2013 Draft Prospect Profile: E.J. Manuel

Welcome to our 2013 Draft Prospect Profile series, written by Rob Quinn. Rob is putting together quick, digestible summaries for highly publicized discussed prospects, prospects that interest him, and prospects that interest YOU.

If there’s someone out there who has piqued your interest and you want to know a little but more about him before April rolls around, get at Rob and request he put a profile together. You can email him at RQUINN619@billsmafia.com with a request.

The series isn’t Bills-centric necessarily; however, when the occasion calls for it, Rob will include thoughts on how a player might impact the Bills were they to draft him. But overall, the goal is to educate you on some of the names you’ll hear called in April.

E.J. Manuel: QB, Florida State (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
E.J. Manuel: QB, Florida State (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)

EJ Manuel
6’5” 237 lbs
Florida State

No quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft class has more upside than Florida State signal-caller E.J. Manuel. His rare blend of size, athleticism and arm strength makes him one of the more intriguing quarterback prospects in a class filled with question marks.

The Good

Manuel has an extremely strong arm, but has the ability to put touch on deep passes. He displays a quick release and zips the ball with incredible velocity. Manuel proved to be efficient, completing 66.9% of his passes for 7,741 yards while throwing 47 touchdowns to 28 interceptions in his four seasons with the Seminoles; two of which he was the starter.

Manuel didn’t have much assistance on his offensive line, and was always under pressure. He showed excellent toughness by standing tall in the pocket, keeping his eyes downfield, and delivering strikes with defenders in his face. Manuel can make every throw, and displays beautiful ball placement, especially on deep passes.

Here, Manuel has a clean pocket and throws a beautiful deep ball, placing the ball where only his wide receiver can make a play on it.

This play is another example of the touch Manuel places on his deep passes.

Manuel is extremely mobile and is able to buy himself extra time by scrambling in the pocket. While he doesn’t have breakaway speed, he’s a tough runner that will pick up the key first down.

While Manuel looks to pass first, he shows the grit to fight for the first down, even stiff-arming a would-be tackler.

An underrated aspect of Manuel’s game is his ability to manipulate safeties and anticipate his receivers’ routes. Here, Manuel anticipates the wideouts’ break and and delivers a beautiful strike down the seam.

The Bad

Due to Manuel’s shoddy offensive line play, it became evident in his first year as a starter that he was extremely rattled when facing pressure. He made a lot of bad decisions; throwing into double coverage and not finding the check-down receiver quick enough.

Here, this is evident as Miami brings pressure, and Manuel is sacked and loses control of the ball.

At times, Manuel tries to do too much with his physical abilities and be careless with the football when running. This is evident in this play in the Champs Sports Bowl against Notre Dame, when Manuel can’t find an open man and runs backwards.

When he doesn’t find his first or second read, he often takes poor sacks rather than simply throwing the ball away.

While Manuel has a great arm, he often misreads his receivers and overthrows quite a few passes. Furthermore, he tends to try to fit passes into tight spaces that more often than not turn into interceptions.

How He Fits The Bills

With the read option offensive attack quickly taking the National Football League by storm, E.J. Manuel fits the mold of the new-age quarterback. He has the ability to be a pocket passer, but is always a threat to run. At Florida State, Manuel’s offense was predicated on quick passes that opened up the deep ball, which is how the “K-Gun” offense was operated.

Projected Draft Position
1st-3rd round pick

Pro Player Comparison
Cam Newton/ Daunte Culpepper