ESNY’s New York Giants all-decade team (2010-2019) includes Eli Manning in what turned out to be a strange era.
There he was, No. 10, facing the same opponent in the same situation just four years later. Eli Manning needed a play in the Super Bowl.
He got it. His sideline dart to Mario Manningham backed up a miraculous helmet catch that frequently accompanied words like “fluke” and “lucky.”
No more. That moment in 2012 cemented a quarterback’s legacy and helped kick-off a strange decade for the New York Giants. What unfolded the rest of the decade isn’t really the stuff of legend. Either way, the quarterback’s inclusion on ESNY’s All-Decade team is secure.
This team will follow the same format that either of the Associated Press All-Pro teams follows. This means two wide receivers, a flex offensive spot, a 4-3 defensive formation, a flex defensive back, along with an additional special teams weapon.
QB: Eli Manning
This is pretty obvious. Why wouldn’t it be Eli Manning? The only other quarterbacks to start games for the Giants are Geno Smith and Daniel Jones. I understand if you like Jones over Manning at the quarterback spot right now, but that’s not the point of this.
Manning has started all but 10 games in this entire decade and has led the team to two playoff seasons, including one Super Bowl title. He also made the Pro Bowl three times in this decade (2011, 2012, and 2015). Eli was arguably one of the best quarterbacks in the league for the majority of the 2011 and 2012 seasons.
Eli also surpassed 3,400 passing yards every single season in the 2010s with the exception of this current one, where’s he’s only played in four games.
RB: Saquon Barkley
I understand Saquon Barkley has only been on the team for less than two seasons, but it’s insane what he’s been able to do thus far. This comes despite his rough 2019 campaign.
In his rookie year, the Penn State product rushed for 1,307 yards and 11 touchdowns and also caught 91 balls for 721 yards and four scores through the air. His 2,028 yards from scrimmage led the league. His 91 receptions broke the single-season record for rookie running backs, surpassing Reggie Bush’s 2006 mark of 88.
Barkley was simply a huge bright spot in what was a below-average 5-11 ballclub in 2018. His efforts led him to win the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year, the Pepsi Rookie of the Year, and the FedEx Ground Player of the Year. He was also selected to his first Pro Bowl.
TE: Evan Engram
Evan Engram is a very injury-prone player. When this current season is all said and done, he’ll have missed 14 of his possible 48 career games, which is nearly an entire season. But is there any other tight end this decade that can really be considered the organization’s best?
Engram has been one of the top targets on the field and has been one of the more versatile and athletic tight ends in this league when healthy. He’s averaged 4.5 catches-per-game with 51.9 yards-per-game and .35 touchdowns-per-game throughout his three-year career.
WR1: Odell Beckham Jr.
This one wasn’t too hard to decide. Yes, Odell Beckham Jr. was a bit of a headache and someone that controversy just seemed to follow. But when he buckled that chinstrap and went out onto the field, the kid was a star from the beginning.
He had arguably the best catch any of us have ever seen in our lives. But that, of course, wasn’t all he did. In his first three years in the league (2014-16), he caught 91, 96, and 101 balls, respectively. His 91 receptions in 2014 broke the single-season rookie record for the Giants, and he only played in 12 games that season. It propelled him to win the AP Offensive Rookie of the Year.
He’s the second-leading receiver in franchise history with 5,476 yards. He’s only behind Amani Toomer, who finished with 9,497 yards in his Giants career. Beckham also averaged 92.8 yards-per-game as a Giant while Toomer only averaged 50.0 yards-per-game.
Beckham is also fourth in Giants history with 390 receptions and fourth in touchdowns with 44.
WR2: Victor Cruz
In the pre-OBJ era, Victor Cruz was the most popular receiver for the Giants and was arguably the best. In the Super Bowl 46 year (his second season in the pros), Cruz caught 82 balls for 1,536 yards and 9 touchdowns. The following year, he racked up 86 receptions for 1,092 yards and 10 scores. He was named a Second-team All-Pro and a Pro Bowler in 2011 and 2012, respectively.
WR3 (FLEX): Hakeem Nicks
The former Giants receiver was another factor in the team’s Super Bowl season in 2011. Throughout his tenure, he emerged as one of Eli Manning’s top targets.
Nicks caught 79 balls for 1,052 yards and 11 touchdowns along with 76 balls for 1,192 yards and seven touchdowns in 2010 and 2011, respectively. In the 2011 postseason, he caught four touchdowns in the Wild Card and Divisional rounds.
LT: David Diehl
It’s very clear the Giants haven’t had great left tackles at all in the past few years. Nate Solder has been a bust of a signing, Ereck Flowers was notoriously bad, some fans would like to forget Will Beatty. Therefore, there’s only one guy that should be considered here, and it’s two-time Super Bowl champ David Diehl.
The man is still the best left tackle Eli Manning ever played with. Despite not making a Pro Bowl nor All-Pro team this decade, he helped Big Blue win Super Bowl 46 after missing the postseason two consecutive years.
LG: Justin Pugh
In my opinion, Justin Pugh should be the guy here. Yes, he was injury-prone, but he was solid on the stat sheet nonetheless. From 2015-17 (33 games), he allowed just five total sacks for 31 yards. He also only committed seven penalties in that time for 60 total yards.
C: Weston Richburg
Since the retirement of Shaun O’Hara after the 2010 season, the Giants haven’t had many great options at the center spot. Jon Halapio and Spencer Pulley haven’t been great. Kevin Boothe wasn’t consistent and neither was David Baas.
Weston Richburg played the center position for the Giants from 2015-17, and for a time, was arguably one of the best centers in the league. In those three seasons (35 games), he allowed just one sack (11 yards) and committed six total penalties (60 yards).
RG: Chris Snee
Chris Snee played until 2013 and just within this decade, was a two-time Pro Bowler and one-time Super Bowl champ. He was, without a doubt, the best right guard the Giants have had in the last 15 years.
Through 50 games this decade, Snee allowed just 14 penalties (.28 per game).
RT: Kareem McKenzie
Kareem McKenzie, despite arguably being the worst offensive lineman on that David Diehl-Rich Seubert-Shaun O’Hara-Chris Snee-McKenzie tenured line, is better than any of the other right tackles since he left. Mike Remmers isn’t the answer right now, Chad Wheeler struggled mightily, and Justin Pugh didn’t perform well at tackle like he did at guard.
McKenzie helped propel this team to a Super Bowl 46 title. In 32 games in this decade (16 in both 2010 and 2011), he committed just five total penalties.
EDGE1: Jason Pierre-Paul
The big factor of the 2011 season is the Giants’ pass rush really coming together towards the end of the year. At the forefront of this was Jason Pierre-Paul, a second-year player out of the University of Southern Florida. In that season, he racked up 16.5 sacks, 23 tackles-for-loss, and 28 quarterback hits. His efforts led him to the AP All-Pro First team and the Pro Bowl.
He then went to his second Pro Bowl in 2012, a year in which he finished with 6.5 sacks, 13 tackles-for-loss, and 10 quarterback hits.
EDGE2: Osi Umenyiora
I hate to do this to Justin Tuck, but from an edge-rusher standpoint, Osi Umenyiora was actually more statistically efficient in most categories. Through 41 games this decade, Umenyiora averaged .65 sacks-per-game and .34 forced fumbles-per-game. In 59 games, Tuck averaged .53 sacks-per-game and .14 forced fumbles-per-game. Osi additionally led the league in 2010 with a whopping 10 forced fumbles.
DT1: Linval Joseph
By the time Linval Joseph hit his legitimate prime, he was no longer a Giant. Joseph’s pair of Pro Bowls were in the 2016 and 2017 seasons while with the Minnesota Vikings.
But before those two seasons, he was blossoming into a defensive lineman that would be dominant for years to come. Joseph racked up 59 combined tackles in each of his last two seasons with Big Blue. He also proved to be effective when rushing the quarterback, combining for four sacks and seven quarterback hits along with three sacks and eight quarterbacks in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
DT2: Damon “Snacks” Harrison
Jerry Reese made some questionable moves during his tenure as the Giants general manager from 2007-2017. But Damon “Snacks” Harrison wasn’t one of them. He proved to be one of the more dominant interior linemen in the league early on in his career and continued that during his time with the Giants.
In his initial pair of campaigns with New York (2016 and 2017), he racked up 86 and 76 combined tackles, respectively. He made the AP All-Pro First team in 2016.
LB1: Michael Boley
He only played three years with the Giants in this decade (four total), but Michael Boley was a leader for this defense in each campaign. He also put up some good numbers throughout, racking up 86, 93, and 92 tackles in 2010-12, respectively.
LB2: Chase Blackburn
The veteran linebacker was teaching at a school when the Giants called him towards the end of the 2011 season. He became an unrestricted free agent after the 2010 season, but Big Blue needed help at the linebacker position. From then, Blackburn stepped up big time, especially in the 2011 playoffs.
In that postseason, he racked up 17 tackles, recovered one fumble against the Packers in the divisional round, and picked off Tom Brady in the Super Bowl.
LB3: Mathias Kiwanuka
The Giants drafted Mathias Kiwanuka in the first round of the 2006 NFL Draft, and he played his entire career with Big Blue (through 2014). In this decade (five seasons, 62 games), he racked up a total of 201 combined tackles and 19 sacks. He additionally forced five fumbles in that timespan.
Although he originally started his career as an edge rusher, he slid to the second level to play some SAM in the 4-3 scheme.
CB1: Janoris Jenkins
No, Janoris Jenkins wasn’t really that great this past season. He also recently sent out an offensive tweet that ultimately led to his release. Although, this position has been below-average for this organization in the 2010s, and Jenkins did indeed showcase great talent through the majority of his Giants tenure.
In 2016, Jenkins racked up 49 combined tackles with three interceptions and 18 passes defended. His efforts landed him an invite to the Pro Bowl and named him to the AP All-Pro Second team.
CB2: Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie
People forget Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was one of the leaders of this Giants defense in both 2015 and 2016. The veteran was a Pro Bowler in 2015 and was elected to the AP All-Pro Second team the following season. He was a big part of that 2016 Giants defense that finished 10th in the league with 339.7 yards allowed-per-game. In that season, he racked up 49 combined tackles and six interceptions.
FS: Antrel Rolle
Antrel Rolle was an absolute leader during his Giants tenure (2010-14). In that time, he was a two-time Pro Bowler and Second-team All-Pro (2010 and 2013) and never missed a game.
Rolle racked up 87, 96, 96, 98, and 87 combined tackles in his five seasons with Big Blue, respectively. His 96 tackles in 2011 and 98 tackles in 2013 led the team in each season. Rolle also led the team with a career-high six interceptions in the latter year.
SS: Landon Collins
When Landon Collins was a Giant, he was the so-called “quarterback of the defense.” He was the top defensive player on that 2016 ballclub that reached the postseason.
During his Giants tenure (2015-18), Collins made the Pro Bowl three times (2016-18) and earned himself a First-team All-Pro selection in 2016. In the 2016 campaign, he combined for 125 total tackles, five picks, and 13 passes defended. From the strong safety spot, he was able to elevate those around him, such as Janoris Jenkins and Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie.
DB (FLEX): Corey Webster
Corey Webster was one of the team’s top corners for the better part of a decade, with four of his nine years with the team coming from 2010-13. During this decade alone (51 games), he picked off 14 passes and combined for 174 tackles.
During the 2011 Super Bowl season, he racked up 51 tackles, 17 passes defended and a team-high six picks.
K: Lawrence Tynes
Lawrence Tynes played for the Giants until 2012, and in the 2010s alone, connected on 82.6% of his field-goal attempts and 100% of his extra-point attempts. Granted, he played when an extra point was a 20-yard kick instead of a 33-yard kick. Nonetheless, he still came through for the Giants on a huge occasion this decade. Tynes sent the Giants to Super Bowl 46 when he converted on a game-winning kick in overtime of the NFC Championship Game against the San Francisco 49ers.
P: Steve Weatherford
During Steve Weatherford’s four-year tenure with Big Blue, he punted a total of 311 times with an average of 46.3 yards-per-punt. In 2013, the former player led the NFC in both punts (91) and punting yards (4,271).
KR: David Wilson
David Wilson is a true blast-to-the-past. He played for the Giants for two years, battling numerous injuries which led to him walking away from the game. But in his rookie year (2012), he was the best kick returner the Giants had since Domenik Hixon’s successful years.
During that campaign, he returned 57 kicks for 1,533 yards (both league-highs) and one touchdown. His efforts earned him a spot on the AP All-Pro Second team.
PR: Dwayne Harris
Dwayne Harris played for the Giants from the 2015-17 season and proved to be not only an effective punt returner but additionally an overall important special teams weapon. In 2015, he returned 34 punts for 341 yards and one touchdown. He additionally made the Pro Bowl in 2016 for his special teams efforts.
ST: Zak DeOssie
There’s no shot Zak DeOssie will be left off this list. He and Eli Manning are the only remaining players from the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl teams. He’s been the long snapper through thick and thin and has played in 151 games in this decade alone. In 2010, he earned his second-career Pro Bowl honors.