Eli Shares Memories of Unforgettable Draft Day

Eli Manning remembers the hours before the 2004 NFL Draft.

Manning was touted to go first overall to the then-San Diego Chargers, a franchise the former Ole Miss star and his entourage wanted no part of.

In the end, the Chargers took Manning anyway, but the selection would lead to him being traded to the New York Giants. He recalls those fateful days leading up to the draft, including the Friday night prior to his selection.

“I was in New York, that’s about all I can remember,” he said. “I think I went to dinner with my family and just tried to – it was a stressful time because of everything going on, but just tried to enjoy it and tried to enjoy the time being in New York, being at the draft, being with my family and knowing I’m going to have the opportunity to play in the NFL somewhere. So, I think I just tried to relax a little bit before. I knew once you were drafted and you are going to a team, I knew the work was about to amp up and I had to go kind of earn that right to play quarterback for that team.”

Manning’s connections allegedly orchestrated the draft-day trade that saw the Giants send multiple picks to get the quarterback they craved.

With four Pro Bowl appearances and two Super Bowl MVP Awards to Manning’s name, the trade with the Chargers has worked out pretty well for both the Giants and Eli. Manning will likely go down as the best quarterback in franchise history.

Fast forward to the present day. There is uncertainty surrounding Manning, but this time, it’s as a veteran 37-year-old signal caller. The Giants at some point will need to move on from a quarterback who still has plenty to offer.

The Giants will be picking second overall in the 2018 NFL Draft. It’s a consequence of a 3-13 record that comes with the silver lining of a high draft pick. But the Giants are unlikely to draft Manning’s replacement with their first-round pick because their quarterback of the future might already be on their roster.

[Watch Giants Draft Night Live Thursday at 7:30 PM on MSG & MSG GO]

Take a look at the players the New York Giants may select with the second overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

Davis Webb, the Giants’ third-round pick last year, has some promising tools. He put up good numbers at Texas Tech and then in 2016 at Cal. He has accuracy and a decently strong arm.

[Rank The 2018 NFL Draft Prospects]

While he needs to develop, he is certainly putting in lots of work this offseason.

Webb has worked out at Rutgers along with Manning and former Giants wide receiver Brandon Marshall. He’s also spent time with quarterback guru Tony Racioppi of TEST Football Academy, working on his mechanics and technique.

The Giants likely won’t draft a blue-chip quarterback on Thursday night in the first round to someday supplant Manning. It might be Webb who is eventually groomed to someday take over for Manning.

His work ethic, Manning said, is undeniable.

“I think Davis has always worked extremely hard, even last year,” he said. He likes watching film, he likes drawing up plays, he likes doing all those things, so we were in there a good bit – you can’t really have any meetings with the coach and you’re trying to learn a new offense and really the only way is kind of watching film. It was good watching it with someone else just because you can kind of help decipher what the read was or what the play was going on or what the protections are and try to figure out some things. He works extremely hard on the field, in the film room, in the weight room, so he’s got the right mentality for it all and it’s good. That’s who you like to surround yourself with, guys that work extremely hard and it even motivates me to work harder and to keep up with him.”

[Watch Giants Draft Night Live Thursday at 7:30 PM on MSG & MSG GO]