Eli v. Peyton: College Careers
I know this is kinda old post-draft news now, but I was just thinking about it after reading of Eli's screw ups in mini-camp:
With all the hype about his last name and Archie's manuevering, I am wondering, from just a talent and ability standpoint, how well did Eli really play in college, what are the strengths and weaknesses he displayed, and how do these things compare to Peyton's college attributes when he came out.
I remember when Peyton came out, he was considered the "safe bet" with a chance to be really good. I don't remember him as being "a sure thing" and certainly not a sure thing to develop into the franchise QB he has become. At Tennessee, Peyton played with quality talent players (I think Jamal Lewis was his running back) against top college teams. Also, as I recall, Peyton had the knock of not being able to win the big one back in college as well as in the pros. Additionally, I remember arm strength was a question for him back then too (or at least it was acknowledged that he didn't have a gun for an arm).
I really don't know anything about Eli's college, the type of competition they faced, whether or not he had NFL talent teammates or opponents, how he performed in big games, etc. Also, what are his pros and cons in terms of talent. I read he is not as much a student of the game as Peyton but that he is considered more instinctive and has a better arm.
With that in mind, I was wondering how Peyton's and Eli's college careers compared and whether that might be an indication of Eli's future success (I know he is gonna suck and generally get clobbered this year - but so did Elway and Aikman their first years).
Anyone know what type of college player Eli was or where I can find out about it?
I feel uniquely qualified to answer, being a huge Tennessee fan and having watched a few of Eli's college games.
1st, on Peyton. He was labeled as can't miss as much for his work ethic, desire, pedigree and intelligence. Athletically, Ryan Leaf probably had the stronger arm and at Tennessee Peyton threw a lot of short stuff. He was surrounded by a lot of talent, the team won the national title the year after he left, but he was clearly the best player on the team. Not winning the big one was kind of unfair, Fulmer routinely got outcoached by Spurrier so it was as much coaching as anything.
2nd, I wouldn't make too much of Eli struggling in mini-camp. He played in the SEC against solid competition. The level of talent surrounding him was not that good, yet Eli still was successful. I saw him play once in person and while he didn't look like the #1 overall pick, he made a few throws that really opened your eyes. I think he's the real deal, in a few years the NFC East is going to be a bear with Manning, Henson, Ramsey and McNabb.
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