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QB revolution: Trent Dilfer pegs Jameis Winston future No. 1 pick

By Tim Graham

NEW ORLEANS -- Trent Dilfer already has his No. 1 overall draft choice slotted for 2015 or so.

"I know what's coming," Dilfer said Thursday in the Super Bowl XLVII media center. "I know the kid at Florida State, Jameis Winston, will be an absolute rock star.

"He'll be the first pick of the draft if the first pick goes to a team that wants to run the pistol, zone-read, have a passer. He's that kind of kid."

Dilfer, the Super Bowl-winning quarterback 12 years ago and ESPN analyst, also instructs high school and college players. He has seen a glimpse into the future, and he's convinced the pistol formation and read-option are here to stay and will change the game.

Sunday's quarterback matchup -- Baltimore Ravens pocket passer Joe Flacco versus San Francisco 49ers pistol-pilot Colin Kaepernick -- is symbolic of the crossroads.

In addition to Texas A&M hotshot Johnny Manziel (aka Johnny Football), Dilfer sees a smaller number of quarterbacks already on the pistol radar and a larger crop coming from the prep ranks behind them within the next five to 10 years.

"You got [Marcus] Mariota coming up, who's going to be a stud," Dilfer said. "Braxton Miller is developing as a passer. Teddy Bridgewater can do this."

NFL coaches have come around to the idea of adapting their offenses to fit their quarterbacks rather than forcing youngsters into an established pro system. The results for quarterbacks such as Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, Russell Wilson and Kaepernick have been obvious.

"The standard guy, the Joe Flacco, the Peyton Manning, the Tom Brady -- the isolated-to-the-pocket guy -- you're going to see less of them," Dilfer said, "and you can tell by this year's draft grades coming out.

"Mike Glennon and Landry Jones are extremely talented passers. If they were in the [2008 draft] group, I can make an argument both of them would go before Flacco and [Matt] Ryan from a stature, arm-talent standpoint.

"But now they're looked at as, 'Eh, late first-round, second-round ...' because they don't do all this other stuff that we all love. Drafting the Flaccos of the world, you'll see them slide a little more, and you'll see that this year."

For more on the evolution of the modern NFL quarterback, check out my story Sunday in The Buffalo News.


Colin Kaepernick | Jameis Winston | Joe Flacco | Johnny Manziel | Super Bowl XLVII | Trent Dilfer
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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |