Odell Beckham Jr. may be the Pro Bowl captain, but he knows who he needs to keep happy.
The first selection for his team in Wednesday night’s “draft” of Pro Bowl players was teammate and quarterback Eli Manning. Beckham and Manning will represent “Team Rice,” which is headed by Hall of Famer Jerry Rice. Rams defensive tackle Aaron Donald is a co-captain on the squad.
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Earlier in the day, Manning said he had discussed his draft status with Beckham.
“I told Odell, ‘Hey, I know you’re a captain, don’t feel there is any pressure to draft me,’” Manning said. ‘But if you don’t draft me, don’t expect to catch any balls next year.’ So the pressure is off. I left it at that and I think he’ll make an educated decision at the draft.”
Manning and Beckham connected for 96 completions, 1,450 yards and 13 touchdowns in 2015. Manning will have another New York connection when he gets the ball as Jets center Nick Mangold is also on Team Rice.
Manning was the second player taken in the process. “Team Irvin” led by Michael Irvin took QB Russell Wilson with the first overall selection.
Beckham clearly had a voice in the draft process. His team’s third pick was former LSU teammate and best friend Jarvis Landry. Rice also wanted to keep offensive teammates paired together; he selected Raiders QB Derek Carr and WR Amari Cooper.
The Pro Bowl will be played Sunday night in Honolulu.
Giants kicker Josh Brown also was assigned to Team Rice in a pre-selection process for linemen and specialists. Cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was selected by Team Irvin. Jets running back Chris Ivory was selected by Team Rice.