Chargers Draft

LA Chargers: Best players to be drafted that never played for the Bolts

2004 NFL Draft first overall pick Eli Manning (right) with NFL Commisioner Paul Tagliabue, at Madison Square Garden in New York, April 24. Manning, shown with San Diego Chargers jersey, was traded to the New York Giants later in the day. (Photo by Allan Grdovic/Getty Images)
2004 NFL Draft first overall pick Eli Manning (right) with NFL Commisioner Paul Tagliabue, at Madison Square Garden in New York, April 24. Manning, shown with San Diego Chargers jersey, was traded to the New York Giants later in the day. (Photo by Allan Grdovic/Getty Images)
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(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) – LA Chargers
(Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images) – LA Chargers

2. Eli Manning

You all know the story already as it is one of the most infamous stories in NFL Draft history. The LA Chargers selected Eli Manning with the first overall pick in the 2004 NFL Draft, only for Manning to flex his muscles and demand his way out of the organization.

The Chargers were smart about how they handled it, though. They still drafted Manning, which created weird pictures like the one above, and then used that as leverage in a trade with the New York Giants for Philip Rivers to get more picks in return.

The team likely would not have gotten as much of a return if they simply traded down in the draft prior, as their leverage would have been minimal, but actually selecting him kind of forced the Giants’ hand.

It was a risky move, but it ended up working out.

Rivers has been the more talented quarterback throughout their careers but Manning had a more successful career. Manning won two Super Bowls, one of which coming against the undefeated New England Patriots, who were arguably the greatest NFL team of all-time.

Manning is still a Hall of Famer (if Rivers is then Manning has to be) as he is in the top-10 in both passing yards and passing touchdowns all-time.

It ended up working out for both sides and the Chargers would not have been any better off with Manning instead of Rivers.

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