Have to admit that the thought of drafting Matt Barkley really grated on me. Of course like most Bills fans, I’m left with these irrational thought forms that make no sense to anyone but other Bills fans. These ‘thought forms’ have long since taken over any hope of using a shred of critical thinking skills when it comes to being objective about our beloved team. I’ve accepted my fate in that regard and moved on.
However, I still break out in a sweat when I realize the Bills could have fallen back into the California curse after trading for Rob Johnson, drafting JP Losman and Trent Edwards. Another California QB may have caused a full blown collective panic attack in Bills Nation, and it surely would have for me. We are well past a decade of despair with dead carcasses of California QBs littering the side of the NFL highway to hell. And off we go launching ourselves head first into the 2013 draft without a clue of what to expect from this new crew of coaches and staff.
And just like that… they called out his name. EJ Manuel. After clearing my head of the cacophony of jackals and irate media I found myself numb with disbelief. Did the Bills really do what I thought they just did? Did they really thumb their nose to the national media and boldly move to select a guy who is… dare I say “raw”?
The only thing raw that I saw about EJ Manuel were the emotions that emanated from him as he wept while talking with Deion Sanders about his mother’s fight against breast cancer. That was my first clue that this time might actually be different. Why in the world would I stick my head back in that pile of stink and believe that the Bills could actually get it right this time?
Why else? I’m a Bills fan. I refuse to give up. Truth be told, this young man completely shocked me. Remember all the hyenas that were screeching last year that Gilmore didn’t show “enough emotion” to please Bills fans right after he was picked? We are rightfully a sensitive bunch about the national media’s campaign to constantly diss Buffalo. Well, anyone who wanted to see raw emotion and joy got their wish when EJ spoke with Deion Sanders last night. That sort of struck me as VERY different than the reactions we might expect from Rob “the Adams Hotel Bum” Johnson, the Mr. Cool Dude JP Losman, and of course who could forget the analytical and emotionally flat-lined Trent Edwards.
This is a kid who is not only blessed with incredible athletic ability, he’s a big dude who really reminds me of this year’s version of Colin Kaepernick. Of course it’s way too early to proclaim him on his way to the Super Bowl in two years, but there are some physical similarities in their style and athleticism. And yes, he’s developmentally raw as a QB. Big deal. His physical potential is as Mayock stated last night “just waiting to be molded”.
EJ Manuel has already completed a bachelor’s degree in Communication and is half way through his graduate program in International Relations. Trent Edwards was the only one of the California boys that probably had a Wonderlic score in double digits. Rob Johnson could hurl a gorgeous spiral, but I’m not exactly sure he was a risk of ousting anyone out of MENSA.
So the early reading on this kid has to do with his intangibles, and they are off the scale in my opinion. Throw in HOF Bruce Smith as your godfather, and this has a Cinderella story waiting to be written. Best of all, he’s not from the Left Coast and we can all breathe a sigh of relief and a big round of applause to the ACC for sending us their son on a mission to Buffalo. Welcome to the B-LO, EJ Manuel.