Has there ever been a more pleasant surprise in New York Giants history than Victor Cruz? 2011 season? If seventh round picks are the NFL draft?s equivalent of lottery tickets, Jerry Reese?s acquisition of the salsa-dancing phenomenon as an undrafted free agent was like winning the lottery without even buying a ticket.
Seventh round picks are the NFL draft equivalent of lottery tickets. They are longshots to contribute, if they even survive final cuts. But every now and then, a seventh round pick makes an impact, bringing many to question why he was not taken earlier in the draft. Case and point: Ahmad Bradshaw.
The 2009 draft had one of the deepest, most talented classes of first round wide receivers of all time.? Aside from Hakeem Nicks, this group included Percy Harvin, Jeremy Maclin, Darius Heyward-Bey, Michael Crabtree and Kenny Britt.? All but Britt were chosen ahead of Nicks.? It has only been three years since then, and while each of these young receivers have experienced some level of success, if this draft were done today, Nicks likely wouldn?t make it out of the top ten.
It took all of my strength to quiet the voice inside my head that said I couldn?t rank a fullback this high.?Don't tell me what to do, brain! Instead, I went with my gut and doled out this top-five ranking to a player who was quietly a key piece in the Giants? championship offense.? I?ll admit that this ranking is extremely aggressive, but it?s based on the fact that I strongly believe Hynoski will be a huge factor in turning the Giants? running game around and allowing the Giants? offense to become the football equivalent of a well balanced breakfast. ?Anyway, what fun is a top ten (or eleven) list without any controversy?
Many draft experts considered Hynoski to be the best fullback in the draft, and no one would have batted an eye if he were a taken in the fourth round.? Seven teams drafted fullbacks, yet for whatever reason, Hynoski was passed over by every one of them. ?We here at Giants Football Blog agreed that Hynoski would be a perfect fit for the Giants, and Jerry Reese was happy to scoop him up as an undrafted free agent. ?Whether Reese was able to read the market on fullbacks, or if he just lucked into this steal is impossible to determine.? Either way, the Giants found a young cornerstone for their running game.
Mario Manningham: Round Three (Pick 95), 2008
Manningham?s story is unlike most of the players you'll find on this type of list; he wasn?t an unknown commodity and he didn't come from a small school. On the contrary, he was a well-known and popular player from one of the biggest football schools in the country. ?"Super Mario" decided to forgo his senior season at Michigan, but still managed to rank in the top ten in terms of receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdowns in school history.? He was considered by most to be a first round prospect.
The year before Steve Smith suffered a season-ending and career-threatening knee injury, the USC product put up one of the greatest receiving seasons in New York Giants history.? Although he has since moved on to an unsuccessful stint with the division rival Eagles, Smith was everything the Giants could have hoped for from the tenth receiver taken in the 2007 draft.
Tags: best picks, Jerry Reese, New York Giants, nfl draft, Steve Smith
Jacquian Williams: 6th Round (Pick 202) , 2011
The general consensus on Williams is that he was a sixth or seventh round pick, so this is the first player that can?t be considered great value. He is another name to throw into the picture at linebacker, though, which I consider the greatest need.
--Rich Resch, April 2011
When it was announced that Terrell Thomas would miss the entire season with a torn ACL, I basically wrote the Giants off. About twenty four hours later, I talked myself back into believing that Big Blue had a chance (turns out I was right!), but the fact is that Thomas had become such an important player that his injury was arguably the biggest hurdle the Giants had to overcome this season.
Over the next few days, I will count down Jerry Reese?s top eleven draft picks / undrafted free agents during his first five years as General Manager of the New York Giants.? My rankings are based on a combination of the talent levels and accomplishments of the player thus far, while also taking their draft position into consideration (if they were drafted at all).
But first, the honorable mentions: