Birthday: January 3, 1981
Strengths: Eli Manning provides name brand comfort. You know what you’re getting with this prospect, but you might get a little more than you’d first expect. Growing up in the shadow of both his father and his older brother, Eli seems unfazed by the hype that has been heaved upon him. Like his kin, Manning is blessed with the family quarterbacking genes, including the long body, strong arm, and even stronger brain. But Eli’s also got a bit of mojo working for him, too.
More laid back than the uptight Peyton, Eli showed some brass cahoones in following his father’s well-respected footsteps at Ole Miss. The youngest Manning has good field vision and is an accurate passer. In this year’s spring game, he was razor sharp completing 14 of 20 passes for four touchdowns.
Manning has also set numerous records at Ole Miss. He broke his own single-season marks last year for passing yards, completions, and attempts. He’s also already the Rebels’ career leader in passing yardage and touchdowns. Manning has shown remarkable consistency, and at one stretch, he went sixteen consecutive games with a TD pass thrown. That streak was broken against Florida, his brother’s arch nemesis. Unlike Peyton, however, Eli was able to vanquish the Gators. Manning capped off an impressive junior campaign with 313 yards and no interceptions in the bowl game against Nebraska.
Areas for Concern: Despite what you might think, Manning had something of a quiet year as a junior, and his stats did show some decline from 2001. While by most accounts he is still an accurate passer, his completion percentage dipped more than five percent from his sophomore season, and his touchdown-to-interception ratio also slipped considerably.
A weak Rebel running attack has not helped Manning; regardless, he did have a few uncharacteristic games in 2002. In a 42-7 loss against Alabama, Manning felt heavy pressure and succumbed to four sacks. He also gave up a fumble and an interception in the contest. His three interceptions against Auburn were troubling, the last of which coming under two minutes to play to seal the win for the Tigers. Manning’s junior year regression came on the heels of throwing six interceptions in the final two games of his sophomore season. There might be concerns as to how well he reads the blitz, and when he’s under the kind of pressure he was in 2002, Manning often is found throwing off his back foot and off-balance.
Manning isn’t much of a scrambler. He scored only the first rushing touchdown of his college career late last season. Though he would later run in another one to raise his total to two, Manning’s career rushing totals at Ole Miss are a negative 107 yards. Manning might also not be a cold-weather kind of player, having grown up in the deep south.
Playing in the tough Southeastern Conference, Manning has been unable to ignite any serious title hope thus far in Oxford. Archie has also been a tad overbearing in shielding Eli from any Heisman hype, though he has backed down a bit this summer. One would hope that his father would have enough confidence in his offspring to show he was tough enough to handle the hoopla and expectations, especially if he’s going to possibly be a top overall pick.
How Does He Look in Steel Blue? It won’t be happening with David Carr and Dave Ragone still around Reliant Park. Given how high Manning will go, he will be long gone before the Texans even think QB, and that’s even if the thought crosses their minds. Having one Manning already in the AFC South, it would be a scary prospect to have a second one travelling to Houston every season. With the other three teams in the division not likely to spend a first round pick on Manning, however, this fortunately is a long shot possibility at best.
(profile written by Keith Weiland)
Eli Manning’s 2002 Stats G ATT CMP % YDS TD INT 13 481 279 58.0 3,401 21 15 Eli Manning Return to The War Room
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