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10 years later, Eli Manning still at the center of the Giants' draft

2004: ELI MANNING Drafted: 1st round, No. 1

Drafted: 1st round, No. 1 overall by the San Diego Chargers
College: Mississippi (10,119 yards, 81 TDs in three-plus years)
NFL: Manning refused to play in San Diego, forced a trade to the Giants and beat the 18-0 Patriots in Super Bowl XLII in 2008. He then beat the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI in 2012 as he grew into a truly elite quarterback. He has thrown 320 career TDs but has led the NFL in interceptions three times, too. In 2016, Manning threw for 4,027 yards, 26 TDs and 16 INTs.
Credit: AP

Ten years ago he was the headliner of the Giants’ draft. This year, Eli Manning still had a strong impact on the decisions that were made. His physical status four weeks removed from ankle surgery and the urgency with which the Giants are giving him weapons to return to glory were two key matters this weekend.

First, the players that were added.

“We’re trying like heck,” Jerry Reese said when asked if the draft class was meant to help Manning return to form. “We think we have a weapon with Odell (Beckham Jr.) out on the outside, we think he’ll help in respect to that. We have a center (Weston Richburg) who we think can help. And we got a big running back (Andre Williams) he can hand the ball to. All of those things can help him out and get him back on track.”

As for Manning’s return from the surgery, he seems to be ahead of schedule and might even be able to participate in OTAs and minicamp on a limited basis. It was believed as recently as a week ago that Manning would not be ready to play until the start of training camp.

“He’s an amazing guy,” Tom Coughlin said. “We’ve got about a dozen medical eyes watching him and he’s just getting better and better. I expect after three days rest (this weekend) he’ll come in on Monday and be doing jumping jacks.”

The Giants have tried to keep Manning off the field throughout the offseason workouts, but haven’t always been successful.

“To be honest with you, he’s taken a snap here or there,” Coughlin said. “He’s going to continue to. As long as he’s feeling good and there is no setback, then, in moderation, he’s allowed to practice.”

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