New York - The San Diego Chargers struck it big today when they moved up and drafted Ryan Leaf, the quarterback from Washington State, with the second pick of the draft. In order to acquire this pick, the Chargers traded this years and next years first round picks, this years second round pick, linebacker Patrick Sapp, and Pro Bowler Eric Metcalf. Charger fans need not worry however because Leaf is worth all this and more.
His measurables are amazing. He stands 6'5" and weighs 240 pounds, both amazing numbers for a quarterback. His size means he is durable in the pocket and can take hits if they come. He has a cannon for an arm but also shows great touch when he needs to.
His stats in his junior season, his first and only full season as a starter in the college ranks show a man poised to make the jump the sunday league. He threw 33 touchdowns compared to only 10 interceptions while posting a passer rating of 161.1, second in the Pac-10.
Leaf led Washington State to a share of the Pac-10 title this past year and ended the school's 67-year Rose Bowl drought. The team lost to the eventual co-national champion Michigan Wolverines in that game.
Many personnel men thought it a close race between Peyton Manning - QB, Tennessee - and Leaf for who would be selected No. 1 overall. Manning was taken by the Colts with the first pick leaving Leaf for the Chargers when they traded up to the second pick.
Manning is seen as the more polished quarterback, having the Manning legacy and starting at Tennessee for 3 years. Leaf though is the more physically stunning prospect and could potentially be the better pro.
The Chargers front office officials claim that even though they took the second quarterback, they took the best player in the draft. They are going to need that to be true if they are to return to the form of previous seasons after going 4-12 last season.
Charger fans should be excited for seasons to come with the addition of this young man and his bright future.