Apr 25, 2013; New York, NY, USA; E.J. Manuel is introduced as the number sixteen overall pick to the Buffalo Bills during the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall. Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports
It happened. For the first time in Buffalo Bills history the team used their very first pick in the NFL draft to draft a quarterback. The question is now, can Manuel make it in the NFL? The answer: No one knows. We all just pray that he can. With the Bills taking Manuel, he was not only the first quarterback taken in the 2013 NFL Draft, but he was the only quarterback taken in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. He was even taken over Doug Marrone’s former quarterback in Syracuse, Ryan Nassib. With the Bills having their pick of the litter at 16 and doing their due diligence in studying the quarterback position prior to the draft, obviously the scouts, management and coaches know Manuel has an “upside” or a skill-set not possessed by Nassib, Geno Smith or Matt Barkley.
Now fans will disagree with the Manuel pick, but Manuel has more in common than meets the eye. For starters, current Buffalo Bills players are Florida State alums: Nigel Bradham, Shawn Powell and Zebrie Sanders. All are also former teammates of EJ Manuel. They’ll have some insight as to how Manuel conducts himself in the locker room. Head Coach Doug Marrone has also stated he wants to run a K-Gun type of offense. Well, Hall of Famer Bruce Smith may have been a defensive player during the K-Gun offense of the 90’s, but I’m sure he passed along some information to his God Son in Ej Manuel. That’s right Manuel is the god son of Bruce Smith. Finally, the last great quarterback to play for the Buffalo Bills was Jim Kelly. Arguments can be made for Doug Flutie or Drew Bledsoe, but the stats, the longevity and the success all lie with Kelly. Kelly played his college ball in the state of Florida, while growing up in a North Eastern State, in Pennsylvania. The same goes for Manuel, as Manuel played his college ball in Florida but grew up in Virginia.
So the Buffalo connections are there, but now it’s up to Manuel to put in the time, the effort and the commitment, in order to help guide the Bills back to the Playoffs. One can only hope.
You can follow me @DougRox14