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October 26, 2005

SCS.comMatt Leinart possesses all the skills of a gifted college quarterback, but how will his talents transfer onto the NFL gridiron? With a rocket arm, unquestionable game savvy, and a quick release, Leinart certainly seems poised to be the next great quarterback in the National Football League. I have examined several areas of his game and personality to determine whether or not I think he will succeed at the next level of play.

Personality wise, Leinart is as good as they come. Calm, mature, and confident, Leinart seems poised to take the reins of a lucky NFL team and guide them to the promised land. Toughness is as big a part of his game as is his throwing talent and leadership ability. Countless times I have seen Leinart pummeled to the ground, only to get back on his feet with a smile as if to say, "I can take all the punishment you want to dish out and still beat you," and then walk to the huddle to begin the next play.

The talent factor is where Leinart surpasses other collegiate quarterbacks in the game today. A canon for an arm with a quick draw release, Leinart's opposing defensive backs have a hard time picking on Leinart. Due to the fact that his reaction is so quick, they have little time to make a play on the ball. This is evident in the touchdown versus interception ratio of the last three years with Matt at the helm of the daunting Southern California offense.

The final aspect of his game that makes him so special is his intelligence. Rarely have I seen him play into the hands of a defense by staring down a receiver or taking too long to throw. Even against the vaunted Oklahoma defense last year, Leinart was able to pick apart the secondary on the way to a blowout national title game.

Matt seems to possess many characteristics of the modern NFL star, however, only time will tell. Some team will make him the first pick next year, and he could either be a Tom Bradyesque quarterback or he could follow in the mold of another PAC-10 quarterback, the famed Ryan Leaf (although Matt’s personality seems to not put him in the same category). In three to four years we can look at his NFL career and see what happened to today’s most special collegiate quarterback.

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