A lot of people were surprised to see EJ Manuel become the first quarterback taken off the board in the recent NFL Draft, but apparently it was a certain workout under quite harsh conditions that convinced the Buffalo Bills to take a chance on him.
Manuel is quite a raw prospect coming out of Florida State, although after winning four bowl games with the Seminoles, there has to be something he’s been doing right. He’s a big guy with a big arm that lacks accuracy and consistency, but he seemed to be worth taking a shot on after a very impressive senior season that ended with a win in a BCS Bowl and the best offensive season in the history of the Seminoles.
But beyond all of the talk about his physical attributes, far more impressive than any other quarterback heading into the draft, Doug Marrone seems to be convinced that his private workout during quite a strong Florida thunderstorm a couple of months ago is the proof he needed to give Manuel a chance to try and become the starting quarterback for the Bills next season, although Kevin Kolb is the favorite to win that spot.
I remember when I first got the job here in Buffalo, and I had been up here and played up here before, and I got out of the car in January and the wind — I was like, ‘Wow.’ I never realized how windy it was that time of the year. We started talking about the quarterbacks, and we went back and researched all the teams that played in the Northeast in the bad weather and all the success they had with quarterbacks and the common traits that they had. They were big and had big hands and were able to throw the ball in tough weather, and that’s what we were looking at.
Whether this teaches us about some multiple quarterback approach the Bills are planning to take, or simply that Manuel is actually the guy the Bills are planning to use as a starter will be revealed soon enough.