4. Hakeem Nicks
Position: Wide Receiver
College: North Carolina
Overall Pick: 29
Year Drafted: 2009
Giants fans will scoff at Hakeem Nicks and call him a bust, and to some extent, they may be right. His career declined sharply in 2013, when he caught zero touchdown passes and was subsequently let go and allowed to move to the Colts.
However, Nicks was undeniably a very productive player in his first several seasons in the NFL. In his second NFL season, Nicks caught 10 touchdowns and began to establish himself as a top receiver in the NFL.
In the 2011 postseason, Nicks put his name into eternal Giants lore with three outstanding performances in the postseason.
Against the Falcons in the Wild Card Round, he had 6 catches for 115 yards and 2 touchdowns. In the divisional round, against the 15-1 Packers, he had 7 catches, 165 yards, and 2 more touchdowns, most notably reeling in a 37 yard Hail Mary to end the half:
— Art Stapleton (@art_stapleton) November 17, 2015
Perhaps most importantly, Nicks had 10 catches and 109 yards against the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl. While he was overshadowed by Victor Cruz, who caught a touchdown, and Mario Manningham, who caught that incredible sideline throw from Eli Manning on the final drive, if Nicks doesn’t come up with 10 catches, the Giants might not win that game.
In the first four seasons of his career, Nicks had 27 touchdown receptions, and had over 1,000 yards receiving in two of those four seasons. While the final three years of his career, two with the Giants and one with the Colts, have left a sour taste in fans mouths, Nicks was an incredible asset for the Giants, and was instrumental in their Super Bowl run in 2011.
Looking at his early career production, it is difficult to consider Hakeem Nicks a bust.