In the first round and 16th overall of the 2013 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills selected quarterback E.J. Manuel who played his college football for the Florida State Seminoles. E.J Manuel is a physical freak in stature, standing at nearly 6’5” and weighing 240 lbs. Furthermore he can make all the throws that a NFL team would ask of him to do, not to mention if a play breaks down, he can take off and run unlike the majority of the quarterback prospects in this year’s class. Besides the physical traits he possesses, E.J. Manuel is a natural leader and that will rub off on the players.
What is lesser known is that it seems that E.J. Manuel was destined to play for the Bills since birth, as he is the godson of legendary defensive end Bruce Smith. Additionally, when Jim Kelly’s nephew Chad Kelly was looking at colleges, they went down to Florida State University and E.J. Manuel happened to be there. Manuel also made franchise history as he became the first time the Bills took a quarterback with their first pick in any draft in 54 years of existence. One thing that likely impressed the Bills was the fact that in December of 2011, he graduated from college with a degree in communications, and since then he has been pursuing his master’s degree in international relations.
This pick has been mostly torn apart by “experts” on various forms of media; however those same people in recent years have torn apart the Bills for not selecting a quarterback. This begs the question of what makes E.J. Manuel more different than the other prospects as it seems that he has been professional through this entire off-season process. It seemed like their biggest complaint of “Who is he going to throw the ball to?” was answered quickly on the second day of the draft, and then was virtually all silenced once the draft ended as the team did one of the largest overhauls of one position in the league’s history.
The Bills had drafted two wide receivers on day two in the way of Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin which bring different skill sets to the dance floor. Woods out of the University of South California does have more than adequate speed, but his greatest strength is at running routes. Meanwhile Goodwin who played his college sports at the University of Texas has world class track star speed, as in fact he was a member of the 2012 United States Olympic team for the long jump; however he did have the fastest 40 yard dash time at the scouting combine with a 4.27. As well, the Bills drafted in the seventh round Tight End Chris Gragg, a speedy and sure handed receiving threat via the University of Arkansas. After the draft, the Bills weren’t done giving E.J. Manuel weapons as they acquired talented but troubled wide receiver Da’Rick Rogers who was slated to be selected in the first three rounds, but fell due to various concerns.
All and all, with E.J. Manuel at the helm and the young talent surrounding him, the Buffalo Bills are certainly looking a lot different than they did even a season ago. In five years this could be a well-oiled machine that could become a perennial playoff powerhouse.
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