“I’m responsible for that one,” Beathard said. “The thing that messed me up is that [former Colts executive] Bill Polian wouldn’t swap picks with me. I wanted Peyton. I knew Archie and Olivia. I knew I wanted Peyton if I could get the first pick. Even after the draft, Polian said he wasn’t sure which one to take, but I don’t know whether to believe him on that.”
Manning became the only four-time most valuable player in league history for the Colts. Leaf played only 25 NFL games. He now faces felony charges in Montana stemming from allegations of burglary and stealing prescription medication.
“I know when we worked both guys out, we did not think Leaf’s arm was significantly stronger than Peyton’s,” said Chris Polian, Bill Polian’s son, who formerly worked for his father with the Colts. “That was supposedly the knock on Peyton, that his arm wasn’t as strong as Leaf’s, and we didn’t find that to be the case. And not that we really knew anything about Leaf, not that this foreshadowed anything, but I think there were some areas where he did not measure up to Peyton.”
Griffin faced some scrutiny last week when the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel quoted an unnamed NFL scout saying that he has a selfish streak. Another anonymous scout told the paper that Griffin doesn’t have vision or a feel for the pocket. But for the most part, the pre-draft evaluation process has been relatively kind to Luck and Griffin.
“It’s been a little different this year because there really hasn’t been much of a backlash against either guy, where people start questioning one thing or another,” Polian said. “There hasn’t been a Ryan Leaf comparison kind of thing, like when people started asking whether Peyton’s arm was as strong as Leaf’s was. Even though these guys are [numbers] one and two, it hasn’t been a real comparative thing, or a thing where they’re being picked apart too much.”
Moon served as an adviser last year to Cam Newton, the quarterback drafted first overall by the Carolina Panthers who broke Peyton Manning’s NFL record for passing yards by a rookie last year. Moon called Newton’s rookie-year success “mind-boggling,” and said he expects any young quarterback to have ups and downs.
“They’ll both go through their rookie struggles,” he said. “They’ll have to learn. People might blitz them like crazy at some point and there will be weeks when they’ll handle it, and weeks when they won’t. I think they’ll both be excellent quarterbacks. But it’ll take some time.”
Despite the history of 1-2 quarterbacks, few seem to expect Luck or Griffin to go the way of Couch, Leaf and Mirer.
“I would say because of the intangibles that both of these guys have, because of the overwhelming success they had in college and brought to their programs, it’s hard to see them not living up to their potential,” Polian said. “Both of these guys elevated their programs. Each guy has their own skill set, but both are extremely talented.”