Peyton Manning made his retirement official this week, giving us a chance to have some fun by remembering that even Manning wasn’t a sure thing when the Indianapolis Colts drafted him 18 years ago. In fact, a lot of folks thought that Washington State product Ryan Leaf was a better prospect, and fellow quarterback prospects Charlie Batch, Jonathan Quinn, and Brian Griese received their fair share of hype.
Leaf was drafted second overall, right behind Manning. That, of course, didn’t pan out well for the San Diego Chargers. Batch was taken in the second round by Detroit, Quinn and Griese in the third by the Eagles and Broncos, John Dutton (Dolphins) and Matt Hasselbeck (Packers) were sixth-round picks and Moses Moreno went to Chicago in Round 7.
Dutton spent time on three NFL rosters but never threw a regular-season pass in the league. However, the other six members of the ’98 quarterback class did start some games. Here, 18 years later, is how they stack up.
Everyone else: 328
Hasselbeck started 160 games, while Moreno started just three.
Everyone else: 72,475
Manning finished with 20 times as many passing yards as Leaf (3,666).
Everyone else: 411
Manning is the all-time record holder in terms of yards and touchdowns. Among the other six quarterbacks, only Hasselbeck (212) and Griese (119) threw more than 100 touchdown passes.
Everyone else: 349
That despite the fact Manning threw nearly as many passes (9,380) as the rest of the group combined (10,711).
Everyone else: 160
Hasselbeck (85) was the only other quarterback to win 50 games. He and Griese (45-38) had winning records, while Batch went 25-30 and Leaf, Quinn and Moreno were a sad 5-25 altogether.
Pro Bowl selections
Everyone else: 4
Hasselbeck went to three, Griese one.
First-team All-Pro selections
Everyone else: 0
Excluding Manning, the entire 1998 draft class had 20 first-team All-Pro nods. In other words, Manning took up 26 percent of the total for the entire class.
Manning retired Monday, Charles Woodson retired earlier this year and Hasselbeck is a free agent, which means zero players from that draft remain on NFL rosters. We’ll see if Hasselbeck signs somewhere, giving the 40-year-old a chance to help the field in the comparisons above before his time runs out.