Okay…when it comes to the NFL draft there are predictions being made, surprises being seen – yet, it doesn’t have the power of some drafts when it comes to huge players, exciting news, or potential mistakes. The strangest part about this draft is the fact that the first round was literally hard to call. Everyone has said this draft is basically filled with a bunch of so-so players, and as far as QB’s are concerned, it’s even worse. Either the players are just not the Bart Starr’s of the past, or there are simply so many that were on the same level going into this that there was no actual, clear pick. (I’m going to have to go with the fact that there were literally no Bart Starr’s in this one).
In the QB category it was E.J. Manuel who received top honors by being picked 16th causing the headlines to read: “The 1st —and Only—QB off the Board.” See what I mean? Not exactly Bart Starr, Jr. out there among them.
However, E.J. Manuel will be interesting to watch, especially since he is heading to a team that SO needs a QB, SO needs a postseason triumph, and SO needs to show the rest of the NFL that they are still here. The Buffalo Bills have taken him, now let’s see what they will do with him.
Already the Bills are getting flack because the QB that everyone assumed would be chosen first would be Geno Smith, not to mention the fact that there was another QB in the mix – Ryan Nassib – that the new Bills coach, Doug Marrone, actually coached at Syracuse. But it sure would be funny if the Bills are able to stand up at the Super Bowl sometime soon and say a big ‘ha, ha’ to one and all.
Trading down with the St. Louis Rams, the Bills selected Manuel to stand behind QB Kevin Kolb this coming season. The early reviews of this guy say he has problems when he’s under pressure; well, he couldn’t be in a better place. Pressure is all the Buffalo Bills have as they struggle to rebuild their franchise. This once Super Bowl contender for many years – yet not great when it came to the big show – hasn’t even made the playoffs in 13 seasons, which makes them the reigning champions of having the NFL’s longest active drought ever.
Doug Marrone, the new head coach, obviously has a plan buried deep inside his mind, or perhaps a wish list that he is slowly fulfilling in order to rebuild and reenergize. He is also what you would call a pure politician when it comes to the media. When asked why he passed on Ryan Nassib who he certainly knows inside and out from being his coach for the past four seasons, he simply said: “I think at the end of the day, there’s a lot of good quarterbacks in the draft. And we were able to go ahead and take the best quarterback we felt fit us here in our situation in Buffalo.” A situation that is still buried in mystery, as people will wonder why this 6-foot-4 QB with a strong arm who is mobile and likes the out-of-pocket style of play was chosen. Especially seeing as that he has difficulty with pressure issues causing him to throw into coverage and receive only interceptions for his efforts. BUT, the upside with this guy is that Manuel has been in the big games and definitely was a part of the Seminoles four bowl game wins.
Could he be the starter? Oh, yes, he can start to compete for that against the six-year veteran, Kevin Kolb. And seeing as that the coach has an eye on Manuel and did choose him over a much more likely prospect, Manuel could just take the lead when the season begins.
In regards to the Bills plan to restructure, they do have seven more picks over the final six rounds in order to address some serious need that have made them a truly weak team. A receiver, a linebacker, a cornerback and a left guard seem to be among the highest priorities.
So as people yawn during this listless and not exactly inspiring NFL draft, they should keep in mind that unnamed men do become great stars and end up in the history books. E.J. Manuel could end up to be one of the those, and take the Buffalo Bills back to the dance they’ve not seen in a long, long time.
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