettleman gets the job done.

But draft day has had varying amounts of success for the Giants over the years — much like most teams in the NFL.

So while we wait for Goodell to virtually announce the first pick of the night, let’s take a look back at some of the best — and worst — moments for the Giants in past drafts.

Greatest picks

1952- Frank Gifford, HB/WR, USC, 1st round, pick #11: One of the golden boys of the NFL in the 1950s and 60s, Gifford helped revolutionize the game with his versatile play. He won a championship in 1956, made eight Pro Bowls and still ranks third on the franchise’s all-time list in receiving yards.

1956- Sam Huff, LB, West Virginia, 3rd round, pick #30: A five-time Pro Bowler, the Hall-of-Famer Huff won a championship in his rookie season with the Giants and is still considered one of the toughest linebackers to ever play the game.

1976- Harry Carson, LB, South Carolina St., 4th round, pick #105: Before there was Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks, there was Harry Carson patrolling the Giants’ defense. The nine-time Pro Bowler is enshrined in Canton after a 13-year playing career, all with Big Blue.

1979- Phil Simms, QB, Morehead St., 1st round, pick #7: Simm’s selection was a controversial one at the time, but he developed into the greatest quarterback in franchise history until Eli Manning came along.

1981- Lawrence Taylor, LB, North Carolina, 1st round, pick #2: The greatest linebacker in the history of the NFL, Taylor struck fear into the hearts of opponents while helping the Giants become one of the more successful teams of the late 80s and early 90s.

1993- Michael Strahan, DE, Texas Southern, 2nd round, pick #40: Strahan developed from an unknown pass rusher to one of the greatest sack artists of all-time. His 141.5 sacks rank first in team history and his 22.5 QB takedowns in 2001 is the most in a single season ever.

1996- Amani Toomer, WR, Michigan, 2nd round, pick #34: He wasn’t the flashiest receiver or the loudest, but Toomer was one of the most consistent. He ranks first in franchise history in receptions (668), receiving yards (9,497), and receiving touchdowns (54).

1997- Tiki Barber, RB, Virginia, 2nd round, pick #36: It took Tiki a while to get the ball rolling in New York, but after three seasons of limited use in the backfield, he became a star, posting six 1,000-yard seasons in the final seven years of his career. He is the only Giant to rush for over 10,000 yards in his career.

 

Best value picks (4th Round or later)

1953- Rosey Brown, OT, Morgan St., 27th round, pick #322: Roosevelt Brown went from a 27th-round draft pick to a Hall of Famer and the greatest offensive lineman in team history, spending 13 seasons with the Giants, accruing nine Pro Bowl selections and six All-Pro nods.

1975- George Martin, DE, Oregon, 11th round, pick #262: Only Eli Manning, Michael Strahan, and Howard Cross have played more games for the Giants than George Martin (201). He spent 14 years with the Giants, won a Super Bowl, and recorded 46 sacks in his final seven years with the team.

1985- Mark Bavaro, TE, Notre Dame, 4th round, pick #100: Bavaro is one of the fan favorites amongst Giants fans. A hard-nosed, all-business tight end, the Notre Dame product was one of the toughest guys in football to bring down.

1993- Jessie Armstead, LB, Miami (FL), 8th round, pick #207: Armstead ranks fourth in tackles in franchise history since the stat began getting recorded. The five-time Pro Bowler helped Strahan and the Giants develop an imposing defense during their run to an NFC Championship in 2000.

2005- Brandon Jacobs, RB, Southern Illinois, 4th round, pick #110: Jacobs took the torch from Barber and ran with it. The bruising back ranks fourth on the franchise’s all-time rushing list and won a pair of Super Bowls.

2008- Ahmad Bradshaw, RB, Marshall, 7th round, pick #250: Bradshaw eclipsed the 1,000-yard mark twice in his career and added a dynamic complement to Jacobs in the Giants’ backfield. He’ll forever be remembered for his accidental game-winner in Super Bowl XLVI against the Patriots.

Biggest whiffs
1958: With the 12th pick of the draft, the Giants took halfback Phil King out of Vanderbilt. He would rush for just 1,725 yards in six years with the team. Three picks later, the Green Bay Packers selected Hall-of-Fame fullback, Jim Taylor.

1965: The Giants opted to take Auburn’s Tucker Fredrickson with the No. 1 overall pick of the draft. Like King, he’d also last just six seasons and run for a little over 2,200 yards. Quite a miss when the Chicago Bears took a pair of Hall-of-Famers with the Nos. 3 and 4 picks in linebacker Dick Butkus and running back Gale Sayers. If not for injuries, Sayers might be considered one of the top-three running backs of all-time.

1984 supplemental draft: The Giants had quite a choice to make with the No. 3 pick of the supplemental draft in 1984. They opted to take offensive lineman Gary Zimmerman, who would go on to have a Hall-of-Fame career. The problem was, it wouldn’t be with the Giants as he refused to play for them. With the next pick, the Philadelphia Eagles took the great Reggie White.

1994: The Giants needed a wide receiver in 1994, so they went with Thomas Lewis with the 24th pick out of Indiana. He lasted just four seasons in the league and had 72 career receptions. Nine picks later, the Rams took Isaac Bruce, who ranks fifth in NFL history with 15,208 receiving yards.

1996: Defensive end Cedric Jones never met expectations after he was taken fifth overall in 1996. His shortcomings were only inflamed when Ray Lewis was taken later in the first round by the Ravens.

2000: The emergence of Tiki Barber certainly cushioned this blow, but the Giants never got the most out of Ron Dayne, who was picked 11th overall after winning a Heisman Trophy at Nebraska. The next rusher selected that year? Shaun Alexander of the Seattle Seahawks, who rushed for nearly 9,500 yards in his career.

This story first appeared on amNY.com

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