As the NFL begins to fall in love with the read-option, the NFL Draft makes a transition with it. One of the QB prospects who could benefit from the new style of offense is Florida State Seminoles QB EJ Manuel. Manuel is a big athlete with the ability to be a franchise QB at the next level. While Manuel is physically gifted, he is still a work in progress and whatever team drafts him will have to devote a year before he can be a reliable starting QB.
6′ 5″ 240 lbs.
The first thing you immediately realize about EJ Manuel is his impressive size. Standing at 6′ 5″, Manuel presents a nightmare for pass rushers to bring down. His frame is similar to that of Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger, who is well known for being tough to tackle. Manuel is also an incredible athlete, with the ability to roll outside the pocket to help his WR’s get open or he can tuck the ball and run for a big play. Manuel also has the arm to make some of the big throws, something he showed during the NFL Combine. Manuel also has nice touch on the ball, with the ability to put it in just the right spot where only his wide receiver’s can get it. There is no question EJ Manuel has all the tools to be a great NFL QB, he just has to keep working hard and becoming a more consistent player.
The biggest knock to EJ Manuel’s game is his inconsistency from game to game. One week you may have him hit 60 percent of his throws right on the money, while the next week he will be overthrowing his targets. Not only does Manuel’s arm strength on a weekly basis, but his accuracy does as well. Manuel may have all day to throw and will miss his target across the middle on a short throw. For as great of a talent that Manuel is, his inability to play well consistently is a major concern heading into the draft.
EJ Manuel is also undeveloped when it comes to the mental aspect of football. He often will force throws that he shouldn’t and it will result in a turnover or incompletion if he is lucky. When Manuel faces pressure rather than throwing the ball away, he will try to chuck the ball downfield to a teammate in coverage. Manuel also needs to improve in the pocket, he can get rattled and will need to learn to stay composed and step up to make throws.
Part of the reason Manuel struggled with inconsistency was because he was rarely consistent with his delivery and footwork. Manuel has talent, but his inconsistencies make him a project QB.
After an impressive performance at the combine, EJ Manuel will continue to rise up draft boards and could find his way into the 2nd Round. Manuel is likely the best suited QB in this class to run a read-option. Manuel possesses great size and athleticism and at times looks like a franchise QB. Unfortunately, he struggles with inconsistency and needs to improve his decision making. He has a chance to be one of the best QB’s in this class, but whatever team drafts him will have to spend a year refining his mechanics and decision making. As the NFL begins to transition to a read-option style offense, QB’s like Manuel will become more valuable. He is a 3rd Round prospect right now, but could move into the second if a team likes him enough.
EJ Manuel Highlights: