While it was a foregone conclusion the Buffalo Bills would take a quarterback with the No. 16 overall pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, the quarterback they chose will be certain to create some controversy. The Bills selected Florida State Seminoles star E.J. Manuel with the sixteenth pick, signaling he will be the starter as a rookie in the 2013 campaign.
With the departure of Ryan Fitzgerald, there was no doubt the Bills would select a quarterback, but many NFL Draft pundits and those who follow the Bills closely assumed the quarterback would either be Syracuse Orange star Ryan Nassib — with whom the Bills had reportedly fallen head over heels in recent weeks — or West Virginia Mountaineers star Geno Smith, who still is believed to have the biggest upside of the quarterbacks available to be drafted in the early rounds.
In Manuel, the Bills will have an imposing athlete under center who has shown to be capable both on his feet in designed run plays and scrambling and has the ability to make the throws you would expect from an NFL-caliber quarterback. At 6’5″, 240 pounds, Manuel will also be able to take the beating he could endure behind an offensive line that was questionable at best and awful at its worst during the 2012 season.
Manuel has the reputation for being physically tough, adaptable, and intelligent — all characteristics that are absolutely essential to be successful at the NFL’s most difficult position. There was concern, however, among NFL scouts that he may have trouble picking up a more elaborate pro-style offense given that the sets he ran under Jimbo Fisher while at Florida State were relatively simple in comparison.
This simple offense didn’t really require Manuel to check down through progressions deeper than one or two receivers, and ultimately his instinct was allowed to take precedence in most scenarios. This will certainly be different in a more formalized NFL offense, so it’s reasonable to assume there will be a learning curve we will watch Manuel endure if he does indeed start as a rookie for the Bills this fall, and beats out Kevin Kolb in what promises to be an open competition.
E.J. Manuel certainly passes the eye test and fits a glaring need in Buffalo. Whether this first impression will result in results is yet to be seen.
For more information on E.J. Manuel check out his 2013 NFL Draft Profile here!