E.J. Manuel NFL Draft Preview
It is time for you to learn about Erik James Manuel Jr. E.J. Manuel as he is commonly referred, was born in Virginia Beach, Virginia. While at Bayside High School, Manuel put up the numbers to be considered the number two quarterback in the nation. Erik was recruited by the offensive coordinator at FSU, Jimbo Fisher, who is now the head coach. In his freshman season, Manuel took over for the injured Christian Ponder. He helped close out the season including a win in the Gator Bowl where he received MVP honors. Most of his sophomore season was as a backup, again to Ponder. Manuel did receive credit however, for another bowl win when Ponder went down in the second quarter of the Chik-fil-A bowl. After Ponder was drafted by the Vikings, Manuel became the starter for the Seminoles and led the team to two more bowl victories and an ACC championship. E.J. is the second QB to ever win four straight bowl games.
Strengths: First for Manuel is his arm. His arm gives the ball the velocity needed to cover every part of the field and he has the ability to squeeze the ball into tight spaces or to get the ball to the sidelines. His physical presence paired with his mobility give him an extreme advantage with the NFL moving toward a mobile quarterback type league. Manuel had top numbers at the NFL combine in almost every drill. Manuel is also a proven winner who, a couple of times has had to step up in clutch situations and has proved he can get the job done.
Weaknesses: Patience is the main weakness. Manuel has a problem with throwing balls into coverage to attempt in making a play. Along with throwing the ball off target when he feels pressure, he usually fails to see the whole field and chooses the wrong receiver to launch to. He needs to pick up the blitz with more consistency. Catching a blitz before it happens will allow him to know what is coming and get rid of some of that pressure that causes bad decisions.
Fantasy Impact: As one of the highly debated Quarterbacks in this years meh class, Manuel is the most intriguing when it comes to physical ability alone. Without a mental aspect to his game, Manuel is going to sink when getting pushed into the deep end. It looks like Manuel will be drafted some point before the end of round two. It would be great to see him go to a team like the Philadelphia Eagles where he can learn from another mobile quarterback like Michael Vick and prepare for his future in the NFL. There is also still a need for a quarterback for the New York Jets.
Manuel looks to be a work in progress and my guess is a team is going to take him for that reason. He has no immediate fantasy value unless he ends up going to a team who needs a quarterback now. If he goes to a team where he will have the chance to play, Manuel may be worth a pick as a late round flier.
Check out where we rank him in our 5 writer NFL Mock Draft