Giants' best draft pick became best defensive player of all time

The all-time list of New York Giants draft picks includes Hall of Famers, Super Bowl champions and Pro Bowlers. From Tuffy Leemans in 1936 to Odell Beckham Jr. in 2014, each decade seems to offer a candidate for the honor of best Giants pick ever. But as proud a history as this franchise has, no single pick has impacted the game as much as Lawrence Taylor, the No. 2 overall pick in 1981.

Why Taylor is the best draft pick in Giants history: Because he's the best defensive player in NFL history -- maybe the best player, period. Sacks weren't an official stat until Taylor's second year, but he was credited with 132.5 of them in the regular season and 8.5 more in his postseason games, which included the Giants' runs to the Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV titles. Taylor's freakish, relentless ability changed the way offenses schemed to protect quarterbacks and the way defenses ended up scheming to pursue them. In 1986, he had 20.5 sacks and was named the league's MVP -- the first defensive player to win the award since 1971. No defensive player has won it since.


Phil Simms, QB: The seventh overall pick in 1979, Simms was a somewhat obscure quarterback from Morehead State. Even though it took him a while to get going, Simms developed into the quarterback and on-field leader who helped deliver the Giants' first Super Bowl title with what still stands as one of the greatest individual performances in Super Bowl history.

Eli Manning, QB: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Technically, the Giants didn't draft Manning. They took Philip Rivers No. 4 overall in 2004 and traded him to San Diego for Manning, who went No. 1. But calling Rivers the Giants' first-round pick in 2004 is just being difficult. Manning is the guy they took that year, and he has been a Super Bowl MVP twice.

Roosevelt Brown, OT: Plucked out of the 27th round in 1953, Brown made nine Pro Bowls and was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He's one of the greatest draft steals of all time.