Draft picks in the NFL are often referred to as lottery picks or dart throws. So with that logic, the more draft picks a team has, and the higher those draft picks are, the better chance they have at having success with their selections.
Well, the New York Giants defied that logic in 2005, where they had just 4 draft picks….with 0 coming in the 1st round.
You might be asking yourself how the Giants ended up with so few draft picks in 2005. The answer to that lies within the 2004 NFL draft. 2004 is one of the most famous NFL drafts of all time due to the selections of Eli Manning, Philip Rivers, and Ben Roethlisberger. Most Giants fans know this, but if you’re a more casual fan, you may be surprised to find out that the Giants did not draft Eli Manning, the Chargers did. The only problem for the Chargers was that Eli Manning was threating to not play for them. Giants GM Ernie Acorsi loved Manning, and knew that Chargers GM AJ Smith was a fan of Philip Rivers. So he took a chance and drafted Rivers just 3 picks after Manning was taken in hopes of trading Rivers for Manning. This chance turned into a reality when the Giants traded Philip Rivers, their 3rd round pick in the 2004 draft, their 1st round pick in 2005, and their 2005 5th round pick to the Chargers in exchange for Eli Manning (talk about betting on one guy). So that left the Giants with just a 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 6th round pick in the 2005 NFL Draft.
So did the Giants hit on any of these 4 picks?
The answer to that question is a resounding yes. With the Giants 2nd round selection they took LSU Cornerback Corey Webster. With their 3rd round pick, they took Notre Dame Defensive End Justin Tuck. In the 4th round, they selected Southern Illinois Running Back Brandon Jacobs. Now the Giants did miss with their 6th round selection by picking Florida State Defensive End Eric Moore who lasted just 1 season with the G-Men. But the other 3 were major hits.
Webster, Tuck, and Jacobs were all long term starters and huge contributors to both the 2007 and 2011 Super Bowl teams. Who could forget Corey Webster picking off Brett Favre’s final pass as a Packer in the 2007 NFC Championship? Or in the same game Brandon Jacobs running over Charles Woodson on the opening drive to set the tone? How bout Justin Tuck arguably being the MVP of both Super Bowl 42 and 46? Even outside of the postseason, these three had very successful careers. Corey Webster played 9 seasons for the Giants at one of the most important positions on a football team, with most of his time on the team coming as a starter. Brandon Jacobs was part of one of the greatest rushing seasons in Giants history as the Earth portion of Earth, Wind, and Fire along with Ahmad Bradshaw and Derrick Ward. Along with that season and the 3 he had as the full time starter, he played a great complimentary role to both Tiki Barber and Ahmad Bradshaw when they were the starters. Not to mention he is the Giants all time leader in rushing touchdowns. Tuck was the most talented of the bunch, as he was a team captain, a 2-time Pro-Bowler, and earned an All-Pro nod in 2008. Following Tucks retirement, he was inducted into the Giants Ring of Honor in 2016. Having as few picks as they had, with 0 coming in the first round, and coming away with these 3 guys proves that this is one of the most impressive draft classes in Giants history.
The NFL draft is an extremely fun time of year for fans. Everyone loves to give their takes on what they want their favorite teams to do. I would love to see how Twitter would have reacted to the Eli Manning trade that left the Giants with such few draft picks in 2005. What can be said for sure is this:
If the Giants 2022 draft class looks anything like their 2005 class, everyone will be happy.