2004 NFL Draft: A Look Back at One of Best Drafts a Team Has Ever Had

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2004 NFL Draft: A Look Back at One of Best Drafts a Team Has Ever Had
Chris Trotman/Getty Images

The San Diego Chargers finished the 2003 season with a league-worst 4-12 record. They were granted the first overall draft pick and speculation was that they would select the "can't miss quarterback" out of Ole Miss, Eli Manning.

Manning and his agent, Tom Condon, let the Chargers know that if they drafted him with the first pick that he would not sign a contract to play for them. The Chargers selected him anyway knowing that they could get a good amount in return for the quarterback. San Diego then made a trade that sent Manning to the New York Giants for their fourth overall draft pick Philip Rivers and their third round pick in that draft. The Chargers also received the Giants first and fifth round picks in the 2005 draft through the same deal.

In 2005, the Chargers would use that first round pick they received from the Giants to draft Shawne Merriman. Merriman would be a Pro Bowler in his first three seasons and a terror on San Diego's defense earning himself the nickname of "Lights Out."

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