New York Giants: 30 greatest players in franchise history

Eli Manning, New York Giants. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images
Eli Manning, New York Giants. Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images /
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New York Giants
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31. . Safety. 1955-66. Jimmy Patton. 17. player

Sensational safeties aren’t easy to come by, and they probably weren’t any more common during the 1950s and ’60s. However, in the case of Jimmy Patton, the Giants stumbled upon one of the greatest safeties they’ve ever known in the eighth round of the 1955 NFL Draft.

Patton, one of the league’s premier ballhawks during his time, was a star from the get-go. Immediately stepping into a starting role, he got his feet wet for a few years before finally hitting his stride as the playmaker who belongs among the greatest players in Giants history.

From 1958 to 1962, Patton made the Pro Bowl and All-Pro team every year. During the same time frame, he hauled in 37 of his 52 career interceptions, including a league-leading 11 picks in 1958.

Although he still fell well short of earning the top spot on the Giants’ career interceptions list, Patton didn’t leave any doubt of his coverage abilities.

Patton’s excellent footwork and reliable hands made him a menace in the New York secondary. His overall production and the fear he struck in opposing passers was proof that he is and always will be among the greatest defensive backs to ever suit up for the Giants.