A quarterback to an NFL team is like what a fancy car is to society: the fancier the car, the more people are going to flock to you. The current situation at the quarterback position in the Buffalo Bills’ camp certainly isn’t a broken down Ford in a junkyard, but there definitely isn’t a shiny new Lamborghini sitting in the driveway either.
Right now, the best option on the Buffalo roster is EJ Manuel; after being drafted in the first round (16 overall) in the 2013 NFL draft, he he’s started just 14 games in two seasons. In his rookie campaign, Manuel saw the field a total of ten times (all starts) until he suffered a right knee injury in a game against the Cleveland Browns. Up until that point, he was having about what any team would expect from a rookie quarterback, throwing for 11 touchdowns, nine interceptions and completing 58% of his passes.
He started this last year on a strong foot, winning his first two games but failed to effectively move the offense in week’s three and four. Former head coach Doug Marrone decided to bench Manuel for veteran Kyle Orton and the team finished the season 7-5, barely missing the playoffs. With Orton’s decision to retire from the game of football, the team is back to Manuel under new head coach Rex Ryan.
A lot of fans are on the fence in terms of whether or not they believe Manuel can be a starter in the NFL. But as fans, have really been given a legitimate option of judging Manuel’s potential?
His stats certainly don’t pop off the paper like the other young quarterback’s may throughout the league. His mechanics are a little whack, which attest to the fact that he struggles to complete passes. He’s not going to take off and run but if he has to, he can use his 6-5, 240 lb frame and 4.6 speed to get tough yardage.
Regardless of what he’s shown thus far in his career, it’s not time to give up on a 24 year old that’s still learning his way in the league. And for general manager Doug Whaley, it’s not the right time to dish out anything for that injury prone quarterback in St. Louis.
Since being drafted first overall in the 2010 NFL draft, Sam Bradford has shown great flashes of being a franchise quarterback. Before tearing his knee seven games into the 2013 season, Bradford was picking apart defenses on his way to 14 touchdowns and 1,600+ yards. As people always are, they were curious how he’d come back from an ACL tear. We were all given that answer when Bradford tore the same ligament in the same knee in pre-season action this past year.
There’s no doubt that you can’t trust Bradford’s health. After news broke that his agent is free to contact team’s about a possible trade, we’re all wondering what the asking price would be for a player nobody can trust to stay healthy. After trading away their first-round pick in this years draft to move up and select Sammy Watkins last year, the Bills are without trade leverage. And with just six selections (two fifth-round picks) come draft weekend, with other holes to fill across the roster, Buffalo can’t afford to lose any more.
Bringing in a quarterback to push Manuel for the starting job is important. While he hasn’t proven that he doesn’t belong in the league, he hasn’t proven that he doesn’t need competition either. But going after a quarterback that brings in a lucrative contract and injury concerns isn’t a solid decision for Whaley, Ryan and the Buffalo organization.