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Five things I think I think

Giants pay heavy price to get Manning

Updated: Wednesday April 28, 2004 4:38PM
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Five things I think I think, pre-draft

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 was drafted by the Chargers with the No. 1 overall selection and traded to the Giants for fourth-pick Philip Rivers and additional draft picks.
Ed Betz/AP

OAKLAND -- "Boooooooo!''

Wow. I didn't expect that. I didn't expect the reception that rained down on Eli Manning in New York, or the nasty arm gesture that greeted the pick from the fan at the Chargers draft party in San Diego. And I'm impressed with the kid when he was poised enough to look into the ESPN cameras and say, stiff upper-lipped, "Right now we just hope a trade can happen.''

Really, I can't remember seeing a draft moment like that in 20 years covering the NFL. Donovan McNabb was booed five years ago, but not hysterically, when the Eagles took him over Ricky Williams. This was a real New York booing, on two coasts. Incredible.

In the end, as I've said through the week, I don't think there's much difference, if any, between Manning and Philip Rivers. I respect the Giants and their decision-making throughout this process, but I think giving the first-rounder next year is too much. Unless Manning is a superstar on his brother's level -- and I'm not saying he won't be -- and Rivers is a pedestrian player, the Chargers will have made a terrific deal.

Five Things I Think I Think During the First Round

1. I think the Lions made a heck of a trade, dealing down just one pick and getting the 37th pick in the draft in return. I understand Cleveland's love of Kellen Winslow Jr., and I understand Matt Millen holding out for a second-round pick to make the trade, but that is a huge price. Now the Browns wait till the 68th pick in the draft to get another player.

2. I think there's a reason why Merril Hoge is one of the best NFL analysts on any network, and it came through in the analysis of Manning vs. Rivers before the draft. "It's the Manning history pulling the weight here,'' Hoge said. "He's no John Elway. It's his dad, his brother and the power of his name. If Rivers had that, he'd be the No. 1 pick here.''

3. I think Michael Irvin had the weirdest comment of the day's first three hours. Did he really say about Roy Williams: "Why did he wait so long to come out?'' Geez.

4. I think that's a great pick by the Raiders, spurning the chance to trade down with several teams to take the best tackle to come out since at least Orlando Pace seven drafts ago.

5. I think Lee Evans is going to be a tremendous pro player. With the new staff in Buffalo, and with an assist from Sam Wyche in making the playbook more wide open, the Bills will have Evans and a healthy Eric Moulds to try to resuscitate Drew Bledsoe's flagging career. If Bledsoe can't cut it, then Evans and Moulds will have a new thrower in 2005.

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.