Name: E.J. Manuel
HT / WT: 6’4” / 237 lbs
2013 Preseason: 2 games, 1 start, 26/33, 199 yards, 2 touchdowns, 0 interceptions
Overview: The Bills surprised a lot of people when they made E.J. Manuel their first round draft choice in this past April’s draft. Following the collegiate season, Manuel was projected by many to be a mid-round selection. However, with an impressive combine that showcased his great size, arm strength, and athleticism – Manuel skyrocketed up the boards in a draft that didn’t feature any "can’t miss" prospects at the position. Since getting to Buffalo, Manuel has done nothing but impress. He’s grasped the playbook quickly, has taken on a leadership role, and played error-free in the preseason. A minor knee procedure brought his camp to an early end, but the Bills announced today that he will be ready to go on Sunday. Manuel is also excellent throwing outside of the pocket and can also throw very well down the field – these are two areas the Patriots have struggled to defend opposing quarterbacks. He also proved that he can throw the ball effectively while under duress.
What They’re Saying: Brian Galliford of Buffalo Rumblings writes that the Bills and rookie quarterback E.J. Manuel must avoid doing something they’ve done quite frequently when playing the Patriots recently – committing turnovers:
Sure, you're thinking that it's all in the past, and that there are brand new coaches and players taking the place of the men (Chan Gailey and, most especially, Ryan Fitzpatrick) responsible for this particular area of failure. (Of those 24 turnovers, 19 were either interceptions or lost fumbles by Fitzpatrick.) New head coach Doug Marrone has emphasized winning the turnover battle repeatedly this preseason, and it's fair to assume that a rookie quarterback in EJ Manuel will be a bit more judicious with the football than his gunslinging predecessor.
Bottom Line: There’s no denying Manuel’s raw talent, and if he’s healthy, he could be a surprise on Sunday when considering the limited amount of tape the Patriots have on him.