The New York Giants have improved their drafting ability over the past 10 years. The Giants now contend with the best teams in the NFL on a year-to-year basis and do so in large part based on their success choosing young players in the NFL's premiere offseason event.
Read on to check out which drafts since 2001 (anyone remember Will Allen?) have been the best (and worst) for the New York Giants.
Unusual for a Giants draft, the team emphasized the secondary early on. CB Will Allen was a first-round pick. Although he started for the Giants for a number of seasons, he never lived up to his expectations.
CB Will James was only better because of his relative value, taken in the third round. Both players were good at times, but never great.
Besides the two cornerbacks, the most notable pick from this draft is backup QB Jesse Palmer (Round 4), made famous by The Bachelor.
Although the Giants started the decade with a poor draft, it would never get worse.
The Giants traded up in the first round of the 2002 draft to pick playmaking tight end Jeremy Shockey. Shockey was a star for the Giants in his first few years on the team, but things fell apart between Shockey and New York after the team made a Super Bowl run without him.
The only other player of note from 2002 was linebacker Nick Greisen (Round 5), who was a significant contributor to a couple of Giants teams in the mid-2000s.
Besides Shockey, this was an incredibly weak draft for the Giants and ranks among their poorest efforts of the decade.
Jason Pierre-Paul (Round 1) wrought havoc on opposing offenses all year. Although the Giants have a ton of defensive linemen, Pierre-Paul gave the Giants another fear-invoking defensive lineman during his rookie season.
The other notable player from the 2010 draft is Matt Dodge (Round 7)—not so much for his success as his failures.
Players like linebacker Phillip Dillard (Round 4) and safety Chad Jones (Round 3, hurt in a car crash in June) still can prove themselves worthy NFL players, but so far Pierre-Paul is the lone gem from the 2010 draft.
This draft receives an incomplete grade because so many of the players have so much of their careers still ahead of them. In a couple of years, this draft will likely rank higher on this list.
The 2006 NFL draft was another year where the Giants took a defensive end in the first round, choosing Mathias Kiwanuka at pick No. 32.
Sinorice Moss was a talented pick in the second round, but never panned out for the Giants. Gerris Wilkinson (Round 3) and Barry Cofield (Round 4) have contributed to Giants teams in the past (and Cofield is still the starting DT).
Other than Kiwanuka, Wilkinson and Cofield, the 2006 draft didn't contain many gems for the Giants. Still, it was a solid draft that produced starting players.
Hakeem Nicks (Round 1) has been outstanding for the New York Giants in his first two seasons. The wide receiver out of the University of North Carolina has become one of the top wide receivers in football.
Ramses Barden's (Round 3) mix of height and talent has tantalized fans for some time, but he has never put it together.
LB Clint Sintim (Round 2) and OT William Beatty (Round 2) have also been contributors to the two Giants teams since the draft, making the 2009 draft a success for GM Jerry Reese thus far.
The 2004 draft was one of the more interesting drafts in recent Giants history with the team trading Philip Rivers (the fourth overall pick) along with a stable of other draft picks for No. 1 overall pick Eli Manning.
While he hasn't moved into the truly elite group of NFL quarterbacks as of yet, Manning has proven to be among the game's best with a Super Bowl MVP already under his belt.
In the second round, the Giants took Chris Snee, a guard who has since made a number of Pro Bowls, despite the added pressure of playing for his father-in-law Tom Coughlin.
The Giants also picked Gibril Wilson (Round 5) in 2004, who started for a couple of seasons at safety and was one of the Giants' better defenders, but has since been moved.
The Giants significantly improved their secondary in the first two rounds of the 2008 NFL draft. Safety Kenny Phillips (Round 1) and cornerback Terrell Thomas (Round 2) have been stalwarts (when healthy) for the Giants defense.
In the third round, the Giants selected WR Mario Manningham, who broke out in 2010 when the Giants starting wide receivers went down.
One of the biggest steals of the draft was Jonathan Goff (Round 5), who replaced Antonio Pierce at middle linebacker this past season. Although Goff was not the vocal leader Pierce was, he stopped the run effectively.
The Giants emphasized the defensive line again in 2003, but it was the second-round pick who made an impact. DE Osi Umenyiora has teamed up with Giants from Michael Strahan to Justin Tuck, forming a formidable pass-rushing attack throughout his career.
DT William Joseph was the first-round pick, but he never panned out for the Giants.
Besides Umenyiora, the most significant pick in 2003 was David Diehl (Round 5) who has been a stalwart for many years along the Giants offensive line.
The Giants also picked up TE Visanthe Shiancoe in the third round, who has gone on to start with the Minnesota Vikings.
And because of his catch in the 2007 Super Bowl, this article would be remiss to forget David Tyree (Round 6), who was mainly a special teams contributor, but came to fame with a timely big play.
Although the Giants only had four picks in the 2005 NFL draft, they made the most of them. After the trade to get Eli Manning the year before, the Giants had few opportunities to pick in 2005.
When they did pick, they chose CB Corey Webster (Round 2), who has started at CB for the Giants; Justin Tuck (Round 3), an All-Pro defensive end; and Brandon Jacobs (Round 4), a running back who has received the lion's share of the carries since he was drafted.
The Giants get high marks for their efficiency in this draft.
It is no coincidence that the season following the Giants' best draft of the past 10 years ended in a Super Bowl victory.
CB Aaron Ross (Round 1), WR Steve Smith (Round 2), DT Jay Alford (Round 3), OLB Zak DeOssie (Round 4), TE Kevin Boss (Round 5) and RB Ahmad Bradshaw (Round 7) all contributed to varying degrees during their rookie seasons.
Bradshaw has become one of the top running backs in the NFL, despite his start as a seventh-round pick. Smith is QB Eli Manning's favorite target on third down and, when healthy, gets more key receptions than any other player on the team.