QB Peter Lalich- California University (PA)
Summary: Lalich’s story probably deserves a whole novel. Here is the really short version: athletic, genius quarterback goes to University of Virginia, gets kicked out (drinking), goes to Oregon, gets kicked out again (more drinking), goes to California University in Pennsylvania (division II), sets every school record, wins respect of every coach, and now wants to play in the NFL. Wow, and you thought Manti Teo had the biggest story in the draft! Everybody likes a comeback story and this has all the pieces to be one. Lalich looks and acts like a talented football player in football settings. Coaches have praised the intangibles as much as the tangibles: Peter is often seen drawing up plays until 1 or 2 am and has the arm strength and accuracy to complete most passes. The only question for him is: what does he look like in non-football settings? He has been arrested for DUIs and kicked off two football teams for violating probation. Clearly, he needs to be in a structured environment with veteran presence and stern head coaches. But, look at the skill set! He is 6’5, 235 and can throw the ball 50 yards down the field without breaking a sweat. Here is his tape: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XW9oOBjT3H8. And here is a full summary of his life: http://www.hogshaven.com/2013/3/1/4055052/swag-champ-the-peter-lalich-story
NFL Transition: Basically the same as what I said above. He is smart enough, and good enough, to transition to the NFL. Is he mature enough? Is he ready to face the scrutiny of the media and teammates? Those are questions that will plague his transition.
NFL Comparison: Josh Freeman
In terms of on the field, Lalich plays like Josh Freeman. He is tall, athletic, and has a big arm. Freeman has been a little inconsistent, but when given weapons, he can make plays. Lalich was productive at UVA with no weapons and godly in division II with some pretty good weapons. In that regard, he is identical with Freeman. Lalich, like Freeman, can make all of the throws.
NFL Dream Team: New York Giants
There were several teams I considered for this spot. The Saints also are a good fit, with Drew Brees to provide veteran leadership and Sean Peyton to provide stable coaching. The problem is that Lalich would be a lot to handle with Bounty Gate fresh on everyone’s mind. This is just not good timing for the Saints. The Cowboys would be an interesting fit as they need a backup to Romo and Lalich certainly provides attention, something that the Cowboys love. But, it wouldn’t be best for Lalich for several reasons (most of which have to do with the incompetency of Jason Garrett and Jerry Jones.) The Chargers were probably the closest second to the Giants, the difference being in stable coaching and good veteran leadership, both of which favor the Giants.
The Giants are the team that makes the most sense for Lalich. Eli Manning a two time NFL champion and, even though he still has skeptics, a leader. At 32, he is a veteran who is need of a young gun to mold. Manning is a product of said system: his rookie year Kurt Warner was the starter in New York. Manning understands the transition for a controversial QB (cue the 2004 draft) and being in NY, has learned to handle the drama that the invasive media can cause. In short, Manning would be a good mentor for Lalich. But, an even better model, is Manning’s coach: Tom Coughlin. He is a no nonsense guy who always keeps his players in check. He is also offensively minded but has an old fashioned attitude to the passing game, both of which would help Lalich. Furthermore, he has experience tuning talent into success (Mark Brunell, Eli) so Lalich is nothing new for him. The stability of the Giants ownership combined with a solid team makes Lalich worth a late round flyer for the Giants.