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Love's Unforgettable NFL Draft Moments

Now into April, we are just a handful of weeks out from the annual NFL draft, which this year is being held in Detroit, Michigan. With that in mind, I wanted to go over some moments from years past that are nothing short of unforgettable.


First Player Draft 

Let's start with the very first player drafted into the NFL (pre-merger) in 1936 by the Philadelphia Eagles, just three years into their existence. With that first overall selection, they opted to go with a then-star running back who had just won the first-ever Heisman Trophy. His name is Jay Berwanger, hailing from the current D3 program at the University of Chicago.


After being selected by Philly, Berwanger demanded he be paid $1000 per game, which the Eagles could not do at this point. Failing to agree on a contract, he was then traded to the Bears, who also couldn't agree to terms with him. That effectively ended his football journey, and Berwanger took a job in sales for a foam rubber company (this story is 100% real). 


The Biggest Draft Day Trade 

There have been numerous Draft Day trades over the years. In this article, we will focus on arguably the Top 2 biggest draft day trades. 


Eli's Holdout: In 2004, the San Diego (now Los Angeles) Chargers initially drafted Eli Manning. The Chargers took Manning first overall, fully knowing that Manning did not want to be drafted by them. The New York Giants would take NC State’s Phillip Rivers (whose senior superlative was most likely to have enough kids to run an NFL offense). 

 

According to the profootballhof.com, after Rivers was selected, New York would send Rivers along with a third-round pick and a 2005 first and fifth-round selection to San Diego in exchange for Manning. The former pick would turn into "Lights Out" Shawn Merriman, while the fifth-rounder was used to acquire Roman Oben, a very solid veteran left tackle for San Diego in the mid-2000s.

 

The Great Eight(y): If this draft-day trade in 1985 had not happened, NFL history regarding wide receivers would not be the way it is today. San Francisco 49ers head coach (at the time) Bill Walsh loved Mississippi Valley State’s Wide Receiver Jerry Rice. Walsh was so fascinated with Rice that he moved up a dozen spots to grab his guy, doing so with the New England Patriots.


In the move, San Francisco sent the Patriots a second-round plus a third-round pick. The 49ers only gave up a second-round pick to move up 12 spots and get inside the top 20, which surprisingly is a slight overpay by today's standards. However, considering who they got and the fact the Patriots did next to nothing with those picks Walsh sent them, you'll do that deal every single time.



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