Since George Young took over as general manager of the New York Giants in 1979, the franchise has enjoyed enormous success. Young was succeeded by Ernie Accorsi, who was succeeded by Jerry Reese. All three men have made some stellar personnel moves over the years. And believe it or not, two of the top draft picks in franchise history (according to this list, at least) actually came before 1979.

There were some close calls that didn’t make the cut. You be the judge:

1. LB LAWRENCE TAYLOR, 1981, Round 1 (2nd overall)
Getting LT with the second overall pick was a no-brainer – the Saints were one of only two NFL teams that did not have Taylor ranked as the best player in the draft, and they had the top pick (and took RB George Rogers). But the pick didn’t come without some drama. Taylor’s agent was demanding big money, and some veteran Giants were threatening to boycott if a rookie came in and made more money than them before playing a game. But Young was unfazed – declaring that Taylor was a better prospect than Dick Butkus. As usual, Young was right. Off-field issues notwithstanding, Taylor went on to be the greatest player in team history.
2. QB PHIL SIMMS, 1979, Round 1 (7th overall)
No doubt Simms endured growing pains and took a while to establish himself – heck, Bill Parcells once picked Scott Brunner over him as the starter. But the fair-haired Simms became a star. More notably, he is the symbol of a franchise’s resurrection. Following the infamous “Miracle at the Meadowlands,” the most devastating loss in Giants history, the front office was blown up. Young was brought in and Simms was his first draft pick. The rest, as they say, is history.
One interesting side note: Another smart personnel guy who really liked Simms in that draft was San Francisco 49ers coach Bill Walsh. Simms, from tiny Morehead State, was not expected to be such a high draft pick. Walsh was targeting Simms for the third round. And if Simms had lasted that long, the 49ers would have taken him instead of the quarterback they “settled” on: Joe Montana.
3. DE MICHAEL STRAHAN, 1993, Round 2 (40th overall)
The Giants didn’t have a first-round pick in ’93, but they sure made up for it with this pick. Strahan’s small-school background (Texas Southern) is what kept him on the board this long. He didn’t blossom right away, but when his 15-year career was over, he ended up with 141.5 sacks (including an NFL-record 22.5 in 2001). Next year, he’ll be in Canton.
4. LB HARRY CARSON, 1976, Round 4 (105th overall)
Despite the presence of Lawrence Taylor, former Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick called Carson the best linebacker he ever coached. Carson was a rock in the middle of those great Giants defenses, going to nine Pro Bowls in his 13 NFL seasons and eventually landing in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
5. DE GEORGE MARTIN, 1975, Round 11, 262nd overall)
Talk about return on investment. For a player drafted 262nd overall, Martin missed just six games in 14 seasons (all with the Giants). He set an NFL record for defensive linemen with six career defensive touchdowns (a mark since broken by Jason Taylor), and he was a team captain in Super Bowl XXI, in which he sacked John Elway for a safety.

6. TE MARK BAVARO, 1985, Round 4 (100th overall)
Forget about the stats. Bavaro’s toughness and determination epitomized the two Super Bowl-winning teams he was a part of. Remember the catch-and-run Bavaro made in a 1986 Monday night game against San Francisco – when he dragged a half-dozen 49ers on his back for 20 yards? If that were the only play he ever made, Bavaro would have been worth that fourth-round draft pick.
7. DE JASON PIERRE-PAUL, 2010, Round 1 (15th overall)
The ultimate example of the draft’s “best available athlete” philosophy. By all accounts, Pierre-Paul was a project who needed time to develop. By all accounts, the defensive line was a strength for the Giants. But Reese couldn’t pass on drafting a potential star, and it didn’t take long at all for Pierre-Paul to pay dividends. After just two seasons, he’s become a force to reckon with. Making this pick even more impressive: Some draftniks had the Giants taking Georgia Tech DE Derrick Morgan, a more polished prospect; Morgan went to Tennessee with the very next pick, but he is nowhere near Pierre-Paul’s class.
8. RB JOE MORRIS, 1982, Round 2 (45th overall)
After taking a running back with their first-round pick in ’82 – Butch Woolfolk of Michigan – it seemed odd that the Giants came back with another RB in the second. Good thing they did. Woolfolk did little in three seasons with the Giants. Morris, meanwhile, scored 21 rushing touchdowns in 1985 and then rushed for 1,516 yards a year later.
9. RB AHMAD BRADSHAW, 2007, Round 7 (250th overall)
When it comes to players from Marshall whose draft stock dropped due to off-field issues, Randy Moss has nothing on Bradshaw. At least Moss was still a first-round pick. Bradshaw was the 26th and final running back drafted in ’07. All he’s done since then is average 4.6 yards per carry and help the Giants win a pair of Super Bowls.
10. RB DAVID MEGGETT, 1989, Round 5 (132nd overall)
Bill Parcells was actually pissed when Giants GM George Young picked this undersized (5-7) all-purpose back. But the Tuna grew to love the versatile Meggett – so much so that he brought him along on his next two coaching stops, New England and the Jets.