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Bills Beat Blog

By Joe Buscaglia

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Bills top 20 talents: No. 18 - EJ Manuel

The countdown of the top 20 most talented Bills on the roster is underway and started off on the offensive side of the ball. As it continues along, after a brief stop on defense, once more we find ourselves on the side that is in charge of putting up points on a weekly basis.

Using a blend of the player’s overall skill level, success on the field and projection, the next player on the list is undoubtedly the most important to the outcome of the 2014 campaign. Coming in at number 18 is quarterback EJ Manuel.

QB EJ Manuel

Age: 24 (3/19/90)
Height: 6’4”
Weight: 237

Why he’s here:
- When the Buffalo Bills boldly elected to use their first round pick on EJ Manuel in the 2013 NFL Draft in a year that many pundits believed no quarterbacks should be taken that highly, they were doing it with an eye towards what he could become. It’s hard to ignore the talent that Manuel has from a skill level perspective, having the prototypical height, the prototypical arm, the mobility and the charisma that teams look for in quarterback prospects. The only problem is that Manuel cannot be viewed any differently than from a projectional prism. Most of the great NFL teams have their quarterback among the top of their talent lists, but the Bills aren’t there yet with Manuel. Until his on the field success matches up with his skill level, the team might continue to find themselves yearning for the playoffs.

2014 outlook:
It’s hard to predict what Manuel might do in 2014 from a statistical perspective. The Bills will likely utilize a run-heavy approach while also giving him more of a chance to diagnose defenses than he had in 2013. Now that he’s acclimated to the NFL game, Manuel will have a better season than he did in 2013 — it’s just a natural progression for most young quarterbacks in the game. The bigger question that needs to be answered will be if Manuel’s progress as a player will match up with where the Bills want him to be. One of his biggest determining factors will be how accurate he is on intermediate throws, an area in which he has struggled since his time at Florida State. Now that the team has a bonafide top wide receiver target in Sammy Watkins along with another quality NFL player in Mike Williams, the Bills are about to begin to find out their answer on their former first round quarterback.

Bills Top 20 Talents
20) TE Scott Chandler
19) CB Leodis McKelvin
18) QB EJ Manuel
17) ??? - Tuesday, July 8, 6 pm

Twitter: @JoeBuscaglia

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People : Leodis McKelvinScott Chandler

07/08/2014 7:55AM
Bills top 20 talents: Number 18
Please enter your comments below.
07/08/2014 8:30AM
Ken K in Blasdell
He also has a knack for keeping a game close & has a few game winning drives. If he can fix his accuracy he can be one helluva QB!
07/08/2014 10:40AM
From my Armchair
This is a weakness. Not talent. The quarterbacking should kill any hopes this coming season. There are better out there.
07/08/2014 11:28AM
I want EJ to do well. However, He was inaccurate in College, inaccurate last year and inaccurate during OTA's. What makes anyone think he will suddenly become accurate?
07/08/2014 12:35PM
"Until his on the field success matches up with his skill level, the team might continue to fin
...Seriously Joe? This is the Bills 18th best player? A guy who has been in the league one year and still has to prove himself? *Face palm* Typical Buffalo...Forever Playoffless...lol *double facepalm*
07/08/2014 12:36PM
If hes 18th...
...I'm scared to see who's in our top ten *face palm*
07/08/2014 12:48PM
Report: Under-the-radar candidates aplenty in Bills sale!!!! NEVER PEGULA IN NFL!
07/08/2014 12:50PM
where's your interview with poor Joe D, so I can hear him whine and cry about his concussion?
07/08/2014 7:07PM
Why Rate Him At All?
What has he done so far? NOTHING!
07/09/2014 8:04AM
Time will tell
looks like a 7-9 season to me again. Accuracy is something that he doesn't have and there arent to many drills to improve it. I see alot of two to three yard dump offs again this year. It's not a very good sign when your QB is being labled as the 18th top talent. when there are 17 more talented players on your team, you will have a loosing season.
07/09/2014 8:48AM
You're getting behind a little...
07/10/2014 8:37AM
This is about talent
Nobody ever said he's the 18th best, this is based on a players talent and skills set and potential
07/10/2014 3:56PM
cant this team, its fans and local media just accurately rate a qb rather than try to force what they hope he could be? Right now he's a below average qb - for him to magically improve to a great or even very good qb is going to take a miracle. We were told he was a very athletic qb and people are still pushing this, but he's not. Look at his scrambling stats in college, nothing special there and watching him last year - while he's not exactly a statue, he's not a great scrambler either. I'd rate him as slightly above average in terms of athleticism, and that's ignoring what might be a glass jaw in terms of being injured 3 times last season and missing several games. His throwing ability is below average - he's got a decent arm, but his accuracy is simply terrible, which was noted by those who watched him in college. His coverage reading and play knowledge is below average. This could be expected since he was a rookie last year, but when they tried to expand the playbook late in the year, manuel crashed and the coaches openly admitted they had to dial it back again, which is simply not a good sign. I don't have a problem with the bills trying this guy, or even reaching for him with a first round pick, but to not get a plan b qb this year in the draft, and then to give up next years number one to get a receiver, is just horrible team management and shows that they are far too in love with this guy with very little to justify that love (and maybe due to the fact the management might feel they have to do well this year and don't have time for a plan b due to changing ownership...).
07/10/2014 9:51PM
Adults that cannot spell 'losing' make me cringe as much as EJ has.
07/12/2014 2:11AM
don't understand the concept of this series of articles. they are a .500 team and your writing about them as if they had won the superbowl.
07/14/2014 12:00PM
Ej has something to prove.
Ok we all know about last year drama. lets talk about the fact that he got a year under his belt for starters. Hell with shaky fitz was the qb for years you didn't hear a dam word. And he was the worst dam qb in bills history as far as I am concern.Hell even joe fergy took us to the playoffs. And they didn't pay him 50 million to do nothing. So do your thing ej And they will shut the hell up when you do. Lets go ej.
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