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Hidden gems: Notable 40th and 74th picks

The first round gets all the hype, but there are still 224 picks to be made in the 2015 NFL Draft, seven of which belong to the Giants.


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Big Blue started Thursday night by using its first-round selection (ninth overall) on Miami offensive lineman Ereck Flowers. The organization now looks to Day 2 on Friday holding the 40th and 74th picks in the second and third rounds, respectively.

As we've seen, these are the rounds that make or break teams around the league. By hitting big here, a franchise can separate from the pack and set itself up for the future.

Here looks at teams which did just that in the spots where the Giants will be picking on Friday night.

Notable No. 40's

DE Michael Strahan*
Draft Class: 1993
College: Texas Southern

Last year Strahan became the second player drafted 40th overall to be inducted in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Strahan played his entire career with the Giants from 1993-2007.

A standout as both a run stopper and pass rusher, Strahan played in a franchise-record 216 regular-season games. He was a four-time first-team All-Pro (1997, 1998, 2001 and 2003), a seven-time Pro Bowler and the 2001 NFL AP Defensive Player of the Year.

Strahan had 141.5 career regular season sacks, which is the Giants' franchise record and the fifth-highest total in NFL history. Strahan holds the NFL single-season record with 22.5 sacks in 2001. He also led the NFL in 2003 with 18.5 sacks and is the only Giants player to twice lead the league in sacks.

Strahan was a captain of the 2007 Giants team that won Super Bowl XLII.

RB Thurman Thomas*
Draft Class: 1988
College: Oklahoma State

As previously alluded to, Thomas was the first 40th overall pick to be enshrined in Canton. Drafted by the Buffalo Bills, Thomas led the NFL in total yards from scrimmage a record four consecutive seasons and was the league MVP in 1991. He rushed for 1,000 yards in eight consecutive seasons to finish his career with 12,074 yards rushing and 16,532 all-purpose yards.

LB Brad Van Pelt
Draft Class: 1973
College: Michigan State

A Giants Ring of Honor inductee, Van Pelt played for the franchise from 1973-83. He joined Harry Carson, Brian Kelley and later Lawrence Taylor to form the famed group of linebackers known as the "Crunch Bunch." Van Pelt was selected to play in the Pro Bowl every season from 1976-80. Van Pelt played in 143 games for the Giants in four home stadiums - Yankee Stadium, Yale Bowl, Shea Stadium and Giants Stadium – and for five head coaches - Bill Arnsparger, John McVay, Ray Perkins and Bill Parcells.

The last five No. 40's: LB Kyle Van Noy (Detroit), DE Tank Carradine (San Francisco), OL Amini Silatolu (Carolina), LB Bruce Carter (Dallas), LB Koa Misi (Miami).

Photos of notable players who were drafted 40th overall

Notable No. 74's

Guard Will Shields*
Draft Class: 1993
College: Nebraska

Drafted by the Kansas City Chiefs, Shields was inserted into the lineup in his first NFL game and never missed one after that, making a franchise-record 223 starts. As a rookie, he helped the Chiefs to their first division title in more than two decades. Shields earned 12-straight Pro Bowl nods and was named to NFL's All-Decade Team of 2000s.


Safety Larry Wilson*
Draft Class: 1960
College: Utah

A two-way star at Utah, Wilson was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals and became the NFL's top free safety, making the "safety blitz" famous. He was All-NFL six times, played in eight Pro Bowls, and recorded 52 career interceptions,  one of which he made with both hands in casts.

TE Charlie Sanders*
Draft Class: 1968
College: Minnesota

Drafted by the Detroit Lions, Sanders made seven Pro Bowls and was All-NFL in three-straight seasons. He was the franchise's all-time reception leader (336) at time of retirement and was named to NFL's All-Decade Team of the 1970s.

RB Curtis Martin*
Draft Class: 1995
College: Pittsburgh

Drafted by the New England Patriots, Martin led the AFC in rushing as rookie and became the second player in NFL history to start his career with 10-straight 1,000-yard rushing seasons. He rushed for a career-high 1,697 yards and won the NFL rushing title in 2004. Martin retired as the league's fourth all-time leading rusher (14,101).


DE Justin Tuck**
Draft Class: 2005
College: Notre Dame

Part of a small yet important draft class that also included running back Brandon Jacobs and cornerback Corey Webster, Tuck became part of the foundation for two Super Bowl-winning teams in 2007 and 2011. Before joining the Oakland Raiders in 2014, Tuck climbed to sixth in franchise history with 60.5 sacks, not including two each in Super Bowl XLII and XLVII.

The last five No. 74's: DT Jay Bromley (NY Giants), WR Terrance Williams (Dallas), OT Donald Stephenson (Kansas City), QB Ryan Mallett (New England), DT D'Anthony Smith (Jacksonville).

*Member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame

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