If Bill Walsh had possession of the No. 1 overall pick in the 1998 NFL Draft, he would've passed on Peyton Manning and Ryan Leaf and taken Brian Griese later.
Former Indianapolis Colts general manager Bill Polian, who selected Manning over Leaf, confided in Walsh prior to the draft, he told FOX Sports and Sports Illustrated.
Walsh advocated passing on a quarterback altogether.
True, @alexmarvez … But Walsh told me month before ’98 draft that if he had 1st pick, he’d have passed on QB, then taken Brian Griese later.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) April 1, 2015
Remember showing Walsh video of Manning+Leaf pre-draft ’98. Liked Manning more, to be sure. But wasn’t totally sold. Really liked Griese.— Peter King (@SI_PeterKing) April 1, 2015
Peyton Manning would go No. 1 overall to the Indianapolis Colts, win a Super Bowl and become one of the greatest passers in the history of the game.
Walsh, a three-time Super Bowl winner and Pro Football Hall of Fame coach, had quite a track record with quarterbacks.
The former 49ers coach waited to select Notre Dame's Joe Montana in the third round of 1979 NFL Draft.
Montana, who was the fourth quarterback taken that year, would grow into a four-time Super Bowl champion.
Walsh also traded with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers for quarterback Steve Young, who had a 3-16 record as a starter.
Young would win a Super Bowl with the 49ers, and both he and Montana are in the Pro Football Hall of Fame.