Photo of EJ Manuel
Drafted By: Bills
  • Round 1
  • Pick 16
  • Overall 16

Combine Results

Grade
68.7 ?
  • 4.65 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 34.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 118.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.08 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.21 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"You can mold him into something really special. He's raw, but he's that piece of clay where you take him and you can turn him to what you want." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'5" Height
  • 35" Arm Length
  • 237LBS. Weight
  • 10 3/8" Hands

Overview

Manuel was a Parade High School All-American, and got his chance to play early for the Seminoles. The Seminoles' 2008 scout team MVP (who missed 2009 spring practice with a broken index finger) won three of his four starts for injured starter Christian Ponder as a redshirt freshman, including a Gator Bowl MVP performance (17-24, 189 yards, 14 rushes for 70 yards and a TD) in the team's comeback win over West Virginia.


When Ponder returned for 2010, Manuel again took a reserve role -– though injuries gave him two chances to start (one win over Clemson and a loss to Virginia Tech in the ACC Championship Game). He also led the Seminoles to a win in the Chick-fil-A Bowl against South Carolina after Ponder suffered a concussion. Manuel's play was not necessarily consistent in his first year as the full-time starter in 2011 (2,666 passing yards, 18 TD, eight INT, 65.3 percent completion rate), and he missed the team's loss to Clemson (and did not start the following week vs. Wake Forest) with his own shoulder injury. He still helped Florida State to a 9-4 record and a third straight postseason win -– showing supreme toughness by playing on a broken leg (fractured left fibula) during the team's Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame, going 20 for 31 for 249 yards and two touchdowns.

Finally, as a senior, Manuel started all 14 games and even topped off the 12-2 season with a decisive Orange Bowl victory. He completed 263 of 387 for 3,397 yards, 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. He added 310 rushing yards and four touchdowns while dealing with his mother's cancer treatment, something Manuel kept under wraps for a large portion of the season.

Analysis

Strengths

Physically imposing passer. Throws from the shotgun often, but is also effective on play action. Flashes the velocity to stretch the field and throw in tight spaces. Displays good touch on throws to each level of the field, finds receivers between defenders and drop passes over their head. Good athlete with the mobility to step up in the pocket to avoid pressure and take advantage of openings to pick up first downs with his feet. Quick release, though it often looks as though he's throwing darts on shorter throws. Intelligent, high character team leader.

Weaknesses

Gives opponents too many chances for turnovers by forcing throws into coverage trying to make a play. Area code accuracy -- short throws are often low or wide, preventing receivers from making a play after the catch. Deep ball accuracy is uneven as well. Gets happy feet under pressure, spins to the outside to avoid the rush. Inconsistent recognizing blitz. Must step into his throws more consistently to fully utilize his arm strength.

NFL Comparison

Blaine Gabbert

Bottom Line

As gifted as any quarterback in the class, with a strong arm and good mobility. Scouts appreciate his leadership qualities and toughness (played through his mom's cancer treatments and a broken leg in 2011's Champs Sports Bowl win over Notre Dame), and hope he can improve on his consistency. Manuel has the velocity and mobility teams look for in a project quarterback.
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Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.

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