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Round Table - Which 10 players from Giants’ history would you build around?

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If you were building a team with all of the Giants’ history to choose from, would you build around?

NFL: New York Giants at Denver Broncos Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

New York Giants football is back!

Actually, as I write this, there have already been a week of full practices. Considering the length of the 2019 news cycle, football has been back for forever by now.

But according to the calendar it’s only just now August, and therefore still the summer and opening kick-off is still more than a month away. So I wanted to take some time away from the granular, frame-by-frame tea leaf reading of training camp and have a bit of fun. ESPN asked 55 experts to pick 10 players from the current NFL to build around for the next three years. Saquon Barkley was chosen by 24 of the 55 experts (Ezekiel Elliott was chosen by 19 experts, and 22 didn’t pick a single running back)

That idea (and that Barkley was one of the 10 players who received the most votes) got me thinking and I decided to pose the following question to the rest of the BBV staff:

If you could pick 10 players from Giants’ history (and have them in their prime) to build around, who would they be?

Patricia Traina

My 10 picks in no particular order would be linebackers Lawrence Taylor, Harry Carson and Sam Huff; offensive linemen Mel Hein and Rosie Brown; defensive end Michael Strahan; quarterback Eli Manning, receiver Homer Jones, running back Saquon Barkley and defensive back Emlen Tunnell.

My mix of legacy and modern day players is the result of my having done some extensive research into the greatest men to ever wear a Giants uniform. Although the game has changed so much over the years, the contributions and career achievements of my choices were pretty spectacular at the time and are definitely “franchise building worthy” in my eyes.

Chris Pflum

  1. Fran Tarkenton (QB)
  2. Odell Beckham Jr. (WR)
  3. Hakeem Nicks (WR)
  4. Rich Seubert (OL)
  5. Lawrence Taylor (EDGE)
  6. Michael Strahan (EDGE)
  7. Harry Carson (iLB)
  8. Leonard Marshall (DL)
  9. George Martin (DL)
  10. Damon Harrison (NT)

Coaching staff: HC/DC - Bill Belichick, OC - Sean Payton.

Honorable Mentions: Eli Manning, Chris Snee, Shaun O’Hara, Kareem McKenzie, Tiki Barber, Jeremy Shockey, Mark Bavaro, Saquon Barkley, Amani Toomer, Victor Cruz, Carl Banks, Kenny Phillips, Corey Webster, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre-Paul, Keith Hamilton, Osi Umenyiora

Raptor’s Thoughts

This is my party so I decided to include coaches, and with Darth Hoodie running the show while Payton does his thing on offense, this thing will be fun to watch.

I decided to build at team to compete in the modern NFL for the next 3 years, as in the original ESPN piece.

We’ll start with the QB position, and while Eli is the best QB in Giants’ history (and Tarkenton played most of his career with the Minnesota Vikings) I thought it would be interesting to bring his mobility to the 21st century. In this era where Air Raid and spread option concepts are flooding the NFL from the college ranks, Tarkenton’s ability to win with his legs and arm — and being relatively accurate in an era before pass interference was a thing — would play even better than it did in his time. For weapons, I gave him the two best receivers in Giants’ history in OBJ and Nicks. Both players are excellent route runners with phenomenal hands and the ability to simply ignore coverage. For a while I had Chris Snee in my lineup, but I decided to go with Suebert because he was the heart and soul of that dominant offensive line and could play a variety of positions.

Moving to the defensive side of the ball, I couldn’t not go with LT and Stray. Likewise, Belichick once named Carson as the best player he has ever coached, so he is definitely going to be on my team. On the defensive line, I wanted a couple more sack artists (as if LT and Strahan didn’t give you enough in a pass-happy NFL). Hamilton is third on the Giants’ all-time sack list despite playing defensive tackle, and George Martin is top-10 (8th) despite sacks not being an official stat for half of his career. I really wanted to include Kenny Phillips to represent the secondary, as I still believe that he was on his way to joining Eric Weddle (and eventually Earl Thomas) as one of the very best safeties in the NFL when his career was cut short by his knee issues. But instead I just had to go with Damon Harrison. If I’ve got all those pass rushers flying around, I want to give at least one of them a one-on-one or a free run into the backfield. Snacks has been the best nose tackle in the NFL for most of a decade now and shows no signs of slowing down. His ability to command double-teams on the inside and dominate in run defense would open things up for the players around him.

My team might be a little defense-heavy, but you go where the talent takes you.

All in all, something old, something new, and something borrowed for something blue.

Ed Valentine

When the question is involving choosing 10 players from Giants’ history, you simply cannot cut off everything that happened before the Super Bowl era of the NFL. The Giants had a glorious and championship-filled legacy before the Super Bowl came around, and players from that era deserve to be included in a list such as this one. You just have to base a list like this one on what players did in their own eras, not on how they would fare now.

To be honest, I haven’t researched Giants’ history to the extent Patricia Traina, who will soon be out with a historical Giants’ book, has. I have, though, spent a fair amount of time familiarizing myself with pre-Super Bowl era Giants’ players and teams.

My list

Modern era: Lawrence Taylor (best player in franchise history); Harry Carson (great player, incomparable leader of men); Eli Manning (best quarterback in franchise history); Saquon Barkley (great call by Pat to include Barkley, and I will go with it), Michael Strahan, Odell Beckham Jr. (I just don’t know how you ignore the production from his first three season).

Legacy players: Mel Hein, Emlen Tunnell, Andy Robustelli, Sam Huff

In terms of legacy players, if you don’t know much about these guys, go the Hall of Fame page listing Giants in the Hall and begin to learn. By the way, for the old-timers out there, it was hard — really hard — leaving Roosevelt Brown off this list.