Despite having four picks, Ernie Accorsi was able to draft three players who had pivotal roles on multiple New York Giants Super Bowl teams.
During the 2004 NFL Draft, the New York Giants executed a trade that sent Philip Rivers, a 2004 third-round pick, and two 2005 draft picks (first round and fifth round) to San Diego for Eli Manning. As a result, the Giants were left with only four picks in the 2005 draft.
Having only four selections is a daunting task for a general manager trying to build a championship team. But Giants general manager Ernie Accorsi turned three of those four picks — Corey Webster, Brandon Jacobs, and Justin Tuck — into parts of the core that would go onto to win Super Bowls 42 and 46.
It’s safe to say without the 2005 draft class, the Giants would have two fewer Lombardi trophies.
Although he wasn’t the general manager for those two title runs (having retired early in 2007), Accorsi deserves more credit than Jerry Reese for building the pair of championship teams.
Since it’s Throwback Thursday, here’s a look back at the Giants’ 2005 draft class.
Corey Webster — 2nd round (No. 43 overall), LSU
After a slow start to his career, Webster came on strong during the 2007 postseason.
He intercepted Jeff Garcia in the Giants’ 24-14 Wild Card Round victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He then made arguably the biggest play of his career when he picked off Brett Favre in overtime of the NFC Championship game against the Packers. Four plays later, Lawrence Tynes kicked the game-winning 47-yard field goal, giving Big Blue a 23-20 win.
Webster was one of the most underrated corners of his era. From 2010-12, he recorded 14 interceptions. This includes a career-high six picks in the 2011 campaign when he helped the Giants win another Super Bowl.
Corey finished his career with 20 total interceptions to go along with 375 combined tackles.
Justin Tuck — 3rd round (No. 74 overall), Notre Dame
Just like Webster, Tuck underwent a slow start to his career, only starting one game in his first two seasons. Needless to say, he had a tough time seeing the field with Michael Strahan and Osi Umenyiora ahead of him on the depth chart.
Nonetheless, Tuck would come into his own during the 2007 season when he racked up 10 sacks from the defensive end and defensive tackle positions.
Arguably his best performance came in Super Bowl 42 when he sacked Tom Brady twice and forced a fumble. A case could be made that he deserved MVP honors in the Giants’ 17-14 win over the 18-0 Patriots.
Following Strahan’s retirement, Tuck became the unquestioned leader of the defense. He would make the Pro Bowl in 2008 and 2010 and earn first-team All-Pro honors during the former campaign. In Super Bowl 46, he would sack Brady twice more and force an intentional grounding penalty that led to a safety in the Giants’ 21-17 victory.
His 60.5 career sacks as a Giant ranks sixth in the history of the franchise.
Brandon Jacobs — 4th round (No. 110 overall), Southern Illinois
The 6-foot-4, 264-pound Jacobs immediately gave the Giants a physical and intimidating presence in the backfield. He combined for 16 rushing touchdowns in his first two seasons. Jacobs then took over as the starter in 2007 following the retirement of Tiki Barber and achieved his first 1,000-yard campaign.
He would score four total touchdowns during the 2007 postseason and converted a pivotal 4th-and-1 on the Giants’ game-winning drive in Super Bowl 42 — a play that’s often overlooked.
Jacobs achieved his second 1,000-yard rushing season in 2008, portraying his talents as part of the “Earth, Wind, and Fire” ground attack that additionally included Derrick Ward and Ahmad Bradshaw. In that season, Jacobs racked up a career-high 15 rushing touchdowns.
His 60 total rushing touchdowns are the most in Giants history.
Eric Moore — 6th round (No. 186 overall), Florida State
Eric Moore was the one pick that didn’t pan out over time. The Giants released the defensive end in September 2006. He appeared in eight games for Big Blue and recorded five total tackles.