Former NFL head coach turned analyst Brian Billick held court for about 15 minutes this morning, talking about the available options for teams at the top half of the draft looking for a quarterback.
Billick said any team considering Peyton Manning will have to make sure they do their homework on the veteran quarterback’s health, along with getting used to the fact that they will be handing over the keys to their offense.
And similar to what Kansas City went through when they brought in Joe Montana at the end of his career, any organization that takes on Manning will be looking at a band-aid for two to three years that could set them back at the quarterback position long-term.
“For whatever time you’ve rented him, whether it’s two years or three years – hopefully he’s very productive – you then have to go back and start over,” Billick said. “Because believe me, what Peyton Manning does is unique to Peyton Manning.
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“And I’m not talking about just what he does on the field. If anyone has watched Peyton Manning at practice, he runs that entire practice. … so you’ve got to buy into that hook, line and sinker. And if he’s physically okay, great. You’ve got a great upside.”
Billick said the issue with Matt Flynn for interested teams will be paying a high-dollar contract for a quarterback with an impressive, but limited sample set.
Billick said teams will have to figure out if Flynn the next Matt Hasselbeck or Matt Schaub, or is he the next Cody Carlson or Rob Johnson.
“It’s a roll of the dice because you have a limited amount of data,” Billick said. “It’s not unlike Cam Newton. The tough thing for Cam Newton last year is you had the one year and 270-plus throws, of which about 20 percent were applicable to the NFL.
“That’s not a lot of database compared to an Andrew Luck or an RGIII, they’ve got a lot of throws that extrapolate to this league. So I’m much more comfortable in making that assertion than I was with Cam Newton.
“So this is the same thing. Yeah, you like what you see in Matt Flynn, but does it extrapolate? What happens on the entire season? We’re going to see all of Matt Flynn in 16 games. Yeah, you’re going to pay for that, but what you have to pay versus the risk on a draft choice or some other options, it’s probably a pretty good risk. But it is a risk. Pay your money and take your chances.”
Billick said that Robert Griffin III is a more talented passer of the athletic quarterbacks coming out in recent memory, and that includes Michael Vick and Newton.
“This guy has as pure of throwing action for an athletic quarterback, and clearly has the intelligence to transition,” Billick said. “I’m very intrigued with him as the potential in the NFL. He will translate to the NFL very well in my opinion.”
Billick believes that guys like Jake Locker and Christian Ponder would have been better served being selected later in the draft like Andy Dalton. And he has similar concerns that players like Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill will be taken too high because of need.
“This group once we get past those top two, there will be someone that gets pulled up, whether it be Tannehill or the like that get pulled up into the first round,” Billick said. “And they probably belong in the second round in terms of what they’ve done and what their history is.”
In terms of Luck, Billick believes he has the most NFL potential of a quarterback heading into the draft since John Elway.
“Andrew Luck has more credentials and fewer questions about him than any quarterback since John Elway,” Billick said. “Now it’s got to come together, but I think this guy’s the real deal.”