In a complicated quarterback draft, E.J. Manuel is often a subject of debate. Some analysts love his upside; others criticize his lack of refinement.
On Tuesday, he threw at the Florida State pro day.
No one denies Manuel's physical prowess. The 6'5", 237-pounder is a terrific athlete with great mobility and arm strength. His 4.65 40-yard dash time should be sufficient evidence for his impressive athleticism.
The questions surrounding Manuel's game go deeper than physical ability, though. He ran a simple offense at Florida State; rarely was he required to make reads and go through his progressions. His ball placement is horrible, and he struggles under pressure.
To put it simply, there are some serious flaws in Manuel's game. But there are fans on both sides of the aisle.
A former NFL scout and current writer for NFL.com, Daniel Jeremiah, could be considered a detractor:
Gave EJ Manuel a 3rd rd grade. Needs time to develop. Love his size but ? his pocket movement/field awareness. Liked J. Freeman better— Daniel Jeremiah (@MoveTheSticks) March 20, 2013
Another former NFL scout, Russ Lande, is a much bigger fan:
After charting 3 more games I finally feel comfortable with EJ Manuel - I really like him & he charts out as a high 2nd / late 1st rd pick.— Russell Lande (@RUSSLANDE) March 10, 2013
With Manuel's pros and cons on the table, how did he perform at his pro day?
Well, much like Manuel's entire body of work, his pro day has drawn mixed reviews.
Mike Mayock spoke positively about Manuel's performance, praising Manuel's arm strength and movement. Mayock also seemed to believe that the pro day did little to change anyone's views on Manuel—detractors still won't like him, and fans still will.
One fan, however, wasn't so quick to praise Manuel's performance. The aforementioned Lande took to Twitter, criticizing Manuel's accuracy:
For those who often ask "Do QB's ever struggle at their Pro day?" - Well, EJ Manuel did today showing VG arm strength, but lacking accuracy.— Russell Lande (@RUSSLANDE) March 19, 2013
The mixed reviews aside, this seemed like a pro day that neither hurt nor helped Manuel. Few pro days really do make much of a difference, and this is especially true for quarterbacks, who throw much-practiced scripted passes.
This goes back to what Mayock said. If an analyst was buying into Manuel's physical ability and choosing to overlook his other flaws, that analyst will still like him. That same physical ability was on display at the Florida State pro day.
But if someone didn't like Manuel—if he or she saw problems with Manuel's footwork and ball placement, for instance—then that person probably still doesn't like the undeniably talented quarterback.
Sounds fairly typical for a pro day in March.