The Buffalo Bills have endless options with the ninth pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, and the addition of a new wide receiver or tight end will dramatically improve the potential of quarterback E.J. Manuel.
The Bills have tried to cement a top spot in the AFC East for years, and the addition of Manuel in 2013 brought hope to the Buffalo faithful. He produced stats in his last year with Florida State University that proved he was ready to run a NFL team. With 3,392 passing yards, 23 touchdown passes and 310 rushing yards, the Bills believed Manuel could lead the team to wins against the rival New England Patriots for years to come.
Sadly for everyone in Buffalo, Manuel never had a chance to prove if he was a franchise quarterback. In his first year, the young quarterback suffered various knee injuries that sidelined him during the middle and end of the season. In the 10 games Manuel played, he passed for 1,972 yards, completed 11 touchdown passes, had nine interceptions, rushed the ball for 186 yards and scored two rushing touchdowns. These numbers are not enough to know if he will be the future for the Bills, but adding more weapons so the signal caller can be successful is a huge priority in Buffalo.
The first new target Manuel will have to throw to at the start of the 2014 season will be Mike Williams. Off-field issues for Williams have been well documented, but the speedy receiver has proven that he can be a playmaker. The Bills are also heavily looking into drafting wide receiver Sammy Watkins or tight end Eric Ebron, and these are arguably the best players in this draft class at their positions.
The running attack that ranked second in rushing yards in 2013 should help to relieve a great amount of pressure from Manuel if he can stay healthy for an entire season. Running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller are dual threats because of their receiving skills, and this once again provides Manuel with even more options.
Will Manuel surpass Peyton Manning as the best quarterback in fantasy football for 2014? Probably not, but that doesn’t mean he can’t finish as a top-10 quarterback. He is far too risky to rely on as your starter, but he would be a solid backup in any league. Follow the draft closely to see what the Bills do, and get ready to add Manuel to your roster in August if he has some fancy new targets to throw the ball to.