Giants general manager Joe Schoen speaks to reporters during the...

Giants general manager Joe Schoen speaks to reporters during the NFL Draft Combine at the Indiana Convention Center on March 1, 2022, in Indianapolis. Credit: TNS/Michael Hickey

Joe Schoen inherited quite the mess when he took over as general manager of the Giants in January. Most of the last three months have been spent trying to clean up those spills and stains. That to-do list included an on-the-fly overhaul of the scouting department’s procedures, a roster purge, an attempt to straighten out the remarkably curtailing salary cap situation, and the integration of a new coaching staff.

There have not been many elements left behind for him that one would consider to be useful, nevermind beneficial.

Until this week at least.

This is the week Schoen and the Giants get a chance to deploy a few of the positives that the previous regime passed down. They will have nine selections in the NFL draft that begins on Thursday, including, thanks mostly to the mistakes and mismanagement and misery that preceded Schoen’s arrival, two of the first seven picks, four of the first 67 picks, and six of the first 112 picks.

“That was definitely an attractive part of the job,” Schoen said this week.

The best part is he didn’t have to go 4-13 last season to get the fifth overall selection and a high pick near the top of each following round. He didn’t have to trade back with immediate difference-makers Micah Parsons and Rashawn Slater still on the board last April in order to pick up the seventh overall pick in this draft from the Bears. And he didn’t have to sweat out a trade back with the Dolphins in last year’s second round that landed him an extra third rounder this year.

There aren’t many spoils to being the general manager of the Giants these days. Schoen is going to enjoy these rare ones.

“Having two top 10 picks, it's definitely a good way to set the foundation, get two really good players early on,” he said. “You're not sitting at 15 or 20 trying to figure out who is going to be there. The fact that we can list seven players and know that we're going to get two of them makes it a little bit easier.”

It’s also pretty rare. There have been just eight teams in the Super Bowl era who have selected two of the top seven players in an NFL draft, and just one this century. The most recent was Cleveland in 2018 when they picked Baker Mayfield first overall and Denzel Ward fourth. If the Giants wind up holding onto and using those picks they will become the ninth.

Of course that’s no guarantee of future success. Only one of those teams with two top-seven picks made it to the Super Bowl within a decade; the Eagles took Jerry Sisemore and Charlie Young third and sixth overall in 1973 and played in the championship that capped the 1980 season.

Still, for a team that has been doing most of its shopping in free agency on clearance racks and a franchise that is looking to start over with new philosophies, priorities and methods, having so many high picks is…

“Integral,” Schoen said. “For Brian [Daboll] and I, it's our first two picks as New York Giant head coach and general manager. In terms of foundational pieces, in terms of being good players, the type of people we want, it's very important.”

Like most things with the Giants over the past decade, it could be better. When Schoen took the job in January he mentioned twice in his introductory news conference his belief that the Giants had 11 picks in this draft. Two of them, he didn’t realize at the time, had evaporated in conditional trades where the minimum playing times of the players shipped out were not met.

“The jobs with the Hall of Fame quarterbacks, great head coach, and great salary cap position, those jobs don’t open, you know what I mean?” he said back then.

This one had none of those when Schoen took over. The biggest assets to this gig are the picks that will be used in the coming week, whether to add top-tier players directly or bundled in more trades to create even more selections in the future.

The three months of mopping up are just about over.

Now Schoen and Daboll get a chance to put their first real imprint on the team they are trying to build.

With the fifth and seventh picks in hand, the Giants could become just the ninth team since 1967 to make two of the top seven picks in an NFL Draft. Here are the choices made by the other eight teams in that situation:

Year // Team // Players (overall pick)

2018 // Cleveland // QB Baker Mayfield (1), CB Denzel Ward (4)

2000 // Washington // LB LaVar Arrington (2), OT Chris Samuels (3)

1997 // Seattle // CB Shawn Springs (3), OT Walter Jones (6)

1994 // Indianapolis // RB Marshal Faulk (2), LB Trev Alberts (5)

1992 // Indianapolis // DL Steve Emtman (1), LB Quentin Coryatt (2)

1982 // Baltimore // LB Johnie Cooks (2), QB Art Schlichter (4)

1979 // Buffalo // LB Tom Cousineau (1), WR Jerry Butler (5)

1973 // Eagles // OT Jerry Sisemore (3), TE Charlie Young (6)

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