It rarely happens. As explained in Gamemakersit should happen more often.
The best prospects in any given draft, destined to be selected by a potentially unlucky franchise, should always consider making a powerplay in hopes of landing with a better team. However, it has only happened twice in the past 40 years: John Elway in 1982 and Eli Manning in 2004. (In 1986, Bo Jackson told the Buccaneers not to make him the first overall pick. They did. He played baseball before. the Raiders took a seventh round kite on Bo the following year.)
So with the next one Manning recently picked to play college football at the University of Texasit’s not too early (OK, maybe it is) to wonder if Arch will be the next guy to tell the team that the road to the top of the draft has failed: “No, thanks.”
Players hesitate to do it. Fans and media immediately defame anyone who dares to in any way de honor-and-privilege of the NFL version of the sorting hat. Some consider it. Few do.
Eli was able to do it in large part because his father, Archie, provided cover for him† With Archie, a former NFL luminary who would have been a Hall of Famer had he not been drafted by and tied to a perpetually pathetic franchise, preventing Eli from playing for the Chargers, Eli came out of the effort with minimal scarring to his reputation. .
But make no mistake about that. Eli didn’t want to play for the Chargers. He opted for it largely because he got mixed signals about whether the team really wanted him. That’s no surprise, given the extreme dysfunction that has reigned between GMAJ Smith and coach Marty Schottenheimer. So Eli took a stand, and it worked.
If, thanks to a combination of NFL genes and access to Archie, Eli, and Peyton, Arch emerges as the top pick in whatever draft Arch comes in, why not take a closer look and see if you’re signing with the team that’s sucked away to the top pick puts his career between a rock and a hard place?
If he thinks it’s the right thing for him to do, he should. Any clear top pick, especially in the quarterback position, should do the trick. Don’t you think at some point last season (or on multiple counts), Trevor Lawrence wondered why he didn’t refuse to go to the Jaguars? Even with Urban Meyer gone, the first year of Lawrence’s career was largely wasted. While it could indeed end well for him, he would have been better off if he had landed elsewhere.
It’s too late for Laurens. It won’t be too late for Arch Manning. And if/when Archie, Peyton, Eli, and/or Cooper launch a private and/or public campaign to get the first-choice team not to take Arch or pick him and then trade him, it won’t be easy. are for that team to refuse. Especially since more NFL teams seem to be gradually moving toward, as Steelers coach Mike Tomlin puts it, looking for volunteers, not hostages.
The issue won’t be relevant until Arch brings out a top prospect in the concept he’s entering. But that day will be here before you know it. When the time comes, Arch could be next in too short a line of shortlisted prospects who are resisting a system that gives them no say in where they will live, work and play.
However it turns out, it shouldn’t be something that happens once every 22 years.
Will Arch Manning end up being the next quarterback to draw an Eli? originally appeared on Pro Football Talk