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Bills' E.J. Manuel: Being first-round pick a 'huge responsibility'

Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel knows exactly what the top QB prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft are going through. His advice? Be ready to work, and be ready for the pressure.

"It's a huge responsibility," Manuel told "Super Bowl Live" on NFL Network. "Whether you are the first or the fifth quarterback taken, I think it is a huge responsibility, especially if you are taken in the first round. The expectation level is through the roof. They expect a whole lot from you. The team is really putting that financial trust in you for a long-term type thing."

Manuel had to deal with additional scrutiny as the only quarterback selected in the first round of the 2013 draft, taken by the Buffalo Bills with the No. 16 overall pick. Manuel's rookie season was a rocky one, limited to 10 games because of injuries, but he posted a respectable 4-6 record with 1,972 passing yards and 11 touchdowns against nine interceptions.

Manuel said it was a "huge jump" going from Florida State to the professional ranks. While he credited veterans such as center Eric Wood and running backs Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller for assisting with the transition, Manuel said there were certain things "you have to learn on your own."

The biggest change, Manuel said, was realizing that opposing defenses have the size and speed to match his impressive physical attributes.

"Linebackers are a legit 245-250 (pounds) in the NFL, man," he said. "They are running 4.6-4.7 (in the 40-yard dash), and that's what I run. They can catch up to you a lot faster and a lot easier, but it is still a beautiful game. I am really looking forward to my second year."

Manuel said he is also looking forward to Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston's second season after he led the program to the BCS national championship.

Manuel's final season in Tallahassee, Fla., was Winston's first on campus, so Manuel made it a point to mentor the future Heisman Trophy winner. That included a lesson that would prove prophetic, as Winston would emerge as the biggest star in college football.

"I can remember when I left Florida State I told him, 'You are going to have a target on your back,'" Manuel said. "Everybody in the state of Florida is going to know who he is, so he just has to be smart and he is learning that."

Manuel said getting to know Winston was a privilege, praising the emerging superstar's personality and leadership.

Should Winston declare for the 2015 draft, he will have a valuable resource in Manuel, who can continue to share real-world experience.

Follow Dan Greenspan on Twitter @DanGreenspan.

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