- Ohm Youngmisuk, ESPN Staff Writer
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The assignment was to rate the five best Giants draft classes of all time.
This was no easy task. The Giants are a storied franchise with numerous Hall of Famers who span several decades.
There were at least a dozen or more draft classes worthy of being in the argument for the top five, such as 1956 (Sam Huff and Jim Katcavage), 2003 (Osi Umenyiora, David Diehl and David Tyree), 1997 (Ike Hilliard and Tiki Barber) and 2005 (Corey Webster, Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs) just to name a few.
But after agonizing over this long and hard, here are our top five classes:
1. 1984 (Coach: Bill Parcells)
Skinny: The last linebacker the Giants used a first-round pick on proved to be well worth the price. Members of the Class of ’84 helped the Giants win two Super Bowls. This draft also produced a Super Bowl XXV-winning quarterback in Hostetler. And even though he never played for them, the Giants drafted Hall of Fame tackle Gary Zimmerman in the supplemental draft that year.
2. 1981 (Coach: Ray Perkins)
Notables: LB Lawrence Taylor (1), G Billy Ard (8), LB Byron Hunt (9).
Skinny: Any draft class that produces arguably the greatest defensive player of all time is worth putting up against any other Giants draft in the franchise’s storied history. And the fact that the Giants got L.T. after George Rogers with the second overall pick makes it all the better. Ard and Hunt also were contributors to Super Bowl XXI. This class was voted as champion of Giants.com's "Draft Class Challenge" by fans.
3. 2004 (Coach: Tom Coughlin)
Skinny: Ernie Accorsi made the blockbuster trade that led to two more Super Bowl trophies for the franchise, acquiring the first pick in the draft and Eli Manning for the fourth pick (Rivers) and picks that resulted in linebacker Shawne Merriman and kicker Nate Kaeding. Snee has been rock solid with four Pro Bowl appearances. Wilson and Torbor were both on the Super Bowl XLII roster.
4. 1993 (Coach: Dan Reeves)
Skinny: The Giants did not own a first-round pick in this draft, yet they struck gold with their initial pick (40th overall) and came away with a future Hall of Famer in Strahan. Strahan led the Giants to two Super Bowls (XXXV and XLII) and was a five-time first-team All-Pro, seven-time Pro Bowler, NFL Defensive Player of the Year and the franchise’s career sacks leader. And with their final pick in the draft, the Giants drafted Armstead, who was a five-time Pro Bowler, four-time All-Pro and started 98 games while helping the Giants reach Super Bowl XXXV.
5. 2007 (Coach: Tom Coughlin)
Skinny: Jerry Reese’s first draft as GM produced three players who helped the Giants win two Super Bowls (XLII and XLVI), two Pro Bowl selections and the No. 6 all-time rusher in Giants history. Ross contributed to two Super Bowl victories and Smith was clutch in Super Bowl XLII and set the franchise record for most receptions in a season (107 in 2009). Alford had a big sack on Tom Brady in Super Bowl XLII. DeOssie is the special teams captain and has won two Super Bowls and appeared in two Pro Bowls. Boss was the Giants’ starting tight end for three seasons. Johnson started 35 games for the Giants and Bradshaw is one of the franchise’s all-time draft steals. Selected 250th overall, he won two Super Bowls and will be considered as one of the franchise’s toughest players.
Now it's your turn. Tell us your top five Giants' draft classes of all-time below.