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Who was the best 4th-round draft selection?

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Let's continue our look at New York Giants' drafts since 1970. Today, we move to the fourth round.

Look at fourth-round choices in that time period and there are only three players worthy of consideration as the 'best' fourth-round choice of what I have loosely defined as the modern era.

  • Harry Carson
  • Mark Bavaro
  • Brandon Jacobs

There are a couple of other notable names on the list -- linebacker Gary Reasons, quarterback Danny Kanell and safety Gibril Wilson -- but only those three have been true impact players.

Let's look at the case for each player.

Harry Carson (MLB, 1976)

Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2006. Along with Sam Huff, one of the two best middle linebackers in Giants' history. From his Giants.com bio, Carson was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, a two-time all-NFL player and led the Giants in tackles six times. Carson was a tremendous run defender and an anchor of the Giants' defense for 13 seasons.

Mark Bavaro (TE, 1984)

Simply put, the best tight end the Giants have ever had. Yes, including Jeremy Shockey. Bavaro's receiving numbers are dwarfed by Shockey's, but that is a product of the way the tight end was used during Bavaro's career rather than their ability levels. Bavaro, a two-time Pro Bowler could do everything Shockey did during his heyday -- catching, running with the ball and being a devastating blocker -- without the histrionics. In fact, almost without ever saying a word.

Brandon Jacobs (RB, 2005)

The big fella is the heart and soul of the Giants' offense -- whether or not Plaxico Burress is a part of the team. He has gained more than 1,000 yards and averaged exactly 5.0 yards per carry in each of the past two seasons. He sets the aggressive, physical tone for the Giants' offense and they aren't the same without him. Doesn't have the long-term pedigree of Bavaro or Carson, but he might if he can stay healthy long enough.