With the first pick in the 2004 NFL draft the San Diego Chargers select Eli Manning. Quarterback out of Ole Miss. He would later be traded to the Giants and eventually take the team to the promised land in the 2007/2008 season. But is he a franchise QB? Or a fluke and a wanna be?
If you've read my recent article "New York Giant's 2009 Schedule: An Analysis", then you may have seen the debate between me and fellow Giants writer Saulo Padua (No. 7 among Giants writers).
Long story short Padua is confident in ELi's abbilities and believes that he has thrived as a quaterback in the NFL. He also compared his numbers to the likes of Terry Bradshaw, Troy Aikman, and John Elway.
Now let me be perfectly clear; I believe in Eli Manning. Easy E has all the tools he needs to be successful especially in the media frenzy that is New York.
I wouldn't throw his name in with any of the greats, nor would I even begin talking Hall of Fame but I would say you can do much worse then Eli. The real question is can the Giants do much better?
Don't forget David Carr plays right behind Eli, he was a number one pick too. He came just as highly praised as Manning did and he has had a few extra years to develop and plenty of time to heal the bruises left by his time in Huston.
But lets look at the facts, throw the numbers out the window. The intangibles are what we want to examine. Eli came in to a losing New York team with a brand new head coach and a veteran QB coming in (Warner) with and old favorite leaving town (Collins).
Eli has led his team to the playoffs each year since he became the full time starter and has had great success. I wouldn't call him a prolific passer but that works for Big Blue. They are a running team first and a Defensive team second; passing might be fourth or fifth.
Manning has flourished in enviorments where there are no big names. He has improved every season one big name player has been shipped off. Tiki, Shockey, and now Burress.
Eli may not be an elite passer but he stays calm under pressure and gets the job done, well most of the time anyways.
All in all the GMen have a few other options (Bomar has looked good in camp and don't forget about Woodson), but no one is more suited for the heat of battle on and off the Field then New York's own Eli Manning.
Ok folks bold prediction time! Eli will finish his career with at least another ring on his finger. If Nicks and Barden develop in to the one-two punch I think they are capable of (much like Amani and Burress), then Manning will be one of the most renowned passers of his decade.
Lastly, when his career is over he will be at least put into consideration for the Hall of Fame and I'll give him about seventy-five percent chance of making it. Expect big things out of Eli in '09, and to answer my own question yes Eli is the answer.
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