Thursday, March 8, 2012

Two Talented Franchise Quarterbacks to be Picked 1-2. Sound Familiar?

The adage that history repeats itself is not true. There are always different circumstances with every situation, yet it is possible for a general theme to emerge. This year, as we approach the draft, there are two quarterbacks that are being discussed as the best two players in the draft. They are expected to go first and second in the draft. It seems that no matter which of the two is taken, a team is going to get a quality quarterback who can lead the team for the next 10 to 15 years at an incredibly high level.

Is Andrew Luck the next Peyton Manning?
Stanford's Andrew Luck is drawing comparisons to now former Colt Peyton Manning. Luck seems to have all of the polish and ability of a traditional quarterback. He can make any throw and seems to learn at a high rate. While he never won the Heisman, he was a finalist for two seasons. Luck put up phenomenal numbers during his career, even breaking records set by Stanford great John Elway.

RG3 represents a new breed of quarterback coming into the NFL. RG3 has all of the tools to be a good quarterback, but brings a new breed of athleticism to the position. He can make any throw but can tuck it and run with deadly results. He proved himself by taking a Baylor team from the bottom of the Big 12 to a contender. His numbers were great and he conducted himself well in interviews.

Knowing what we do about how these two performed in college, it is hard not to see them having success as an NFL quarterback. Luck seems the perfect successor to Peyton in Indy. RG3 would make a team running the west coast offense even deadlier. It seems that both are tied as to who is the best, only coming down to a matter of scheme preference to decide who is better for which team. In fact, St. Louis has already said that they will be trading the 2nd pick of the draft (for the right price). They are in a prime position to immediately benefit the most from the ability of these quarterbacks. But just because a player is great in college doesn't mean that he will find success in the NFL. Just ask the Chargers.

In the 1998 NFL draft, there were two great quarterbacks coming out of college that had scouts drooling. Peyton Manning had been viewed as an NFL quarterback since he picked up a football. He was the son of Saints legend Archie Manning. He had done almost everything but win a national title or win the Heisman while being a 4 year starter at Tennessee.  Scouts viewed him as a very polished quarterback that would be leading his team for years to come.

Ryan Leaf had just as much hype coming out of college as Peyton Manning. Leaf was a Heisman finalist along with Manning, leading his Washington State Cougars to a Rose Bowl birth, losing to eventual national champion Michigan. Leaf gave the Cougars their first win against Washington since 1985 and helped them capture their first ever PAC-10 title. Leaf was viewed as a more athletic quarterback than Manning. His strong arm also helped elevate his status as a draft pick.

When draft day approached, experts were saying how these two would be meeting each other in the post-season throughout their careers. When the draft began, the Colts selected Manning first overall.  Arizona was supposed to pick second, but made a trade with the Chargers. In that trade, the Chargers gave up two first round picks, a second round pick, and Pro-Bowler Eric Metcalf.  Experts viewed it as a great move.

In hindsight, we all know just how opposite the careers of Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf have been. Manning is going to go down as one of if not the greatest quarterback to play the game while leaf is the biggest example of a bust (maybe a tie with Russell). I am not saying that either Andrew Luck or RG3 is destined to fail. Rather, just hold off on anointing anybody as the savior of a franchise. For the time being, they are highly touted draft picks, of that there is no doubt. Is it possible one of them if not both of them may fail to make the transition to the NFL from college? Yes. Just take the draft hype with a grain of salt.

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