2013 NFL Draft: Could Buccaneers look at E.J. Manuel?

Chris Trotman

Tall: check. Big arm: check. Athletic: check. Possible replacement: incomplete

Mike Mayock has his latest update of his position-by-position draft prospect rankings and QB EJ Manuel is now the second ranked QB behind West Virginia’s Geno Smith. Mayock did this because he had originally seen just three tapes prior to the Senior Bowl. One of those tapes showed a terrible outing against Florida. Then the Senior Bowl performance had Mayock doing a double take and he looked at another three tapes. Now his tune has changed to, "I’ve finally decided I’m going to make a mistake with a kid with size, arm talent and athletic ability, and I think that’s what Manuel has."

Buc fans everywhere know at the moment no one is going to replace current quarterback Josh Freeman and the draft doesn’t pose any real quality. That is until Mayock presented this possibility of EJ Manuel. The Florida State product stands at 6’5", weight 237 pounds, possesses a big arm and is equipped to operate out of the read-option, Mayock’s evaluation, not mine.

NFL.com’s Mayock’s QB Ranking

1. Geno Smith, WV

2. EJ Manuel, FSU

3. Matt Barkley, USC

4. Mike Glennon, NC State

5. Ryan Nassib, Syracuse

5. Landry Jones, Oklahoma

For basic comparison, Josh Freeman is 6’6" and weighs 240 pounds, although that changes by the season. And here is some draft prospect info on Freeman as nuggets.

From nfl.com:

Pick Analysis: The Buccaneers gamble on the gifted quarterback out of Kansas State. Blessed with prototypical size and arm strength, Freeman gives the Bucs a deep-ball thrower to complement their power running game. Though he may not be ready for action in 2009, he gives the team a potential franchise quarterback to groom.

There are teams that consider Freeman the finest all-around athlete available at the position. The junior has been a model of consistency and an outstanding leader who possesses a strong, accurate arm to go along with his unbelievable frame."

From Walterfootball.com:

Summary:Freeman's physical tools makes him a near lock for the first day of the NFL Draft, because of his physical tools, with first-round potential. Personally, I would have to know more about Josh Freeman the person (character, work ethic, leadership) to give a more accurate grade. Freeman is a classic example of a Boom or Bust prospect



Freeman’s College Completion rate


Year


2006


2007


2008


Rate


51.9

63.3

58.6

Manuel’s College Completion rate


Year


2009


2010


2011


2012


Rate


65.1

69.9

65.3

68.0

In EJ Manuel, the Bucs get a Freeman clone, but with a more proven track record at being accurate coming into the NFL. It may or may not translate, but it seems as though both players are similar as both are still raw coming into the league. With the benefit of sitting one whole year behind Freeman, Manuel gets that valuable experience of being a true understudy of the offense and the NFL for a year. And should Freeman still perform well this season, then the Bucs still have Manuel as their back up and possibly can be moved as a valuable asset. Another factor that could come into play for drafting Manuel is one of the free agent quarterbacks that would have been an upgrade over current back up QB Orlovsky, Matt Moore has just re-signed with the Dolphins for two more years for $8 million. Questions are, "Can the Bucs afford to use a second round pick on QB EJ Manuel and should they?"

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