Top 10 NFL GM moves

On the heels of his second Super Bowl win with his star QB Eli Manning, Giants coach Tom Coughlin shouldn’t forget to throw some of his recent media praise over to an old friend of his, former GM Ernie Accorsi.  After scouting Manning intently at Ole Miss, Accorsi made a power move and executed a deal to bring Manning to New York in a 2004 draft day trade.  With current Giants mastermind Jerry Reese and other top GM’s, like the Packers Ted Thompson, displaying their offseason ingenuity and taking annual trips every April to “Value City” during the draft, its no surprise that the teams with the strongest GM’s usually battle at seasons end for the hardware.  And with that, let’s revisit the NFL’s Top 10 GM trades and draft picks of the current era:

10: Texans select Mario Williams over Reggie Bush 1st overall – Don’t worry Houston fans, Mr. Casserly accepts your apology.  You can catch him doing commentary on TV while other GM’s draft now, since the Texans faithful formed posse’s (do they really all carry those burning sticks?) and ran him out of the loan star state.  While Bush has come around in recent years, Williams eclipsed the usually lengthy learning curve for D-lineman by the end of his first season, and over the past few years has become an absolute juggernaut, a player offenses base their game planning around.  Super Mario has since left the BBQ in Houston for the snow in Buffalo, but $100 million will buy you A LOT of Anchor Bar wings so who could blame him.

9: Rams trade for Colts RB Marshall Faulk – Indy didn’t come out of this one empty handed, as GM Bill Polian would draft Miami Hurricanes beast RB Edgerrin James to replace Faulk in the draft that year.  However, Faulk would go on to become widely regarded as one of the most versatile RB’s ever, both on the ground and in the passing game, and was the true foundation of “The Greatest Show on Turf”.  Faulk would win an MVP award, Offensive POY 3 straight times, and would lead the Rams to two super bowl berths, and one victory.  Faulk was inducted into the Hall of Fame, as a first balloter, in 2011.


8:  Saints sign former San Diego QB Drew Brees – When Brees’ time with the Superchargers was cut short due to an injured shoulder, his NFL career was in serious jeopardy.  Saints GM Mickey Loomis may have been impressed with Brees’ undeniable charm, but he knew that the boy could play before he took the gamble to bring him to the bayou.  While Brees’ overall career statistics aren’t quite there yet with the Marino’s and Favre’s of the world, no player in recent memory has been more of a cornerstone for a teams winning Super bowl run than Brees.  The impact of Loomis’ decision also gave the who dat nation and the Great City of New Orleans a real leader to follow through the Katrina disaster.

7: Giants trade Phillip Rivers for 1st overall pick Eli Manning – Since coming out of NC State, Rivers has been serviceable at his worst and MVP caliber at his very best, but his NFL resume is entry-level compared to Manning’s.  While Eli was Boom-roasted by the NY media for years after Accorsi made this draft day deal, the Giants front office and coaches never wavered from their support of Eli during his growing pains, and that gamble paid huge dividends.  Unrelated to football, Eli has shaken his”Aw shucks” public persona, and has quickly gone from being just Peyton’s little brother, to one of the leagues most likable players.

6: 49ers trade 2nd and 4th rounders to Tampa Bay for Steve Young – Signed as a backup with a 3-16 record, the trade shows uncanny vision by Bill Walsh, but the true genius in this deal was not the immediate impact of the move, but the fact that Walsh was able to keep him around as Montana’s backup, just waiting for his chance to come in and become the most efficient passer of all time.  The 2-time MVP and HOF’er won a SB as a starter, has provided some of the guttiest performances in the history of the sport, and is undoubtedly one of the most respected media analysts today.  Concussions would cut his career short, but Young is likely the best lefty QB of all-time.

5: Packers trade 1st round pick to Atlanta for Brett Favre – After struggling in his rookie year in ATL, Brett Lorenzo Favre would be traded to Green Bay for the 19th overall pick in the 1994 draft.  Ron Wolf’s first move as Packers GM was gold, as he locked up the young brash QB who would go on to become 3-time league MVP, Super Bowl champ, and the holder of almost every meaningful career passing record. Favre is one of my personal favorite athletes ever in any sport, but even for all the Favre haters, not one of them can deny that the guy’s got as much heart as any QB to ever step on the gridiron.  Vince Lombardi himself would have been proud that a QB with Favre’s grit was the man who brought his trophy back to Green Bay for the first time since he roamed the sidelines, and protected the Lambeau home field advantage for 15 years until going on to retire 47 times.

4: The entire 1994 49ers entire offseason –  This set of moves helped SF, a franchise known for its class, end the reign of the most polarizing and by far the flashiest SB champs in recent memory, the Dallas Cowboys of the early 1990’s.  Those “bad boy” Cowboys teams looked unbeatable, so GM Carmen Policy got some money together and went shopping.  He added immediate starters Bryant Young and William Floyd in the draft, and snagged Gary Plummer and Rickey Jackson in free agency.  But the reason this move(s) gets into the top 5 is the fact that Policy got both Ken Norton Jr. and Neon Deion* to leave Jerry’s world and head west to the Bay area.  The 49ers would beat Dallas in the Conference Championship round, and go on to beat the Chargers in the ’94 Super Bowl.                                                                                             *Deion Disclaimer – After he won DPOY for San Fran, in typical Neon fashion, he would go back to Dallas the following year and help them win their third super bowl of the decade.  Guy was such a dick, but damn he could play!

3: Patriots select Tom Brady with the 199th overall pick – Unless you haven’t watched football, TMZ, or an UGGZ ad in the last decade, nuff said on this one.  10 years as a starter, 5 Super bowl berths, 3 Lombardis, and 8 pro bowls.  The dude is a legend on the field, and he has given women everywhere, not only in Bahston, the ability to name at least one NFL player.  Haters Gon Hate, but there is zero doubt that Brady is the real deal.  Probably the most notorious “value pick” of the current draft era, this move is inevitably mentioned 25 times at every NFL draft broadcast.

2: Packers sign The Minister of Defense:   Reggie White was as much a dominant force as any football player on either side of the ball over the past 30 years.  Newly appointed Packers GM Ron Wolf acquired “The Priest of QB Pressure” (I’m copywriting that) as a FA in the 1993 offseason at age 32, which by today’s standard would mean they were signing him to work in the front office, not the trenches.  White would go on to lead the Pack to two NFC Championships and a SB victory, and leave the storied franchise as their all-time leader in sacks with 68.5 in 6 seasons…in his 30’s.  Dude was a M. A. N.

1:  49ers trade up to draft Jerry Rice – Before the combine was live streamed on the internet and every person with a clipboard had draft grades for the top 1,000 prospects, the draft took a much less certain path.  In 1985, The “Genius” of GM’s Bill Walsh saw something in a hard-working WR from Mississippi Valley State that he knew he needed for his west-coast offense.  Walsh traded the Niners first and second round picks for the #16 pick overall to acquire the G.O.A.T, and gave the kid his first paying job since he used to lay brick with his pops.  The move would change the balance of power in the NFL, and 26 years later, the legendary Rice was named the #1 player of ALL-TIME on the top 100 list.  Not too shabby.  PS, guarantee you the guy can still play.

So Balla !

*Honorable mention:

Patriots acquire HC Bill Belichick from the NY Jets*  – *(Belichick would effectively become the Pats GM, plus I felt it was only right for this one to have an asterisk…Zing)  I felt that this power move could not be left out, and could in theory actually be near the top of the list.  For the amount of flack that “The Hoodie” takes from his critics, most of them are derived from his (lack of a) personality, and the reality is that the NFL isn’t a popularity contest.  He wins, then he wins some more, and his players would jump off a bridge for him.  This deal changed the entire NFL landscape for the next 15 years, and was no doubt bizarre when it all went down.





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