The Buffalo Bills shocked many NFL fans when they chose EJ Manuel as their first round pick when every other quarterback was still available.
Many experts believed that head coach Doug Marrone would pick his quarterback for the past few seasons with Syracuse University, Ryan Nassib.
So why pick Manuel?
From OTAs, it looks like Marrone wants to incorporate a new fast-paced offense that will tire out and confuse defenses across the league.
He may have felt that EJ Manuel would be a quarterback who was better built for this offensive scheme than the other draft options. That being said, if Marrone picked a player who obviously was going to be available later in the draft but really wanted to make sure he got him early, you know he has plans for EJ Manuel.
EJ Manuel will be successful this season and I recommend fantasy football owners consider keeping him on their bench and not on the free agent market in your league. I'll break down the pros and cons for you below.
Even if EJ Manuel is playing against good defenses and tight coverage, there are so many options to throw to. The Bills have Stevie Johnson, Robert Woods, Da'rick Rogers, Scott Chandler, Marquise Goodwin, Brad Smith, T.J. Graham, C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson, and other options.
Scheme is built around him
Doug Marrone could have easily picked his ex-quarterback, Ryan Nassib, who already knew Doug Marrone's style and was a large part of his college success, but decided to draft EJ Manuel because he would be that much more productive in his offense. Many picks after Manuel were focused on finding players for him to throw to during the season. There's no doubt that the plan is to make Manuel as successful as possible off the bat.
Picked in first round because they really wanted/needed him
Every quarterback that entered the draft was available when the Bills picked Manuel. Again, Nassib was the obvious choice and would adapt quicker because he's already use to the style of play but they went with EJ Manuel because they needed him.
Nassib and Barkley were the only two players who were expected to go in round one of the 2013 NFL Draft, so they could have waited on Manuel, but they picked him up early so they wouldn't risk losing him.
My friend offered me a piece of advice when I elected not to pick up RGIII last season because I was afraid his style of play: "dude, always pick athletic rookie quarterbacks." He was so right, Griffin didn't get injured until the fantasy football playoffs and Russell Wilson killed it.
It's always great when you can get those additional rushing yards along with your quarterback’s actual passing performance. It also helps his passing game since he is a threat outside the pocket. Don’t worry about the potential injuries, EJ Manuel is beastly.
Even though he can throw it to his plethora of options on the field, many people are concerned with his accuracy. I don't think it'll be that big of an issue but some experts say I'm wrong.
We all know you can put the best quarterback in the world behind a horrible offensive line and have major issues in the passing game. The fact of the matter is that the Bills' offensive line got worse from last season's and didn't address it at all during the draft.
May not be the Week 1 quarterback
Because of the million college football teams, the talented quarterback talent that enter the draft and the limited roster spots in the NFL for quarterbacks, you have many teams with a huge buildup of possible starting quarterbacks.
The Bills are one of the teams in the league who have many quarterback options. This is the main reason I stress to draft Manuel late in the draft is so you can grab your actual starting quarterbacks and place in Manuel later in the season if he gets the starting job.
This is an article that's written in June, so we may find out the prognosis of the Bills' starting quarterback situation in training camp before we have our drafts. We'll also see if Doug Marrone's offense will negate the fact the Bills have a weak offensive line. I imagine that a fast-paced offense will only need linemen who have good stamina and can hold the line for less time than the average NFL snap.
- If you find out he's going to start in Week 1, you can draft EJ as your bench QB
- If he isn't the Week 1 QB, take him as a 3rd QB option if it makes sense to have a 3rd QB with your league settings
- He will play by mid-season and put up monster numbers
- It's a plus that he runs, so if your league is biased towards the running game, you may want to make sure you have him
- He in't a must have, but he will be a powerful tool and a good trade bargaining chip towards the trade deadline
For more up to date coverage on the Buffalo Bills or on the NFL, follow me at @AnoopKat or on AnoopKathrani.com