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Ryan Leaf, QB
(6-5 3/8, 240, 4.85e) | Washington State
Drafted by: San Diego, Pick 2, Round 1 , Overall 2


Mel Kiper's analysis: Ryan Leaf.
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Notes: Top all-around athlete in high school who also played basketball. Redshirted in 1994. Played in nine games in '95 and started the finale against Washington, throwing for almost 300 yards. Ended the season completing 52-of-97 passes for 654 yards with four touchdowns and one interception and rushing for two scores. Started every game in '96, completing 194-of-373 attempts for 2,811 yards, 21 touchdowns and 12 interceptions and rushing for six scores. Learned how to study film and started to see the big picture in '97, thanks in large part to the patient coaching of Mike Price. As a result, was able to lead Washington State to the Rose Bowl, finish second in the nation in passing efficiency and third in the Heisman Trophy balloting in '97. Completed 210-of-375 passes for 3,637 yards with 33 touchdowns and 10 interceptions and ran for six scores during the regular season and was named Pac-10 Offensive Player of the Year. Spent most of career playing in a run-and-shoot-type offense with four or, at times, five wide receivers.

Positives: Very mentally and physically tough. An outstanding competitor. Great size and stature. Very good all-around athlete. Looks like a tight end and is very strong. Can throw with tacklers draped over him like a young Terry Bradshaw or Roman Gabriel. Moves well once he gets going and will literally overpower and run over defenders. Has good field vision. Does a lot better job of running and escaping from the rush than Drew Bledsoe did and is a much tougher, more assertive player. Has tremendous arm strength and pretty good touch. Can throw all the passes. Can make very quick, snap throws when he has to. Can throw off-balance with velocity. Has developed a passion for being the best and became a film-room junkie this year after having a lackadaisical approach to the mental side of the game until recently. Leaf showed tremendous improvement during the 1997 season both from a mental and playing standpoint, and he displayed a little more self control and self discipline.

Negatives: May be getting too big and heavy. Was more than 260 pounds at the combine. Very self-confident to the point where some people view him as being arrogant and almost obnoxious. However, coach Price swears that, once you get to know him, Leaf is a great person. Tends to hold on to the ball too long. Takes unnecessary sacks and gets hit a lot more than he has to. Does not find second and third receivers as quickly as he has to. Can be very inconsistent throwing the ball and misses too many open receivers. Ball placement and accuracy are not what they could or should be. Does not throw a lot of tight, pretty spirals. Gets too macho and thinks he is a fullback. Overly emotional and has to be in the middle of everything.

Late report: Leaf has been working with a trainer and has his weight down to 248 pounds. Most scouts feel his best playing weight would be about 240-245 pounds.

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