Mixed Bag

Mixed Bag

Ernie Accorsi's mind these days is far, far away from the game of football. Accorsi, who retired after last season following nine seasons as New York's general manager, just spent basically the entire month of March in Florida – watching baseball.

Accorsi laughed when discussing a phone call he received from assistant GM Kevin Abrams, who was at the Combine. "I'm standing there in Tampa with Derek Jeter and Joe Torre and Kevin's telling me that the safeties are up," Accorsi said.

Yes, the competitive side of Accorsi misses the grind, but for the most part, he's now living footloose and fancy-free. When reached by TGI, Accorsi was right in the middle of a 23-day stretch of watching 23 spring training baseball games.

"I'm almost halfway to (Joe) DiMaggio's streak (of 56)," Accorsi joked. "It's like being a kid again, going to major league baseball games every day. It doesn't get much better than this. It's been great (being retired). Every day is Saturday."

With draft day Saturday less than a month away, TGI decided to take a look back at what Accorsi produced while at the helm of the Giants' ship. During his time running New York's draft, Accorsi was responsible for drafting 65 players. Of those players, only 35 (54 percent) are still in the league and a mere 17 (26 percent) still toil for Big Blue.

Those numbers shy in comparison to those of some other clubs around the league. For instance, going back to 2000, three clubs – the Jets, Bengals and Eagles – still have at least three-quarters of their draft picks still in the league. And five clubs – the Jets, Titans, Bengals, Raiders and Jaguars – have at least 47 percent of their drafted players still in their own uniform.

None of these figures, of course, include the shrewd free-agent signings of players such as Kerry Collins, who led New York to Super Bowl XXXV, Pro Bowl LB Antonio Pierce and game-changing receiver Plaxico Burress. Nor, the move that Accorsi's name and résumé will always be attached to: the 2004 draft-day trade for QB Eli Manning.

But this is TGI's pre-draft extravaganza so let's now take a closer look at Accorsi's draft-day hits and misses.

Hits

DE Osi Umenyiora (Second round, 2003) – We all laughed when the Giants selected the kid with the funny name from tiny Troy State. Now, he, Accorsi and the club are all laughing all the way to the bank, especially Umenyiora.

TE Jeremy Shockey (First round, 2002) – The Giants wanted him badly and they got him. While injuries have slowed him down some, he's still among the best TEs in the game and shows no signs of letting up.

G David Diehl (Fifth round, 2003) – He can play anywhere and play there well. This was a great pick; the hard-nosed Diehl is as tough and dependable as they come.

DT Cornelius Griffin (Second round, 2001) – No, Griff didn't reach Pro Bowl level until he arrived in Washington. But was it Accorsi's fault that the coaching staff did nothing to develop him and that the Redskins, not surprisingly, threw a ton of money at Griffin?

G Chris Snee (Second round, 2004) – New York said the minute they drafted Tom Coughlin's son-in-law that Snee would be a future Pro Bowler. That future's likely to come after this season.

WR David Tyree (Sixth round, 2003) – No, he hasn't panned out as a receiver, although he does produce whenever they give him an opportunity. But he's already made the Pro Bowl as a special teams cover guy and is one of the game's best in that department.

Misses

DT William Joseph (First round, 2003) – The king of all busts is still somehow on the roster. Don't expect that to be the case beyond training camp this summer. In Accorsi's defense, he admitted immediately afterward that the Giants steered away from their usual draft policy and made this pick solely because they so desperately needed a DT and Joseph was the next one up on their board.

Who they could have had: Star RB Larry Johnson was taken two picks after and WR Anquan Boldin was taken in the second round.

WR Brian Alford (Third round, 1998) – Alford, who had all the speed in the world, was just plain awful.

Who they could have had: LB Jeremiah Trotter, RB Ahman Green and WR Hines Ward were all taken later in the third round.

RB Joe Montgomery (Second round, 1999) – Besides running out the clock in the 2000 NFC Championship Game, Montgomery was either injured or not dedicated enough during the rest of his brief Giants career.

Who they could have had: LB Joey Porter was a third-round pick while WR Peerless Price and G Randy Thomas both went later in the second round.

RB Sean Bennett (Fourth round, 1999) – He had all the size and speed you'd want. The fact that he was scared to get hit was a bit of a problem, though.

Who they could have had: DE Antonio Cochran, G Edwin Mulitalo and QB Aaron Brooks were all selected later in the fourth round and WR Donald Driver was drafted in the seventh.

RB Ron Dayne (First round, 2000) – Accorsi obviously didn't fare all that well at selecting RBs. Dayne wasn't always put in the best position to succeed; but when he was, he certainly couldn't get it done either.

Who they could have had: Besides RB Shaun Alexander, superb defenders John Abraham and Julian Peterson all went within the next eight picks after Dayne.

K John Markham (Fifth round, 2001) – A fifth-round pick on a kicker?! You want to know what's even worse? No one in the entire Giants organization had ever seen the shaky-at-best Markham kick before he was drafted.

Who they could have had: WR T.J. Houshmandzadeh was taken in the seventh round. OT Jeff Hatch (Third round, 2002) – Well, at least Hatch, who went to Penn, was smart.

Who they could have had: RB Brian Westbrook, C Seth McKinney and LB Akin Ayodele were all taken later in the third round.

Middle of the road

S Shaun Williams (First round, 1998) – For all his potential, Williams never turned into the superstar playmaking safety that was expected. However, he did have some very solid seasons in his time with the Giants.

OT Luke Petitgout (First round, 1999) – While Petitgout will always be remembered for his penalties, he actually fared much better in his time in New York than the fans and media gave him credit for. But he probably would have been there a round or two later.

CB Will Allen (First round, 2001) – Despite what you're all thinking, Allen made enough plays and provided enough solid coverage to avoid the dreaded ‘miss' category. Don't believe us? Just look at last season's corner play.

Jury still out

CB Corey Webster (Second round, 2005) – He's sure not where you'd like him to be after two seasons but he still has plenty of untapped potential.

DE Justin Tuck (Third round, 2005) – Before he got hurt last season, he was starting to really come on.

RB Brandon Jacobs (Fourth round, 2005) – In his third season, he'll get his first chance to be the man. We'll see how he does.

* Needless to say, the jury is still out on all of Accorsi's 2006 and final draft class.

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