Reasons to believe in EJ Manuel

Why the former Florida State QB can lead Buffalo to a top-10 offense

Originally Published: June 6, 2013
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider

E.J. Manuel Al Bello/Getty ImagesEJ Manuel has the athleticism to improve Buffalo's offense. Can we win the starting job?

Quarterback hasn't been a position of strength for the Buffalo Bills in their history. Yes, the Bills did have Jim Kelly (whom I wish the best in his battle against jaw cancer) and Jack Kemp, but their fourth-highest rated passer in Pro-Football-Reference.com's career approximate value register is Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was recently cut after leading Buffalo to a mediocre 20-33 record in his four years under center.

The necessity for upgrading at that position is a primary reason the Bills selected EJ Manuel in the first round of the 2013 NFL draft.

That pick was seen as something of a reach given many of Manuel's question marks. Scouts Inc. noted in its pre-draft analysis of Manuel that while his physical tools and leadership qualities are unquestionably strong, he had notable issues with reading progressions, decision-making under pressure and pass accuracy.

Given those weaknesses, it doesn't look possible for Manuel to replicate the recent dominant rookie seasons posted by Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III -- especially since Manuel needs to first beat out Kevin Kolb for the starting job. Yet the metrics show there is a good chance Manuel could help the Bills field a top-10 offense in 2013 if he is the starter.


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