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.
taggedColin Kaepernick | Jameis Winston | Joe Flacco | Johnny Manziel | Super Bowl XLVII | Trent Dilfer