It’s not as exciting as Andrew Luck vs. Robert Griffin III, the No. pick in the NFL draft vs. the No. 2 pick: two players in different conferences that only meet on rare occasions. Instead, it’s a rivalry between two guys who can be the franchise QBs for their teams battling out for the next decade in the same division. E.J. Manuel and Geno Smith were the first two QBs taken in the 2013 NFL draft. It wasn’t No. 1 and No. 2 like last year — Smith wasn’t even taken until the beginning of the second round — but the top two QBs taken in last year’s draft have the potential to see a lot of each other over the coming years if things go to plan for their respective franchises. The rivalry begins on Sunday when the New York Jets host the Buffalo Bills.
It’s been a very similar start for the two QBs. Both have a 1-1 record with a win over an NFC squad and a close loss to the division rival New England Patriots under their belts. The early numbers show what was known to scouts before the draft — Manuel was a bit more ready for prime time than Smith coming in. Through the first two games, Geno is 39 of 73 (53%) for 470 yards, one TD and four INTs. He has run for 64 yards and been sacked nine times. His numbers are good for a 55.2 QB rating. Conversely, Manuel is 45 of 66 (68%) for 44 yards, three TDs and one INT. He’s run for 36 yards and has been sacked once. He has a 95.9% QB rating through his first two.
Smith was more of a project coming out of college so he’s taking his lumps early. Manuel was a more experienced guy and has settled nicely into the Bills’ new offense. There are a lot of questions that we’ll need time to get answers to with these guys such as how they will do in the winter weather of the northeast. For this week they’ll play for bragging rights in their first match-up as well as to get a leg up in the AFC East. It’s not much but it’s a start.