The New York Giants have not hid from the expectations that come with the No. 2 pick they currently hold in this year's NFL draft, which begins Thursday.
"When we set the board and have our conversations, [the question you ask is], is that guy worth being the second pick in the draft? Can we picture him someday maybe putting on a gold jacket?" Giants general manager Dave Gettleman said last month, referring to the standard of football immortality with induction to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. "You have to think that way. You can't draft anybody with the second pick hoping."
Of course, the last time the Giants picked second overall, they essentially set the standard by selecting Lawrence Taylor, who became the greatest player in team history and put himself in the conversation for the best defensive player the NFL has seen.
So what should the Giants anticipate regarding the quality of prospects they can land in this position? Here is our ranking of those taken No. 2 over the last 10 years:
1. 2011: Von Miller, Denver Broncos
The MVP of Super Bowl 50 is a feared edge rusher and considered one of the top defenders in the NFL. Miller has been selected to six Pro Bowls and is a six-time All-Pro, including three first-team nods. He's earned everything to come his way after being taken one spot behind Cam Newton.
2. 2010: Ndamukong Suh, Detroit Lions
Suh is a polarizing figure, but there's no denying his dominance when he flips that switch. He's a five-time All-Pro, including three times as a first-teamer. He could take that level of play to new heights in Los Angeles this season when he pairs with Aaron Donald and the Rams. Suh has been the highest paid defensive player in NFL history with the Dolphins, and at his best, few linemen on that side of the ball can approach his talent.
3. 2008: Chris Long, St. Louis Rams
The 10-year pro was finally rewarded with back-to-back Super Bowl titles in New England and Philadelphia. The son of Hall of Famer Howie Long has 63.5 career sacks and he's been a respected player, even now as he has become a rotational player. He has put together a solid career, but without a Pro Bowl appearance, in addition to injuries that slowed him with the Rams, Long will draw his share of criticism in this spot — especially when you consider the Atlanta Falcons took Matt Ryan with the No. 3 pick.
4. 2016: Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
At the start of last season, there was some doubt about Wentz after an inconsistent end to his rookie season. He ultimately went out and performed on the level of the league's elite passers, entering the NFL MVP conversation before a knee injury halted his season. Wentz was then forced to watch Nick Foles lead the Eagles to Super Bowl LII, and their first Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Entering the 2018 season, Wentz remains the franchise quarterback in Philadelphia. Judging by the small sample size, the Eagles made the right move packaging all those draft assets to move up and select Wentz. It will be very interesting to see where his trajectory goes from here, because we've seen serious injuries derail careers just as they are getting started.
5. 2015: Marcus Mariota, Tennessee Titans
The former Oregon star was drafted behind Tampa Bay's Jameis Winston and became one of the most popular players in the league. Last season — his third — represented a step forward for Mariota as he helped the Titans reach the playoffs. His aggressive style leaves him open for injury risk, as his sophomore season ended with a fractured leg in Week 15. Still, Mariota has thrown for 58 touchdowns and 9,476 yards with 34 interceptions, and he is in position to take another leap this season.
6. 2012: Robert Griffin III, Washington Redskins
RG3's success as a rookie was supposed to set the Redskins up for NFC East dominance, but a knee injury derailed that train quickly. He was the NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year ahead of Andrew Luck and set records for highest passer rating by a rookie quarterback (102.4) and highest touchdown to interception ratio (4:1).
As fast as his star soared, Griffin flamed out over the next two seasons when injuries and inconsistency led to the rise of Kirk Cousins in Washington and his departure. Griffin has tried to return to a role in the league, but never gained any traction in Cleveland. He's now with the Baltimore Ravens hoping to back up Joe Flacco.
7. 2017: QB Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
It's still too early to see where Trubisky lands, but the Bears moved up to get the quarterback out of North Carolina, making him their franchise guy. He could easily jump in this list with more production this season, expected to be his first full slate as the starter in Chicago.
8. 2013: OT Luke Joeckel, Jacksonville Jaguars
Considered the most polished lineman in his class, Joeckel started out at right tackle and moved to the blind side — his natural position — a month into his rookie season. Central Michigan's Eric Fisher was drafted No. 1 overall ahead of him. Eagles standout lineman Lane Johnson was drafted No. 4 overall, so both the Chiefs and Jaguars missed terribly. Joeckel has started all 50 games in which he has played in the NFL, including 11 games for the Seattle Seahawks last season. He is currently a free agent.
9. 2014: OT Greg Robinson, St. Louis Rams
Robinson never panned out with a tenure with the Rams filled with injuries and penalties. He was the highest drafted Auburn offensive lineman in school history and has bounced around along the line with the Rams and then the Detroit Lions trying to tap into that unrealized potential. When the Rams look back and see that the Falcons nabbed LT Jake Matthews sixth overall that same year, team brass must get ill.
10. 2009: OT Jason Smith, St. Louis Rams
The Rams signed Smith to a six-year contract worth up to $61 million with $33 million in guarantees to be their left tackle of the future. He barely played left tackle in their presence, starting off at right tackle and suffering a concussion that caused him to miss the final month of his rookie season. The following year, he was beaten out by Rodger Saffold and spent just four seasons total in the NFL, finishing out his time in the league as a member of the practice squad with the New Orleans Saints and New York Jets (2013).
About the Author
Credit: Fulton County / YouTube