Analyzing Draft Prospects: E.J. ManuelBREAKING NEWS, Eagles Draft, News, NFLDraft Monday, April 15th, 2013
Many names have been linked to the Eagles throughout the draft process. Most have been first rounders for the Eagles to take with their number four overall pick. However, a name that the Eagles could grab with their second round pick is Florida State Quarterback EJ Manuel.
Manuel, 6-5 237 pounds, has the rare combination of size and speed that could potentially make him lethal. After running a 4.65 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, Manuel proved his speed that stood out on game film. Speed is necessary for a quarterback in Chip Kelly’s offense. Much has been written recently about the fact that Chip Kelly doesn’t have a “type” for quarterback but it is no secret that he loves speed over any other characteristic in a potential pick.
Manuel’s speed stretches beyond his foot speed. He possesses a quick release and, while it may sometimes be too fast, he does a great job of making his way through his progressions quickly and making his decision. Another thing Chip Kelly has stressed in his offensive ideologies so far is getting the ball into the hands of the wide receiver quickly and letting them make plays. Since DeSean Jackson and Jeremy Maclin both thrive in the open field, the wide receiver position is one that can be addressed in later rounds if Kelly isn’t happy with his current group. The Eagles just need a quarterback to put the ball in their hands within a second or two, a practice that Michael Vick has struggled with as one of the 2012 quarterbacks who held on to the ball longest.
There is always the saying that you “cannot teach an old dog new tricks.” Michael Vick is no exception. While he has run abstract versions of the read option in the past, he has never run anything repeatedly like Kelly’s offense is expected to look. Entering the season at 33 years old, Vick will be “old” in quarterback terms and will likely be unable to handle the hits that a read-option quarterback will be susceptible to. Vick refuses to slide when a defender is closing in on him, an infuriating habit for the duration of the 2012 season. While it may sound like a joke, it is something the Eagles will have to look at for their new offense and EJ Manuel has proven that he will slide and not put his body in danger of taking a big hit.
When Manuel dumps the ball off for a check-down, he can often be inaccurate, something that he will have to improve on in the NFL. It is hard to find a more accurate deep throw quarterback than Manuel, though. He places the ball with pin point accuracy into a deep receiver’s hands. While Jackson and Maclin may stick to short, fast routes in 2013, it doesn’t hurt to have a quarterback who can complete the deep ball.
Manuel could help fix another issue for the Eagles. The Eagles are notorious for poor redzone performance. In 2012, EJ Manuel threw 13 touchdowns and just one interception in goal-to-go situations. In his time as a full-time starter, 2011 and 2012, he has thrown 20 goal-to-go touchdowns and still just one interception.
Every quarterback in this year’s class has flaws. Geno Smith is the top-rated quarterback by a wide margin and has been projected anywhere from the first overall pick to the end of the first round. However, no matter what the ratings say, at least one quarterback is a “reach” pick every year. Last year it was Ryan Tannehill at eighth overall. In 2011 Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder were drafted eighth, tenth, and twelfth overall, probably higher than any of them should have been picked. History shows that one of the quarterbacks in the 2013 class will be overvalued and drafted earlier than they probably should be. Matt Barkley and EJ Manuel are the top two candidates to possibly rise to the late-first round.
The Eagles should keep their fingers crossed to not have to trade back into the first round to have their chance at EJ Manuel. The Jaguars are a potential threat at 33 to take Manuel with only Blaine Gabbert and Chad Henne on their current roster. After mini-camps and a more reliable time for evaluating, Chip Kelly and the Eagles’ brass may find some dispensable players to help them pair with a pick to move up. The Eagles also currently hold four seventh round picks; don’t expect them to keep them without trying to move up at any point in the draft.
EJ Manuel, if he is available at 35, would be the ideal pick for the Eagles. He fits the system. He is a bigger, cheaper option than Michael Vick, whose contract makes him very tradable if any teams show interest. The Eagles don’t have the greatest history of second round draft picks so let’s hope a new head coach and new scheme can help change that.
Follow Brenden on twitter @brendenp2011 or email him at BPeddigree2011@gmail.com.
Short URL: http://gcobb.com/?p=36937