If EJ were in this year's draft, where would Whaley rank him?
by Joe Buscaglia,posted Feb 21 2014 4:23PM
Everyone needs a great one and so few NFL franchises have one of that caliber. That's why it was a bit of an anomaly in 2013 when the Buffalo Bills were the lone team to take a quarterback in the first round of the NFL Draft.
The general consensus was that it wasn't the year to need a quarterback, and almost every team held off. Those that waited, in the opinion of many, will be much better rewarded based on the prospects of the top signal callers available in 2014.
Since the Bills were the lone franchise to buck the trend of the popular opinion in 2013, where would their franchise quarterback rate in this year's crop?
That seemed like a good question for the guy that had a hand in drafting him, Buffalo general manager Doug Whaley.
"Oooh. Good question," Whaley said, caught perhaps a tad off-guard while expecting the normal combine banter with the media. "I would have to say he would be talked in the top tier of those guys. Just with his size and athletic ability, you looked at the measurements now, there was only one guy close to his size and that was Blake Bortles at 6-5, and AJ McCarron was over the 6-3, so he's in there. I'm a big proponent that everything equal, you go with the bigger guy."
So there you have it, Bills fans. In the opinion of Whaley, Manuel would be with the top crew of Blake Bortles, Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and even perhaps Derek Carr.
Save this quote just in case. If Manuel doesn't end up panning out for the Bills and the GM is forced to draft another quarterback to get over the hump, his final sentence in that quote should be remembered. In Whaley's world, the tie goes to the big guy.
What is Whaley expecting from Manuel in his second go-round?
"I want to see some progression just with his being comfortable in the system and I think you're gonna get that because now he knows what to expect. He knows what to expect in this off-season, he knows what to expect in camp, he knows what to expect in the regular season," the GM replied, before coming out with an intriguing sentence. "And with what coach put around him with the quarterback coach and the offensive assistant, we're giving him every resource to do what he has to do to take that next step to get us where we need to go."
All quotes are open to many different ways of interpretation, and perhaps the effort to give him "every resource" to succeed is essentially saying "we've gotta see something from you this year, kid." Or, maybe it's just a sentence in an answer. Either way, the progress of Manuel will be fascinating and it will not be impeded by a player at his same position in regards to the ninth overall pick.
Whaley said they can do just about anything with the ninth overall selection.
"With the way our roster's set up right now, besides quarterback, we could go with any position," he remarked.
If you were holding on to the slim hope that the Bills would take a signal caller with their first round pick, you can officially saddle up for another year of EJ.