Micah Parsons #11 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after sacking...

Micah Parsons #11 of the Dallas Cowboys celebrates after sacking Matt Ryan #2 of the Atlanta Falcons during the second quarter at AT&T Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Arlington, Texas.  Credit: Getty Images/Richard Rodriguez

The Giants are not surprised by how well Micah Parsons has played for the Cowboys.

"We knew," Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said. "That’s why he was drafted where he was drafted."

As for why he wasn’t drafted by the Giants, well, that’s a different story.

In the frenzy of movement among a trio of NFC East opponents on that fateful day in April, the Giants had an opportunity to select the linebacker who many now are comparing to Lawrence Taylor, at least in terms of his impact as a rookie. Instead they traded back from 11th overall to 20th and the Cowboys took Parsons at 12.

"He’s obviously a very good player, but there were different needs we had and we thought the value was good for the organization in terms of looking to the future," Joe Judge said of that decision. "There are a lot of good players in the draft every year. There are a lot of guys you would like to add to your team. You can’t add them all."

It seems like the Giants are in the middle of a gantlet in which they will play them all. A week after facing Chargers left tackle Rashawn Slater, another player they essentially passed over in their swap with the Bears who would have looked sharp in a Giants uniform, they’ll take on Parsons. Next week they’ll face DeVonta Smith, the wide receiver they were very interested in drafting before the Eagles jumped them in a trade with the Cowboys and snapped him up.

All of which might be slightly more bearable for the team and its fans if the player they wound up taking in the first round of the 2021 draft was able to play. Kadarius Toney, though, will be sidelined for a fourth straight game.

He’s now on COVID/reserve, which is how his forgettable rookie season began, and he also has dealt with quadriceps and oblique injuries that have scratched him since Nov. 22. He has appeared in only nine games and played just 31% of their offensive snaps.

Only two players selected before him have appeared in fewer games: 49ers backup quarterback Trey Lance (five) and Panthers cornerback Jaycee Horn (three), who suffered a broken foot.

In fact, every player taken between the 12th and 19th pick in the draft — the span that the Giants missed out on when they moved back from 11 to 20 — has remained healthy enough to play all 13 games this season.

"It has definitely not been ideal," wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert said of Toney’s rookie season. "It’s been a roller-coaster season . . . It’s been frustrating for everyone."

Add to the frustration the fact that Toney appears to be Patient Zero for the recent COVID outbreak that has at least six players ineligible for this game against the Cowboys. The Giants learned about his positive test on Monday while they were all together on the plane flying home from Los Angeles. They did the best they could to isolate him from the rest of the team for the duration of the flight.

There obviously is no way to tell exactly how or when people were infected, but if detective work is required, having Toney mingling among them in the confined space of a long cross-continental flight seems like a good place to start.

Despite all of the drama and disability and disappointment, it’s far too early to call Toney a bust. He certainly showed what he is capable of doing in a two-game stretch earlier this season when he caught 16 passes for 267 yards against the Saints and Cowboys. When he is healthy and available, he brings an electricity to the offense that no one else has been able to muster since they traded Odell Beckham Jr. to the Browns.

"There is a lot of evidence on tape that suggests Kadarius is going to be a really good player in this league," senior offensive assistant Freddie Kitchens said. "It suggests he can do it on this level and do it at a high level."

In Toney’s other seven games, though, he has a combined 19 catches for 125 yards, and he has yet to score a touchdown in the NFL. The three wide receivers taken ahead of him — Ja’Marr Chase, Jaylen Waddle and Smith — have at least four each and 18 among them.

The Giants also will factor in the value of the Bears’ first-round pick in the 2022 draft, which they received as part of the trade, when evaluating the top of the 2021 draft. If they can use that high pick to make a franchise-altering acquisition, it certainly will cast their decision in a different light.

But that player isn’t yet a Giant. And the one they did select? He’s missed so much time, he barely qualifies as one himself.

So the Giants will face Parsons and the Cowboys on Sunday and then Smith and the Eagles the following week — players they knew would be stars and are showing it — all perhaps without the wide receiver they took instead of them.

"All we can do is keep encouraging him and keep coaching him up when he is available to us so when he does have a chance to come out and play, we can get him going in the right direction to make some plays for us," Tolbert said. "Hopefully we can get him back really quick so we can get him going these last few games and give him some confidence going into the offseason and next season."

And give themselves some much-needed validation about the decisions they made that brought him here.

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