New York Giants: Top 10 Draft Classes In Franchise History
By Neal Lynch
If you’ve been keeping up with us, we’ve been taking a look back at the New York Giants draft history with rankings of the top 10 draft picks by round. Now, we’re looking at the best draft classes in franchise history.
In putting together this comprehensive countdown of the all-time top Giants draft classes, one thing’s for sure: The ’70s were pretty brutal. There were 140 draft picks in that decade and not one draft class made our rankings.
The Class of 1970 gave us linebackers Pat Hughes and Jim Files. Class of 1972 gave us defensive lineman John Mendenhall, 1973 brought in linebackers Brian Kelley and Brad Van Pelt, and ’75 saw defensive end George Martin join the crew. Then, Harry Carson had his name called in 1976 to start “The Crunch Bunch”. DB Terry Jackson was selected in ’78, then Earnest Gray and Phil Simms closed out the decade of dismay. Ten prospects out of 140 that became successful starters in the NFL. That’s 7 percent.
I’d like to say that I don’t envy Jerry Reese, but I would take his job in a hot sec. Drafts of yesteryear came with anywhere from 14 to 30 picks, so it’s easy to cite that in letting Reese off the hook since he’s typically given seven or fewer. But, one can’t deny there’s a direct correlation between high quality draft picks – in ALL rounds – and games won.
Since Reese’s first draft in 2007 – one in which almost all picks contributed to the improbable Super Bowl championship that season – the Giants have had seven Pro Bowl selections (Zak DeOssie twice, Steve Smith, Jason Pierre-Paul twice, and Odell Beckham, Jr. twice) and one First-Team All-Pro (Jason Pierre-Paul). That’s sixty-six picks in all over nine years yielding 24 starters. Only eight starters have started four or more seasons. Comparing that run to the ’70s, well, 1.5% – 3% of picks have gone on to be considered top-level players: OBJ and JPP. That’s WORSE than the ’70s, folks.
Of course, the last three drafts have shown rays of hope with Justin Pugh and Johnathan Hankins in 2013, Odell Beckham, Jr, Weston Richburg, and Devon Kennard in 2014, and Ereck Flowers and Landon Collins in 2015. The case for trading down in this year’s draft to get more picks might just benefit Reese and the Giants in the long-run.
So, which draft classes made our rankings? Let’s start with the honorable mentions…
Next: HONORABLE MENTIONS