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This may be the most polarizing, controversial draft of the decade. Either Giants' fan view this year as a turning point of the franchise, where the Giants got their franchise QB, who eventually lead them to a championship OR they see this as one of the biggest reaches and non-value picks in the history of the draft.
Basically the trade boils down to: Eli Manning for Philip Rivers, Shawn Merriman, and Nate Kaeding (OLB and K are still positions of need today as evidenced by the Clint Sintim pick and having to bring the ancient John Carney on in 2008). In terms of straight value, this is inarguably a bad trade even if Rivers and the Chargers have yet to win a Super Bowl.
One can argue that Rivers for Manning today straight up would be a fair trade, so including a defensive force like Merriman completely tips the scales in favor of SD. It is not farfetched to imagine that if Rivers developed as he did in SD, Osi drafted a year earlier, paired with Merriman, then the Giants would have had comparable success. Granted this trade WAS Accorsi's baby, but Reese had to be involved with giving his blessing.
Also, lost in the franchise changing trade with SD in the first round was the first pick in Fourth round, where the Giants selected Reggie Torbor (disappointment). The very next pick the Chargers took Shaun Phillips.
So the Giants could have had BOTH of SD's pro-bowl stud LBs in Merriman and Phillips. Again, these wasted opportunities were mitigated by Reese's shrewdness and knack for getting value with later picks such as Chris Snee and Gibril Wilson, both future starters. Also, the colossal loss of value in the 2004 draft would be overcome by the Giants in the following year's draft, which for my money was the best in franchise history.