Former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi takes you inside 2004's Eli Manning Draft Day trade, plus read his original scouting report:
Ahead of Ernie Accorsi's 2016 Ring Of Honor induction, the former Giants general manager spoke with Giants.com about his first impressions of watching Eli Manning play at Ole Miss.
"There were rumors that Eli was going to come out his junior year and I went down to see him against Auburn. He didn't come out, but when I wrote that report that's now gone viral, I essentially thought we could win a championship with this guy.
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"When he did come out, the fortunate thing for us is that we had that year in 2003 that put us in the fourth spot. If I wouldn't have been in the fourth spot, we wouldn't have gotten him. We would have had to go too far to get him. I would have been satisfied with [Ben] Roethlisberger. I felt very good about Roethlisberger and all our scouts did, Tom did, the Maras did, we felt real solid about Roethlisberger. They're about as close as you can get as far as what they've done, but it was just something about Eli that he was the one I wanted but I didn't really expect to get him at that point because it looked like they weren't going to trade him. They were asking for Osi Umenyiora, which we were not going to give them. So that's how the whole thing evolved because I just felt that with the quarterback, you have to reach for greatness if you have a chance.
"When I first came into the league, Johnny Unitas was the quarterback that I was involved with. So I was spoiled for life. And I also knew that as that team evolved from being world champions in the late '50s, the one that played the Giants in the sudden death game, to not quite as good a team -- although we won the Super Bowl in '70 -- his supporting cast wasn't as talented, but we always had him. What I learned is when you have a great quarterback, you always have a chance. And I always defined leadership as looking on the team bus on the road when you always have a few more butterflies than you do at home and seeing that guy and you know he's on our side and he's got a chance."
Former Giants GM Ernie Accorsi's scouting report of Eli Manning back in college at Ole Miss:
Wears left knee brace… During pregame warmup, didn't look like he had a rocket arm… As game progressed, I saw excellent arm strength under pressure and the ability to get velocity on the ball on most throws. Good deep ball range. Good touch. Good vision and poise.
Sees the field… In shotgun on most plays and his only running option is a draw… his offensive line is poor. Red-shirt freshman left tackle. Eli doesn't trust his protection. Can't. No way he can take any form of a deep drop and look downfield. With no running game (10 yards rushing the first half) and no real top receivers, he's stuck with the three-step drops and waiting til the last second to see if a receiver can get free. No tight end either. No flaring back. So he's taking some big hits. Taking them well. Carried an overmatched team entirely on his shoulders. I imagine, except for Vanderbilt, his team is overmatched in every SEC game… He's big, never gets rattled. Rallied his team from a 14-3 halftime deficit basically all by himself. Led them on two successive third quarter drives to go ahead, 17-16. The first touchdown, a 40-yard streak down the left sideline, he dropped the ball over the receiver's right shoulder. Called the next touchdown pass himself, checking off to a 12-yard slant… Makes a lot of decisions on play calls at the line of scrimmage, but they ask too much of him. They don't just let him play. This is a guy you should just let play… When he's inaccurate, he's usually high, but rarely off target to either side… Plays smart and with complete confidence. Doesn't scold his teammates, but lets them know when they line up wrong or run the wrong pattern… Threw three interceptions. Two were his fault. Trying to force something both times. He could have run on one of them, a fourth down play. He has a lot to learn.
*Summary: I think he's the complete package. He's not going to be a fast runner, but a little like Joe Montana, he has enough athletic ability to get out of trouble. Remember how Archie ran? In that department, Eli doesn't have the best genes, although I never timed mom Olivia in the 40. But he has a feel for the pocket. *
Feels the rush.
*Throws the ball, takes the hit, gets right back up… Has courage and poise. In my opinion, most of all, he has that quality you can't define. Call it magic…Peyton had much better talent around him at Tennessee. But I honestly give this guy a chance to be better than his brother. Eli doesn't get much help from the coaching staff. If he comes out early, we should move up to take him. These guys are rare, you know.
- Ernie Accorsi*
As Eli Manning enters his 12th season with the Giants, we look back at this career.