2004 NFL Draft

By Tom Waterman

Now almost six years removed from the now infamous 2004 NFL Draft that featured one of the most prominent Quarterback classes of all-time. We are all now faced with the question of which one of those quarterbacks is the best. Here is a quick recap of the players.

Drafted with the first pick overall was Eli Manning out of the University of Mississippi. As we all remember, Manning was subsequently traded to the New York Giants mere hours after being selected by the San Diego Chargers. So far in his career, Manning has led the New York Giants to two NFC East titles, a Super Bowl victory over the previously unbeaten New England Patriots, and to four consecutive (possibly soon to be five) playoff appearances.

Along with the success of his team, Manning has continued to improve each year in the league and now regarded by most as one of the top quarterbacks in the league.

Eli Manning Career Stats:

124 Touchdowns

85 Interceptions

56.7% completion percentage

79.3 QB rating

50-35 as a starter

Drafted with the fourth pick that year was Philip Rivers out of North Carolina State University. Rivers, who was originally drafted by the New York Giants, was ultimately traded to the Chargers for Eli Manning and is now in his fourth season as the starter for the San Diego Chargers. He has led his team to two AFC championship appearances, and has also had four consecutive seasons with at least 20 touchdowns and 3,000 yards passing.

Philip Rivers Career Stats:

103 Touchdowns

45 Interceptions

62.9% completion percentage

95.3 QB rating

44-18 as a starter

Not to be forgotten, also drafted with the tenth pick that year was Ben Roethlisberger out of the University of Miami Ohio. Roethlisberger has two Super Bowl Rings with Steelers and quarterbacked the first playoff team to win three consecutive road playoff games in route to winning the Super Bowl.

Ben Roethlisberger Career Stats:

123 Touchdowns

80 Interceptions

63.4% completion percentage

91.6 QB rating

Regardless of what you value more, team success or individual statistics. People all are of a differing opinion of which quarterback is better. Either way, this QB class of 2004 will certainly go down as one of the best of all time. So which quarterback would you want on your team?

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2 thoughts on “2004 NFL Draft

  1. chris bunn says:

    1) Eli Manning is a solid QB but not one of the top QB’s in the league. His Super Bowl ring can be attributed to a ferocious D-Line and strong running game. His escape from the clutches of the Patriots on the Tyree Catch was pretty much the only noteworthy thing he did in the game. He’s no more talented than Trent Dilfer was for the Ravens when they won the Super Bowl.

    2) Statistically, Rivers is the best and it’s debatable to say he has had worse receivers than either Roethlisberger or Manning. Since all three teams have strong running games, you can throw out the argument of play calling. If Rivers can get support from his defense and doesnt miss on the closing LT window, a Super Bowl win would cement him as the better QB of the draft.

    3) Roethlisberger is a winner and thats what the game is about, winning. 2 rings is 2 rings that said he isn’t the prototypical pocket passer. In fact, I would say he’s more of a physical freak than a technically skilled passer (of course he’s both but still).

    If I’m drafting right now, I take Rivers 1st, Roethlisberger 2nd and Manning 3rd.

    -Chris Bunn

    • Chris, you make a lot of valid points. But to say that Eli Manning is not a top quarterback in the league is absurd. What more could you want from the guy? He led his team through the playoff gauntlet to win the super bowl in 2007 without the strong running game he had in the regular season, and then led one of the best two minute drills in NFL history. He has made four consecutive playoff appearances including two NFC East titles, and his stats this year are the best of his career and better than people like Tom Brady, Carson Palmer, and Donovan McNabb. He is going to end up with more then 30 Touchdown Passes and almost 4,000 yards. Those are Pro Bowl numbers, for a player that is the sole reason the Giants are even close to making the playoffs this year. He is a staple of consistency and durability at the quarterback position for the Giants and to say he is not a top quarterback in the league is crazy.

      I rank these three quarterbacks the same way I did on draft day 2004…Manning 1st, Roethlisberger 2nd and Rivers 3rd.

      -Tom Waterman

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