Birthday: January 3, 1981
Strengths: Sure, maybe it is all in the genes. But this latest version of the Manning quarterbacking clan has a little mojo working for him, too. Eli Manning is every bit as talented and as smart as his older brother, Peyton, and father, Archie, but Eli plays like he isn’t burdened by the heavy expectations, like say, Chris Simms of Texas might be.
Manning has all the tools, and he’s maturing quickly. His confidence is soaring. Manning was a stunningly accurate passer through the first nine games last season, throwing only three interceptions to his twenty-five touchdown passes. His poise was impressive for a first-year starter.
Manning has gotten better this spring, too. Those out patterns that needed more zip? They have more zip now, thank you. At 205 pounds, is Manning too thin? A little time in the weight room and ten pounds later, he isn’t anymore. Manning is yet another quarterback with hopeful eyes on the Heisman this fall, but unlike the championship-caliber teams for which Simms, Florida’s Rex Grossman and Miami’s Ken Dorsey (among several others) play, Ole Miss likely won’t figure into the BCS picture by year’s end.
Areas for Concern: Um, let’s see here… oh yes, here’s one: Manning isn’t much of a scrambler. And relative to his older brother, some may find his laid-back, fun-loving attitude a little difficult to stomach.
His last two games of the 2001 season are somewhat discomforting, as Manning threw a combined six interceptions, doubling his season count to date. The first three of those six were on the road in an Egg Bowl loss against a tough Mississippi State defense, but then three more were in a come-from-behind win against a 2-9 Vanderbilt team. Manning was hit hard, and he’ll need to do a better job of picking up the blitz and avoiding trouble to remain successful.
How Would He Look in Steel Blue? Seeing him in the red and blue of Ole Miss just isn’t the same. As a junior, Manning could follow his brother’s lead and stay for his final season of eligibility, but then again, Peyton didn’t redshirt one of his years like Eli did. Given the way Eli has taken to college life, he will likely return to Oxford for the 2003 season.
The chances of Manning playing for the Texans are quite dim. This is David Carr’s franchise, but should events take a shocking and dramatic turn by the time the spring of 2004 rolls around, Manning would present the Texans with an intriguing option on draft day.
(profile written by Keith Weiland)
Eli Manning’s 2001 Stats G ATT CMP % YDS TD INT 11 408 259 63.5 2,948 31 9 Eli Manning Return to The War Room
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