I enjoyed this exercise by my former colleague Will Brinson, who decided to select each NFL team's worst first-round pick of the past quarter-century. For the New York Giants, he went with a 2000 draft that went badly for a number of teams:
"Ron Dayne, RB, 11th, 2000
"The Giants had a surprisingly terrible stretch in the 90's where they struggled to find talent in the first round. It really all culminated with the selection of Ron Dayne 11th overall in 2000. The mammoth running back from Wisconsin didn't have his talent translate to the next level and rushed for a total of 2,067 yards with the Giants.
Derek Brown, TE, 14th, 1992
Thomas Lewis, WR, 24th, 1997
Cedric Jones, DE, 5th, 1996
William Joseph, DT, 25th, 2003"
Strong pick. By Will, I mean. Not by the Giants.
Who should they have picked? Well, like every other team, they should have taken Michigan quarterback Tom Brady (pictured), who went to the Patriots with the 33rd pick of the sixth round. But we can give them a pass on that one, because obviously nobody knew. Not even the Patriots. Shaun Ellis and John Abraham went to the Jets with the next two picks after the Giants selected Dayne No. 11. And if they were really hot for a running back, Shaun Alexander went to Seattle at No. 19.
That's all ancient history, though I do have one point relevant to the present day (other than the Brady one). It is worth noting that none of Will's honorable mentions have come during Jerry Reese's time as Giants GM. I am very hard on Reese for his draft record, and for good reason. His persistent inability to hit on picks in the middle and late rounds has hollowed out the roster and created the 13-19 mess of the past two seasons. Overall, he has not drafted well.
But he has done pretty well in the first round. Aaron Ross (2007), Kenny Phillips (2008), Hakeem Nicks (2009) and Jason Pierre-Paul (2010) all became quality starters and contributed to the Super Bowl XLVI title. Prince Amukamara (2011) and Justin Pugh (2013) are starters, and Odell Beckham Jr. (2014) is already one of the biggest stars in the league. The only first-round miss during Reese's tenure is David Wilson (2012), and that was because of unforeseeable neck injury problems that forced Wilson's retirement prior to the start of his third season. Wilson was, in fact, one of the best kick returners in the league as a rookie.
So with the first round 17 days away, that should give Giants fans a decent feeling that the team will come out of that night, at least, with a quality player who can help the team succeed. What happens after that is anyone's guess.