CBSN

Quick Switch Atop NFL Draft

Eli Manning, a quarterback from Mississippi, who was selected as the number one draft pick by the San Diego Chargers, speaks to reporters after being traded to the New York Giants during the NFL draft Saturday, April 24, 2004 in New York.
AP
It took a while before Eli Manning could truly enjoy draft day.

San Diego chose Manning to open Saturday's NFL draft, despite pleas from the quarterback and his family not to, but then traded him to the New York Giants for Philip Rivers.

"I'm a lot happier now than I was 10 minutes ago," Manning said during a second news conference; his first came when he still belonged to the Chargers.

"We wanted a trade to happen. We never had favorite teams."

Manning and his family had requested that the Chargers not select the Mississippi quarterback, but San Diego made him the No. 1 overall pick. An hour later, after the Giants chose North Carolina State's Rivers, the deal was announced.

The Chargers get New York's third-round pick this year and the Giants' first and fifth-rounders in 2005 in addition to Rivers, whose stock soared after private workouts and interviews.

Manning joined brother Peyton, the NFL's co-MVP last season, and father Archie in being picked in the first two spots of a draft. Peyton went first overall in 1998 to Indianapolis, and Archie was the No. 2 pick in 1971. They are the first family to have three players selected in the first round of the draft.

The crowd at Madison Square Garden booed lustily when Eli Manning's name was the first called by commissioner, and the quarterback held up a Chargers jersey and hat. They yelled just as loudly when the trade was announced.

"It is nothing new. I've heard boos before," Manning said. "I've been in a lot of stadiums where they've booed."

Manning even went back on stage after the trade to take photos holding up a Giants jersey. He was joined by Archie, Peyton and his mom, Olivia Manning.

Through Archie and agent Tom Condon, the Mannings told San Diego general manager A.J. Smith not to take Eli, and that Eli was prepared to sit out the season if they did choose him. The Mannings preferred New York, and got what they sought.

With the second pick, Oakland selected Iowa tackle Robert Gallery. Several teams, including the Giants and Browns, were eager to get Gallery, who is considered the best offensive line prospect since Orlando Pace went No. 1 overall to St. Louis in 1997.

Arizona also did the expected, taking wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who was eligible after his sophomore season because he attended prep school before going to Pitt. Fitzgerald was a ball boy for the Vikings when current Cardinals coach Dennis Green coached in Minnesota.

By acquiring Manning, the Giants might have signaled the end of Kerry Collins' stay in New York because he has only one year left on his contract at about $8 million.

Just before the Chargers-Giants trade was announced, Washington took Miami safety Sean Taylor, who should be an instant starter.

Detroit traded the sixth overall spot to Cleveland, which moved up just one place and surrendered this year's second-round selection to get Miami tight end Kellen Winslow Jr. Browns coach Butch Davis recruited Winslow to the Hurricanes, and Winslow said going to Cleveland was "an ideal situation" for him.

Winslow is the son of Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow.

The Lions went for Texas wide receiver Roy Williams, who they will team with Charles Rogers, taken second overall last year. Williams' stock also rose significantly in the postseason.

Meanwhile, Pat Tillman was praised at the draft as a hero by Tagliabue, who wore a black ribbon with Tillman's name on it and a Cardinals helmet pin with the No. 40 attached.

Tillman, who left the Arizona Cardinals in May 2002 to join the Army Rangers, died Thursday night in an ambush in Afghanistan. His jersey was hung below a video screen, along with a photo of the former Cardinals safety.

"Pat Tillman personified the best values of America and of the National Football League," Tagliabue said Saturday, flanked by five Marines. "Like other men and women protecting our freedom around the globe, he made the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life for his country."

A moment of silence then was held in Tillman's honor, after which the crowd at Madison Square Garden chanted "U-S-A, U-S-A."

"It puts things in perspective," Iowa tackle Robert Gallery said of Tillman's death. "The guy gave up a career in the NFL, which shows what kind of man he is. He is a hero to all of us, especially the guys in football."

The Cardinals took Tillman in the seventh round of the 1998 draft, the 226th player chosen. He developed into a starting safety known as a hard hitter and special teams demon.

All NFL staff members wore ribbons and pins in honor of Tillman.

His death hit the NFL hard, from veteran players and coaches to the members of this year's draft class.

"It's real tragic," Virginia Tech cornerback DeAngelo Hall said. "He decided to leave the NFL and go fight for his country, fight the good fight. He loved his country, and you know how big a role model he is. He said, `This is what I need to do.' He's a hero."