Round two of what may turn into a huge quarterback rivalry for years to come. The New York Jets will face off against the Buffalo Bills for the second time this season, and aside from the obvious storyline of if the Jets can win a consecutive game, and if they’ll show up, their is an intriguing storyline that has been developing since the end of the 2013 NFL draft: EJ Manuel, a first round pick, versus Geno Smith, the second round pick that was looked over. The top two quarterbacks taken in the draft.
Going into the draft, there was a lot of hype surrounding Geno Smith who was expected to go in the first round, but that didn’t happen — Smith found himself falling all the way to the second round. In the first half of Smith’s senior season, the quarterback put up some ridiculous stats; throwing for 2,274 yards and 25 touchdowns with zero interceptions. The second half of his season was a different story, which may have led to the fall in his draft stock. Still, Smith possesses great athletic ability, demonstrating a strong arm and has the ability to throw well on the run. He showed he can make plays with his legs, be effective in the pistol formation and can be dangerous in play-action.
EJ Manuel was an afterthought going into the draft and was predicted to go in the late first round, or second round, but instead, the Bills chose Manuel with the 16th overall pick in the draft. With Manuel, the Bills are getting a player that has all the physical tools to be a dangerous quarterback. He has a strong arm and the running ability to be effective in the read-option and pistol packages. As a senior, Manuel completed 68 percent of his passes; 263 completions for 3,397 yards and 23 touchdowns with 10 interceptions. Manuel also impressed at the Senior Bowl and was named most outstanding player.
So how have the picks fared so far?
In their first meeting, Geno Smith lead his Jets to a 27-20 win over the Bills in Week 3. In that game, Smith torched the Bills secondary, throwing for 331 yards and two touchdowns; he also ran one in. EJ Manuel, facing a much tougher defense, threw for 243 yards and one touchdown. In nine games, Smith has a 71 quarterback rating, throwing for 1,997 yards and eight touchdowns, but is also responsible for 13 picks. Manuel, only played in six games due to injury, but in those six games Manuel has thrown for 1,140 yards and six touchdowns with four interceptions.
Manuel will look to even up the score this Sunday, but in comparing numbers, it’s been kind of even, so this rivalry may be a heated one for years to come – especially because they play in the same division.
Both quarterbacks have all the makings of future stars in the NFL and they will always be compared to each other. Which one would you rather have leading your team?