Linebacker Pepper Johnson was chosen in the second round of the 1986 NFL Draft, 51st overall. He spent seven seasons manning one of the inside slots in the Giants 3-4 defense, and three times had more than 100 tackles. He was named All Pro once as a Giant.
I have to tell the truth here. I originally considered Carl Banks, drafted No. 3 in 1984, for this spot. Compare the careers of the two players, though, and what you find is that Johnson put up far superior numbers. He twice had 115 tackles as a Giant, while Banks' best was 113. Johnson forced nine fumbles in his seven seasons with New York, while Banks had no forced fumbles as a Giant. Johnson had 10 interceptions as a Giant to just three for Banks. Banks did have more sacks (36 in ine seasons to Johnson's 19 in seven).
All in all, I find it pretty much of a no-brainer to say the selection of Johnson -- taken 48 picks later than Banks -- was a bigger success. By the way, this does mean Banks won't be appearing on the list -- in case you hadn't figured that out.
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