Eli gets what he wants

Prepare yourselves sports fans. This weekend is one of thegreatest that professional sports has to offer. The baseball seasonis underway with great stories unfolding from teams and playersalike.

The NBA and NHL are charging through their playoffs and theyboth are shaping up to be quite exciting. But for this sports fan,it’s the NFL draft that will be the center of attention and likealways, the drama is brewing, starting with the very firstpick.

Wouldn’t it be nice to have the ability to pick where you wantedto work? This seems to be the case for Eli Manning, Payton’s babybrother, who is predicted to be the top pick in this year’s draft.The problem is that the San Diego Chargers have the top pick andEli doesn’t want to play for them.

He wants to play for the New York Giants who have the fourthpick in the draft. Manning surely will be picked sooner thanfourth.

Actually it’s kind of hard to tell what Eli wants. Sure, hedoesn’t want to go to a graveyard for young quarterbacks in SanDiego. But it’s bigger than that. San Diego has one of the lightestrosters in the league, which is very similar to the situation Eli’sfather Archie was in when he was drafted by New Orleans.

Archie spent his career with some horrible teams and it probablycost him his invite into the Hall of Fame. That is why Archie hasgrabbed the mic, instead of Eli, and stated that his son will notsign with San Diego if they draft him.

Now this is where it gets fun. The Giants, of course,have contacted San Diego about trading up from their fourth spot sothey could draft the young Manning. The Cleveland Browns have alsoentered the picture, saying that they would trade up to the firstpick and select left tackle Robert Gallery of Iowa. A stickysituation indeed.

If San Diego lets the Giants move up to the first pick, it willseem that Manning is dictating the draft. If they trade withCleveland, Manning will surely go to the Oakland Raiders, SanDiego’s division rival. Being that they have one of the weakestrosters, they have got a lot of holes to fill and may pick anotherprospect at a number of positions.

San Diego has not publicly stated what they will be doing butone thing’s for sure, that first pick will be analyzed by allsports journalists until Saturday morning. And that’s just thefirst pick.

There is a lot of talent in the draft pool this year, those thatare out of high school by three years or more. Sorry Mike Williamsand Maurice Clarett.

It’s a big year for wide receivers with two top prospectslooking to make some noise in the NFL. Larry Fitzgerald ofPittsburgh is an athletic competitor that will definitely be takenin the top five. He’s arrogant, making him a perfect asset to anyteams receiving core.

Roy Williams out of Texas is another young talent that will makea defiant positive impact on the team that selects him. He may alsogo in the top five but he will probably go as a sixth or seventhpick.

For those of you who are looking to root for someone closer tohome, keep your eye on Steven Jackson. This bruising running backout of Oregon State is shaping up to be the top pick at hisposition. He has the speed, the hands and the agility to become thenext Priest Holmes.

I know the big guy will be watching Jackson, RIP buddy.

So whatever your plans are for this weekend, you might want tosqueeze in some ESPN when you have a second. Check it out for a fewminutes and the broadcasters will have you up to date.

The draft process is tedious so if you’re planning on making thelong haul like I am, you’ll probably need a half rack and acomfortable seat. Stay tuned for next week’s article when Idescribe what happens when you mix Thirsty Thursday with a rowdycrowd.