This post focuses on the defensive line as we continue our rankings of the best Giants by position. This is solely for the purpose of ranking tackles and ends.
Keith Hamilton (1992-2003)
The Giants’ fourth-round pick out of Pittsburgh in 1992 was a stalwart. Hamilton only played on four playoff teams in his 12 years in New York. However, he was a consistent force on defensive lines in the 1990s, concluding his career with 63 total sacks.
Arnie Weinmeister (1950-1953)
This Washington alum only played four seasons for the Giants, but each of those four years he was an All-Pro. Weinmeister spent two seasons with the New York Yankees before joining the G-Men.
He wasn’t the original Bo Jackson, to be sure. The All-America Football Conference, an unsuccessful rival to the NFL in the 1940s, included the New York Football Yankees. Weinmeister was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1984 despite only having played six seasons in the NFL.
George Martin, 1975-1988
Martin was one of the franchise’s most overlooked defensive linemen, but he was anything but when it came to executing his job between the lines. For the Giants, he was the epitome of toughness, missing only six games in 14 seasons (not counting strike-shortened seasons).
With six touchdowns, Martin was once the NFL’s all-time leader in defensive lineman touchdowns (Martin technically scored seven touchdowns, but one was scored when he lined up on offence as a jumbo tight end). Martin’s record of six touchdowns scored by a defensive lineman was broken by Jason Taylor of the Miami Dolphins in 2006.
Tuck, Justin, 2005-2013
Tuck came out of Notre Dame in the third round of the 2005 draught. If not for some persistent ailments in college, he would have been a first-round pick. Despite this, he concluded his Giants career with 60.5 sacks, two Pro Bowl appearances, an All-Pro vote in 2008, and two Super Bowl titles.
2003-2012: Osi Umenyiora
After missing the 2008 season due to a torn meniscus, the Giants’ second-round draught pick out of Troy University was never quite the same. Despite missing a season, Umenyiora has the fourth-most sacks in Giants history with 75. Also, two Super Bowl rings aren’t awful.
Rosey Grier (1955-1962)
When it comes to old-school Penn State football, consider the following: Rosey Grier was a member of the Nittany Lions football team for over a decade before Joe Paterno took over as head coach. After that, the Giants selected him in the third round of the 1955 draught. Grier’s greatest years statistically were in New York, even though he is most remembered as a member of the Los Angeles Rams “Fearsome Foursome.” In 1956, he was named to the All-Pro team, the same year the Giants defeated the Chicago Bears to win the NFL Championship.
Katcavage was born in Philadelphia and attended Dayton University before being picked by the Giants in the sixth round of the 1956 draught. In the early 1960s, he had his best seasons. Katcavage was named to the All-Pro team in 1961 and 1963, and he played in the Pro Bowl in 1962. He has an unofficial total of 96.5 sacks, which ranks third all-time in franchise history.
On any other defence, Leonard Marshall would have been a standout. The fact that he was frequently cited after Lawrence Taylor and Harry Carson demonstrates the dominance of the Giants’ defence in the 1980s.
Marshall, a second-round pick out of LSU in 1983, had 79.5 sacks in ten seasons with the Giants, the third-most in franchise history. He is arguably best known for effectively terminating Joe Montana’s career in San Francisco in the 1990 NFC Championship game with a nasty sack.
Andy Robustelli (from 1956 to 1964)
Andy Robustelli attended Arnold College in Bridgeport, Connecticut, after serving in the Pacific Theater during WWII. He was drafted in the nineteenth round of the 1951 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Rams.
By the time he arrived in New York in 1956, Robustelli had already received two All-Pro votes, just in time for the Giants’ championship season. That year, and three years later, he was named to the All-Pro team. Robustelli was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1971 after a spectacular 14-year career.
Michael Strahan (1993–2007)
In 1997, Michael had a breakout season, recording 14 sacks and helping the Giants win the NFC East for the first time in seven years.
2001 was unquestionably his career year. That season, he had the most sacks in NFL history with 22.5. Despite the incredible efforts of Eli Manning, David Tyree, and Plaxico Burress in Super Bowl XLII, Michael Strahan deserved to win the game. It was the ideal way to cap off a wonderful career.