The Bills raised a lot of eyebrows when they made EJ Manuel the first quarterback taken in the 2013 draft, but there is a method to their madness. As rough as he is in some of the technical areas of his game, Manuel presents more upside as a quarterback in the modern era of the NFL than anyone else in this class.
Manuel has tremendous size for the position at 6'5", 237 pounds. He is a terrific athlete with very good speed for a quarterback (4.59 40) and was often used as a runner in a read-option offense at Florida State. He has a quick release and a strong arm that can stretch the field.
However, there are two glaring issues with Manuel's game: inaccuracy and poor mechanics. Manuel is not a natural thrower and is a bit awkward with his delivery. He therefore struggles with his accuracy, particularly at the intermediate level.
For the most part, accuracy is very difficult to correct (Jake Locker is still very much an inaccurate passer going into his third season), but the Bills appear convinced that cleaning up Manuel's mechanics will improve his ball placement. Plus, his athleticism makes him a terrific fit for the increasingly popular read-option offense.
The Bills certainly did not go the safe route when they took Manuel in the middle of the first round, but if Doug Marrone's coaching staff can get the most out of Manuel's physical tools, the young signal-caller has a chance to be a star.