NFL Draft: 2004 Re-Draft

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1. San Diego Chargers

Nov 24, 2013; Cleveland, OH, USA; Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger (7) throws a pass against the Cleveland Browns at FirstEnergy Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

New Pick: Ben Roethlisberger

2004 Pick: Eli Manning (traded to Giants)

You might have forgotten, but it’s the Chargers, not the Giants, on the clock. Although they essentially had the fourth pick in the draft and ended up with Philip Rivers, in this Re-Draft, San Diego doesn’t make any trade, and winds up taking Big Ben first overall.

Although he’s certainly not a perfect QB, Roethlisberger’s combination of size, agility, intangibles have proved to be a winning formula, as seen by his postseason success. No player from this draft had more immediate success than Roethlisberger, who stepped in early in the season after injuries and went on to go 13-0 as a starter in the regular season and unanimously be voted the Offensive Rookie of the Year.

With this marked early success from Roethlisberger, as opposed to Rivers (who sat) and Manning (who struggled), imagine young Big Ben leading a talented Chargers team that boasted fully-in-their-primes Ladainian Tomlinson and Antonio Gates. Those 2004-07 San Diego teams had more talent than any offense the Steelers have had during his career.

With Big Ben in sunny San Diego instead of Pittsburgh, you also like to think some of those nagging injuries who picks up wouldn’t exist, as he wouldn’t have to play the Ravens quite as much.

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