After reviewing the footage, reading the reviews, hearing the NFL Draft guru’s and watching the results; a lot of questions can be made of EJ Manuel, both good and bad. Did the Bills reach? Could they have waited? Is Manuel the best of a bad crop of college QBs? Is he the next coming of Randal Cunningham or Ben Roethlisberger?
Looking through the past ten years of the draft, the first quarterback taken has had some great success in the NFL while others have faltered. Here’s a look at how everyone has fared:
- 2003 – Carson Palmer taken 1st overall – Has played 10 years, was named AFC player of the year in 2005 and has been to the Pro Bowl twice
- 2004 – Eli Manning taken 1st overall – Has played 9 years, won 2 Super Bowls and has been named MVP of the Super Bowl twice
- 2005 – Alex Smith taken 1st overall – Has played 8 years and has only started all 16 games in a season twice
- 2006 – Vince Young taken 3rd overall – Has played 7 seasons, but only started for 3. Is currently a Free Agent.
- 2007 – JaMarcus Russell taken 1st overall – Probably the biggest Draft bust of all time, Russell only played 3 seasons and is currently out of football
- 2008 – Matt Ryan taken 3rd overall – Has played in 5 seasons and been named to the Pro Bowl twice. Has been in the playoffs 4/5 years.
- 2009 – Matthew Stafford taken 1st overall – Has started all 4 years in Detroit but has had injury problems. He threw for over 5,000 yards in 2011.
- 2010 – Sam Bradford taken 1st overall – Named offensive rookie of the year in 2010, has played 3 seasons in St. Louis as the starter
- 2011 – Cam Newton taken 1st overall – Has started every game for Carolina in his 2 seasons and has been to the Pro Bowl
- 2012 – Andrew Luck taken 1st overall – Started every game for the Colts and helped guide them to the playoffs in his first season.
So after looking at the past 10 QBs taken first in their respective draft classes it’s clear there were only 2 big mistakes, Russell and Young. (3 if you count Alex Smith, because of Aaron Rodgers success and the fact Smith hasn’t lived up to a #1 pick) While none of the players are the best player at the position (an argument can be made for Manning), there are many solid professionals and perennial Pro Bowlers. Yes these players were all taken in the top 3 picks, while Buffalo selected EJ Manuel at 16, but the success has been there for the top player chosen at the QB position. 8/10 are still starters in the league, with Palmer going to Arizona and Smith going to Kansas City this year, so the blueprint is there.
Manuel will need to focus and have a strong work ethic if he wants to succeed in the NFL. His work ethic should be strong, mainly because his mother has defeated breast cancer and anybody who beats cancer has a thirst to live and usually passes it down to through their family. They don’t want to see their family fail. So EJ: work hard, play hard and study hard. That is my advice unless you want to be another name like JaMarcus Russell or Vince Young, which I don’t think you do.
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