If I'm spending millions on a player to build my franchise around, I don't want potential; I want reality. Unlike Ryan Leaf, Manning is a finished product, a grown-up with more maturity than half the five-year veterans in the NFL. His arm is nearly as strong as and more accurate than Leaf's, and he has the quickest release since Dan Marino. I'd give the keys to Manning and not sweat the quarterback position for 10 years.
Give me the linebacker-sized Leaf, who at 6'5", 238 pounds is more rugged, less susceptible to injury than the 6'5", 222-pound Manning. Leaf is a better athlete, stronger of arm and more fiery than Manning. To those who point out that he's also rawer, I say: So what? No quarterback does squat until he's been in the league at least three years. And to scouts cautioning that Leaf is a "free spirit," spare me. You had the same line on Brett Favre.