Draft Day Target: QB Eli Manning

It's never too early to start looking towards the 2004 draft. We start an early look at some of the candidates for the Cowboys. First up, Ole Miss quarterback Eli Manning, the brother of Colts QB Peyton Manning.

Full Name: Eli Manning  School: Mississippi

Ht: 6-4 Wt: 220 40: 4.92 Number: 10

2002: Started all 13 games and named second team All-SEC selection. School's career leader in TD passes and the 17th player in SEC history to reach 50 career TD passes. Also set Ole Miss career records this season for 300-yard passing games (6), 250-yard passing games (14), and 200-yard passing games (20). Completed 279-of-481 passes with 21 TDs and 15 INTs .

2001: Started all 11 games, setting or tying 17 school records, establishing new Ole Miss single-season marks for passing yards (2,948), passing attempts (408), completions (259), TD passes (31), and total offense (2,957). Completed 63.5 percent of his passes, connecting on 259-of-408 for 2,948 yards and 31 TDs with nine INTs.

2000: Appeared in seven games, completing 16-of-33 passes for 170 yards with one INT during the regular season.

The Good: The next in what is a trio of solid NFL quarterbacks coming from the Manning household. Tough yet heady signal caller who throws the ball with solid fundamentals. Quick setting in the pocket, patient and buys time for receivers, also scanning the field for the open target. Disciplined, remains calm as the pocket collapses around him and stays with the action. Sells the ball fakes and immediately gets the pass off on a three step drop. Passes with an over-the-top delivery, throws nice corner routes or lays the ball in front of receivers and lets receivers run to the pass. Accurate and tough; stands in and takes a hit in order to get the pass off.

The Bad: Shifts his feet in the pocket and drifts. Cannot drive the ball down the field and the throws lack velocity. Not as accurate as older brother Peyton nor does he place his throws as well.

The Skinny: From an intangible point of view, Manning has it all - an understanding of the game, feel for the position, and solid mechanics. But looking at him physically, Manning's a middle of the road quarterback. Manning can effectively lead a team at the next level but must have an offense designed around him to mask the deficiencies of his game.

Cowboys' Perspective: Regardless of how much improvement the Dallas Cowboys and Quincy Carter show in 2004, there's a good chance Bill Parcells will be in the market for a young signal caller, and Manning could certainly fit the bill.

Manning provides all the basic skills you like to see in a big league quarterback, and he could be ripe for the taking should Carter resort back to some of his questionable decision making later in the season. The word out of Valley Ranch is that most of the initial scouting that will take place, at least in the near future, will focus around the future acquisition of a quarterback.

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