I'll make it short. The Bills drafted EJ Manuel and I don't feel like going on YouTube to see his greatest hits and misses because I'm at work. Instead, I got a Q&A about him from the boys from Unconquered Noles, the FSU blog for Bloguin. Enjoy.
1) What are his pros and weaknesses?
EJ has the physical tools and work ethic to be successful. He's good on short to intermediate passes, and once he's comfortable in an offense, he rarely makes bad decisions with the ball. He has a tendency to float deep balls, but I think after watching him over the years, the velocity he put on the ball was usually in proportion to how confident he was in his decision. Which brings up what I think is his biggest weakness; EJ does not go through his progressions and make his decisions quickly enough. This led to a lot of unnecessary and untimely sacks.
2) The Bills run a west coast offense, how do you see Manuel fitting that?
I think it will work well for EJ. If the concept of making the quick read and getting it out is driven home, I think he can fit and adapt well. The short passes will benefit him a ton, as will having a big play threat out of the backfield.
3) How would you describe his career at FSU?
His career at FSU was weird. He was 26-8 as a starter, 4-0 in bowl games, but Seminole fans still feel they never got the most out of what EJ Manuel could have been. There were times where he either failed to make the play a 5th year senior should make, or he succeeded at making the equivalent error. He didn't always play the prettiest games, but ultimately he was beyond effective and was a stellar representative of the school.
4) Can he start from day 1? Why?
No. EJ didn't diagnose things quickly enough in college at times. I think he really does need time to acclimate, which I know is against the latest norm for NFL QB's. He has some mechanical inconsistencies, and just in general, could use the time to settle down and get more comfortable before being asked to be the guy.
5) What makes you think he can or can't be a franchise QB?
Despite the heavy criticism, I really do think EJ Manuel can be a franchise QB. I can attest that he will give every bit of effort necessary to be successful, both on his own time and team time. The off the field intangibles are all present and accounted for and he does have the flash of athleticism and running ability that people love to watch.
6) What sort of offense should he be in and what type of players should he be around?
A West Coast offense with running QB elements is the best scenario for EJ. This past season it really seemed like FSU and Manuel were shying away from letting him run to avoid "athletic QB" stigmas, which is quite silly when you consider the current landscape. But I really think that in order for him to be a success in the NFL, he will need to embrace ALL of his physical tools without reservation. As far as players around him, they need to be both dynamic and dependable. If they are where they're supposed to be, he will typically find them.
7) Should fans be concerned because he's coming from an offense that was simplified?
I don't think this should be a concern at all. If there is any perception that Jimbo Fisher's offense is simplified, it is false. In fact, the complexity of the offense and the responsibilities of his starting QB's are usually what ends up getting them drafted in the first place. EJ's understanding of the offense's concept won't be an issue. What am intrigued to see is how much of it he retains and applies in a rhythm once the live bullets start to fly. He will have to show that his knowledge can translate to game play.