E.J. Manuel, who was drafted 16th overall by the Buffalo Bills last Thursday, was the #1 quarterback on the Breitbart Sports Big Board, and I am confident in his ability to thrive at the in the NFL. While the Bills likely could have gotten him lower, I stand by my conviction that he was the best in the class and that he was a great pick for this franchise.
However, many have argued that Manuel was picked far too early, and that his selection in the first round classifies the Buffalo Bills as a draft loser.
Dean Kindig, the Buffalo Bills Analyst for DraftTek.com who follows the franchise and their draft, agrees with Breitbart Sports.
“I think Manuel is the perfect fit for what Nate Hackett, the offensive coordinator for the Bills, wants to do,” said Kindig. He “can run the read-option, runs spread formation, and has touch on his passes. There is a higher ceiling with Manuel, who is the #1 quarterback in ACC history in terms of completion percentage.”
Kindig also addressed the naysayers by adding, “critics said that his high percentage was due to the many quick throws (slants, screens) but that is what Hackett wants- a quick, versatile, catch-’em-off-guard offense.”
“Manuel also throws a great fade pass, and you have to be impressed with Manuel’s imposing size- 6’5″, 237lbs.,” added Kindig while also noting the Bills’ efforts to add speed and size in their skill players, enabling Hackett to spread the field and have an outstanding red zone offense.
Kindig also believes that Manuel could play a significant role in reshaping the mindset and temperament 0f the downtrodden franchise. “I’m told that Manuel’s work ethic is second to none,” said Kindig. “Nix said he wanted a guy with personality that can take over a room- and a team. The Bills need a culture of winning, and Manuel is a winner, not only with his 25-6 record, but with that winning personality.”
While Manuel did not receive the pre-draft hype of some of his other “classmates,” his talent and maturity placed him as the #1 quarterback on our board. Moreover, as Kindig, points out, he is a perfect fit for a Bills franchise that, for the first time in a long time, seemingly has a plan in place. Despite much of the negativity surrounding his selection, Manuel has all the tools to not only be the first pick of the quarterback, but also the best quarterback prospect of the class.