If your plan was to watch the Senior Bowl and hope to fall in love with a “Bills quarterback of the future”, I’m guessing you are still unattached.
None of the six signal callers who played this past Saturday had a “wow” game and that includes Florida State’s EJ Manuel, who was named the game’s Most Outstanding Player after leading all three touchdown drives in the South’s 21-16 triumph over the North. Although, one of those “drives” started at the North five yard line after a big kickoff return.
Manuel is big and strong and compiled a 25-6 record after taking over for Christian Ponder at FSU. He was the best runner of the group and used his legs for a three yard touchdown. His touchdown pass was a perfect throw of 20 yards as he hit his tight end in the back of the end zone. It was perfectly placed, over the safety who had good coverage on the play, right into the hands of the target.
Most of Manuel’s completions were short throws and he was inaccurate on a few occasions, missing his receivers due to low throws. He ended up 7-10 for 76 yards. NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said NFL scouts were suggesting Manuel will go in the third or fourth round.
Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib had a horrible game. He threw an interception on one drive and while moving around to avoid a pass rush on another drive, Nassib was hit and fumbled the ball. Nassib was just 4-10 for 44 yards. This followed what some draft observers termed was an “up and down” week of practice for Nassib.
Mayock said he’s seen Nassib going back to high school and said he can “really rip it”. Mayock added that Nassib has an edge to him and scouts love that. Scouts told Mayock they liked Nassib’s leadership and toughness but they need to see more accuracy.
Tyler Wilson out of Arkansas had mixed results with his performance. Awarded the most outstanding quarterback of the week by a panel of NFL scouts who watched the practices, Wilson had a chance to make a big play but underthrew an open receiver in the end zone. If he was on target with the throw, it was a touchdown but it was almost picked off because it was underthrown.
However, Bills General Manager Buddy Nix, who has an affinity for SEC players, did say Wilson’s arm was stronger than he thought, after watching practices during the week. Wilson finished 8-11 for 40 yards.
Mike Glennon from North Carolina State was inconsistent too. His second half was better than the first and it included beautiful throws on back to back plays. On the first, Glennon, who is not known for his mobility, was flushed out of the pocket and ran to his right. He threw a dart to the sideline, over a linebacker in coverage and perfectly placed into the hands of his receiver who had time to get both feet inbounds.
On the next play, Glennon threw another strike down the seam to a receiver who was well covered for a good pickup.
In the first half, Glennon had speedy Texas WR Marquise Goodwin open deep down the field but his throw was slightly off target and a little long and it fell incomplete off Goodwin’s finger tips. On that same possession, Glennon missed a guy on a screen and missed another receiver on third down.
Glennon went three and out on the next possession and again missed his target on a third down throw. Glennon’s final stat line was 8-16 for 82 yards.
Oklahoma’s Landry Jones did absolutely nothing, completing only 3 of 9 passes for 16 yards. Miami of Ohio’s Zac Dysert was bad. Dysert did lead a good drive at the end of the game for the North but earlier in the game, he threw an interception and on another possession, was sacked and lost a fumble. That late drive helped his numbers which were 10-16 for 93 yards.
West Virginia’s Geno Smith and Matt Barkley from USC, both of whom could be drafted in round one, did not take part. Smith declined an invitation and Barkley is rehabbing an injury suffered late in the season.
Listen to our interview with Russ Lande from National Football Post and hear his thoughts on QB's, LB's and WR's at the Senior Bowl.