Rookie Review: Manuel's impressive debut
September, 9, 2013
By Kevin Weidl | ESPN Insider
On Sunday, the Buffalo Bills fell just short off pulling the upset against the division-rival New England Patriots. The good news for Bills fans is that rookie QB EJ Manuel -- who showed well in the preseason before suffering a minor knee injury -- was impressive in his first regular-season start. Far from perfect, Manuel still managed the game and played well enough for Buffalo to win. The 6-foot-4, 237-pound quarterback was in command of the huddle and found a rhythm late in the first half that carried over into the second half. He finished the game with solid numbers, completing 18 of 27 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns.
Last April, the Bills made Manuel the lone quarterback selected in the first round at No. 16. The pick was scrutinized as many felt the Bills reached for Manuel by taking him that high. We at Scouts Inc. gave Manuel a fringe second-round grade. We recognized Manuel’s upside because of his size, athleticism and intangibles. He was a two-time captain who displayed natural leadership qualities and had the passion and work ethic to succeed at the next level. However, Manuel had some inconsistencies as decision-maker and displayed erratic accuracy at times, which prevented him from getting a first-round grade.
Every quarterback we evaluate gets broken down into four quarterback specific traits: mental makeup, accuracy, release/arm strength and pocket mobility. We grade on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being elite and 5 being poor. Below is a look at how we graded Manuel coming out of Florida State and how he performed in those areas in Sunday’s game.