Day 1 has come and gone and as it turns out, the NFL truly was disenchanted with the 2013 QB class. Consensus top QB, West Virginia’s Geno Smith, fell completely out of the first round and had as rough of a green room experience as any player in recent memory. Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib, who many had slated for the Bills, watched his old college coach take Florida State dual threat EJ Manuel with the 16th overall selection. USC QB Matt Barkley, who entered the season as a strong candidate for the first overall selection also failed to hear his name called on draft day. With only one QB taken in the first round, let’s take a closer look at EJ Manuel’s fit in Buffalo:
The Buffalo Bills select – EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
Low. EJ Manuel is a work in progress and despite his many natural gifts, his technique and the mental side of the game need to be cleaned up for him. Manuel will enter training camp as the likely #3 QB with Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson ahead of him on the depth chart. While neither Kolb nor Jackson have a resume worth bragging about, they both offer a world of experience for Manuel and have each been considered a “QB of the future” at multiple points in their careers. While Manuel certainly won’t be rushed as the every down QB, Doug Marrone could immediately install a package of plays and formations that would feature Manuel and his ability to run. Much like what San Francisco did early with Colin Kaepernick, or maybe even a goal-line package similar to what the Oklahoma Sooners did with QB Blake Bell.
High. The Bills GM Buddy Nix and HC Doug Marrone are not only gambling on Manuel’s immense potential, but also that the read option will sustain its success and not become a fad like the “wildcat” did. The bills already offer some uniquely talented players with varying skillsets like RB CJ Spiller, WR TJ Graham, and WR/RB/QB Brad Smith, so adding a unique center piece like Manuel could really put defenses on their heels. The Bills could upgrade their offensive line, mainly the guards and right tackle position and could also add an upgrade at TE and another WR. The trade down with the St. Louis Rams brought the Bills another 2nd round pick for their disposal, so with picks #41 and #46 in the 2nd round and #78 in the 3rd round, Buffalo could fill 4 immediate holes on their offense in the drafts first 2 days.
A-. Manuel by himself would have netted the Bills a B-, simply because of the development still needed before he’s a candidate to start. But when you combine the additional 2nd rounder acquired to Manuel’s fantastic potential, the Bills come out of the drafts first day victorious and with what could be the most explosive offense in Buffalo since the K-Gun offense of the early 90’s.
What to Look for on Day 2:
Day 2 could bring an early run on quarterbacks. With only one QB off of the board, QB needy teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars, Oakland Raiders, and the New York Jets could all look to secure a young QB to develop. Geno Smith and Matt Barkley are the biggest names still available, but Ryan Nassib is just as highly thought of in league circles and could be the first one off the board. Which players are the best fits for specific teams? Let’s take a look:
Jacksonville Jaguars – The Jaguars have maintained throughout the off-season that they are committed to giving Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne a chance with a better supporting cast. There have also been rumblings that they’re targeting Mississippi State’s Jonathan Banks with their #33 overall pick to start round 2. However, if they do plan on taking a QB to be their new face of the franchise the 3 most obvious names are Smith, Barkley, and Nassib. Jacksonville has been linked to all 3, either by visiting them on campus or bringing them into the Jaguars facility. Sleeper Alert: Don’t be surprised if the Jags pass on a QB at #33 and target Arizona QB Matt Scott in the top of round 3. HC Gus Bradley is on record as to saying how a mobile QB like Russell Wilson makes it difficult to gameplan for an offense, and like Scott looks to be, Wilson was selected in round 3 one year ago.
Oakland Raiders – Moving from #3 to #12 and getting DJ Hayden along with the #42 pick was a brilliant move by Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie. The only remaining question is whether or not the Raiders are truly comfortable with Matt Flynn and Terrelle Pryor at QB. Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib share some similarities with Matt Flynn as far as styles of play are concerned, and both could be ready to play early on. Geno Smith is a nice blend of the two veterans, but is unlikely to last all the way to #42. If the Raiders decide that their needs on the DL are too overwhelming they could hold off until round 3 and target a QB like Mike Glennon, Tyler Bray, or Landry Jones to develop behind Flynn.
New York Jets – With the #39 pick in the 2nd round, the Jets will have plenty of options. If Geno Smith falls to #39 then I’d be surprised if he wasn’t the pick. But Matt Barkley might be the best fit for new OC Marty Mornhinweg’s west coast offense. The USC connection would be a tough sell to the fan base after Sanchez has flamed out though. Syracuse Orangeman Ryan Nassib could also come into play for the Jets, but New York may feel the need to target a pass rusher given the lack of edge rushing talent on their roster right now.
The reality of the situation for these young QB’s is that if these teams didn’t feel strongly enough about them to take them in round 1, then there are no guarantees that they will take them over other positions of greater need in round 2 and beyond. I for one am still very high on this draft class and think that if these players fall into the right situation, they will meet and eventually exceed expectations.
Tags: 2013 Nfl Draft Buffalo Bills EJ Manuel Football Geno Smith Landry Jones Matt Barkley Mike Glennon Mock Draft NFL NFL Combine NFL Draft NFL Draft 2013 Oklahoma Sooners Quarterback Quarterbacks Ryan Nassib Tyler Wilson USC Trojans With The First Pick