EJ Manuel isn’t the quarterback of the future, at least he isn’t at this point. That isn’t to say he’s a horrible quarterback.
Comparing him to the first 16 games of other first round quarterbacks proves that numbers wise he is on par.
Sixteen passing touchdowns, 19 total, and 12 interceptions for a quarterbacks first 15 games is pretty reasonable. For comparison, Blake Bortles only had 11 touchdowns and 17 interceptions in his first 14 starts. Obviously Manuel was better.
Now, I’ve seen a lot of Bills’ games, and with any player, the stats don’t tell the entire story. Manuel isn’t accurate, 58.6 percent in his career, and simply has a hard time hitting the open receiver. Maybe it’s his footwork, release, timing, but he just hasn’t gotten it so far.
It’s no question the Bills made a mistake in drafting Manuel in the first round, but he never really had it easy. Under Doug Marrone and Nate Hackett, it seemed the offense was built around holding Manuel back, and he was never able to develop any confidence in in the system.
Now, three years later should the Bills draft another quarterback in the 2015 NFL Draft? Simply put, no.
Manuel aside, this is a team that is built for a deep playoff run. The defense is loaded with playmakers, and they have a new defensive mastermind in Rex Ryan running the show.
On the other hand, the offense has as much talent at receiver and running back as any team in the NFL. The type of offense that a mediocre QB could succeed in.
Do I think there is a quarterback in the second round better than Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel or Tyrod Taylor? I don’t, but maybe the Bills do. I will admit I like Bryce Petty, but he isn’t worth it for the Bills.
If the Bills think there is one then they need to be sure that he can be that guy immediately or within the next year. The Bills have an immensely talented roster, but there is only a limited windows for teams to succeed. The Bills invested a lot of money the past few years, but guys get hurt or don’t pan out in the NFL all the time. The Bills roster is good enough right now, and shouldn’t shackle themselves to another young uncertain QB.
As any two guys should know, Rex Ryan and Doug Whaley, you shouldn’t draft a QB unless you are 100 percent certain they are the guy. Whaley has failed with Manuel, and Ryan has failed twice with Geno Smith and Mark Sanchez.
Quarterbacks aside, the Bills have much bigger needs than to just select another developmental quarterback in rounds two or three.
The Bills offensive line is easily the team’s achilles heel. Greg Roman, and Aaron Kromer are skilled offensive line coaches, but you can’t always turn water into wine.
Seantrel Henderson filled in admirably at right tackle, but probably wouldn’t start for most teams. The same goes for the revolving door that the Bills featured at guard. Kraig Urbik, Erik Pears, and Cyril Richardson all tried to solidify the position, but just couldn’t hold their own.
The Bills drafted Cyrus Kouandjio in 2014, but he just couldn’t crack the starting lineup under Doug Marrone. Also, the team signed former pro bowler Richie Incognito, but he is far from a sure thing at this point in his career.
The Bills will have the opportunity to take the best offensive lineman available in the second or third round or maybe both. Guys like A.J. Cann or Laken Tomilinson could be there for the taking.
The Bills could even take a tackle and move Cordy Glenn to guard or get competition for Seantrel Henderson. Whatever the team decides to do they can’t go wrong taking the best available player at their greatest weakness. And don’t worry about over-drafting a player for need, there are plenty of guards and tackles in this draft with quality second round grounds.
If the Bills draft offensive lineman they have the chance at a completely dominant roster save the QB position.
Whoever it is, the Bills quarterback battle will be the most interesting position battle in the entire NFL.