April 26, 2013 Leave a comment
The Buffalo Bills surprised the football world last night when they selected EJ Manuel with the 16th pick in the NFL draft, making him the first and only quarterback drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft. While Manuel wasn’t the #1 quarterback on most people’s draft boards (although he was on top guru Mike Mayock’s board) it does make a lot more sense when you step back and think about it.
For starters Manuel is the most comparable to the big quarterbacks taken in the past few drafts. Robert Griffin III, Cam Newton, Colin Kapernick, Russell Wilson, even Andrew Luck are more comparable to Manuel than to Nassib or Barkley. There were also arm strength questions with Barkley and Nassib and that’s is an issue for a quarterback who needs to play home games in Buffalo in November and December and, God-willing, January. Manuel has good arm strength. He also has great accuracy on short, quick routes which is what you’ll likely see a lot of from the Bills this coming season. Also I think some of the shock from the national media was born out of sheer laziness. Earlier in the week I heard Mel kiper Jr. cite Ryan Nassib as the most over-valued potential first round pick. Nassib of course wasn’t picked in the first round but it was almost as if Kiper was resigned to the fact that Doug Marrone was simply going to stay put and take his college QB. Not that the media needs to spend a lot of time thinking about what the Bills are going to do but the spitefulness of being so far off is a bit silly.
As for my own opinion of the Manuel pick I am cautiously optimistic. Over the course of watching the NCAA over the past few seasons I have to say that Manuel was the most impressive guy to me in my very unprofessional opinion from watching NCAA football games over the last few years. I like that he played at a big program down in FLA (just like the Bills’ last franchise QB) and I like that he’s 4-0 in bowl games. After seeing all of the interviews and press conferences since the pick you’ve also got to be impressed with how this kid handles himself. He seems like he should have a good handle on the locker room and the huddle.
As for other picks that I liked in the first round – I liked the Steelers grabbing Jarvis Jones at 17, The Colts taking German pass rusher Bjorn Werner at 23 and the Ravens replacing Ed Reed with Matt Elam at #32. Then of course there was another one of those grand larceny trades made by Bill Belichick and the Pats. Tonight it will be interesting to see where some of the big names leftover go. As far as the Bills go I would look for WR, MLB and TE.