New York Giants fans of more recent vintage like to cite the 2007 draft class, from which almost every pick contributed to that year's Super Bowl championship. Impressive, to get that much out of a rookie class so soon. But the draft is about the long game, which is why, when searching for the best Giants draft class ever, you have to go back to the 1984 draft. That one helped build the first two Super Bowl title teams in Giants history. Here's a look at a few of the key players from that class:
Carl Banks, LB, Michigan State, first round, third overall: Banks played 10 years for the Giants, helped win Super Bowls XXI and XXV and is in the team's Ring of Honor. An all-time franchise great who teamed with 1981 first-rounder Lawrence Taylor for years in a still-legendary linebacker corps, Banks was what a high draft pick should be.
William Roberts, G, Ohio State, first round, 27th overall: A regular starter for nine of his 10 Giants seasons, Roberts played both tackle spots and left guard and was on both of the Bill Parcells Super Bowl teams.
Jeff Hostetler, QB, West Virginia, third round, 59th overall: A backup quarterback who started a grand total of two games in his first six seasons with the Giants. But obviously, that wasn't the story of Hostetler's career. He'll always be remembered as the winning quarterback in Super Bowl XXV. Hostetler subbed in for an injured Phil Simms late that season and started three interception-free postseason games, including the Super Bowl victory over Buffalo.
Gary Reasons, LB, Northwestern State, fourth round, 105th overall: A solid inside linebacker and somewhat regular starter during eight seasons with the Giants, Reasons was on both Parcells Super Bowl teams and had a sack and an interception in the 1986 NFC Championship Game shutout of Washington.
Lionel Manuel, WR, Pacific, seventh round, 171st overall: Played only four games in the 1986 regular season but returned for the playoffs and caught a touchdown pass in that NFC title game against Washington. He played seven seasons in New York, peaking with 65 catches for 1,029 yards in 1988.
Next-best Giants draft classes: Due respect to the 2007 crew, I think you have to look at the 1993 class that produced Hall of Fame defensive end Michael Strahan in the second round (No. 40 overall) and stalwart linebacker Jessie Armstead in the eighth round (207th overall). The '93 class looks even better when you realize the Giants used their first-rounder to take Duke quarterback Dave Brown in the 1992 supplemental draft. Brown was the team's starting quarterback for four years. Hat-tip here also to the 2005 draft. After spending their first- and fifth-rounders the year before in the Eli Manning trade, the Giants had only four picks. They took Corey Webster in the second round, Justin Tuck in the third and Brandon Jacobs in the fourth. Talk about a class that helped build champions.