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Five things I think I think

Chargers-Giants dance over Manning mystifies

Posted: Saturday April 24, 2004 10:24AM; Updated: Wednesday April 28, 2004 4:39PM
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Five things I think I think, first round

Five things I think I think, second round

SI's Peter King will check in throughout the day with his thoughts and observations on the 2004 NFL Draft.

Eli Manning
Eli Manning and his family told the Chargers he wouldn't play in San Diego.
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

OAKLAND -- My gut feeling: The Chargers-Giants dance involving Eli Manning isn't over. They'll have some contact this morning or sometime soon after noon today.

Gut feeling II: No deal will get done. Manning enters the off-season a Charger.

I still don't get it. The Chargers love North Carolina State quarterback Philip Rivers nearly as much as Manning -- more, I think, in the eyes of some in the San Diego organization. They could make a deal with the Giants like they made with Atlanta when they passed on Mike Vick.

That's one of the myths of this whole story. The Giants never offered the Internet-rumored deal of a one this year, a two this year and either a two next year or wideout Ike Hilliard. Never happened.

I believe their last best offer, and the only serious one, has been a one and three this year and a two next year. If I'm the Giants, I'm not improving that deal one bit unless it's with, say, a sixth-rounder. The fact is that Manning, if he's better than Rivers and Miami's Ben Roethlisberger, is better only marginally.

But enough of the talk. Let's get on with the show. The five things I think I think entering the draft:

1. I think the one pre-draft prediction I can't quite fathom is Mel Kiper seeing Robert Gallery falling to the fourth pick. I can't see him getting past No. 2 under any circumstances.

2. I think Detroit deals with Jacksonville.

3. I think no matter what happens with the top pick, I can't see the hard feelings lingering ... unless Eli Manning isn't signed by mid-August. And the reason I don't see that happening is that the Manning family, no pun intended, is not a bunch of rebels.

4. I think people in every draft room, at some point, will catch themselves saying: "My God. I can't believe Pat Tillman's gone."

5. I think 100 years from now, children in schools across the country will be reading about a hero named Pat Tillman.

Sports Illustrated senior writer Peter King covers the NFL beat for the magazine and is a regular contributor to SI.com. Monday Morning Quarterback appears in this space every week.