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Where would EJ Manuel rank among 2014 quarterback class?

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Twice last year, the Buffalo Bills were in position to select any quarterback they wanted.

The first time, with every quarterback on the board, they traded back eight slots. The second time, they declared EJ Manuel was the best of the bunch by drafting him 16th overall.

Manuel was the only quarterback drafted in the first round, indicative of how thin last year's class was considered.

But where would Manuel rank among this year's group?

Although Bills GM Doug Whaley repeatedly has said they are set at quarterback and will consider drafting any position other than quarterback in the first round this spring, at least one NFL analyst grades several of this year's rookies higher than he would Manuel.

"I've got a lot of guys rated ahead of him based on their college career and based on Manuel's college career," said NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly, former GM of the Houston Texans.

"Bridgewater, Bortles, Manziel, Carr, Garoppolo and McCarron. I've got them all rated ahead of EJ Manuel, coming out a year ago. And you know what? LSU quarterback Mettenberger. I've got him ahead of Manuel, too."

Add up the names, and there would be seven quarterbacks ahead of Manuel in Casserly's mind.

That's not to say Casserly believes seven quarterbacks would perform better for the Bills in 2014. While those quarterbacks will be rookies, Manuel is entering his second pro season.

At the NFL owners meetings two weeks ago, Bills coach Doug Marrone discussed how valuable it is for a second-year quarterback to experience his first full offseason of work.

"It's going to be unbelievable," Marrone said. "It's the biggest benefit that you can have.

"I love the way he's going about his business right now. He's learned a lot. It was a new experience for him. ... He's a very bright kid, a very prideful kid. I think all those experiences that happened to him -- all the adversity, the challenges with the injuries, preparing for that first away game, the two-minute drive to win the game against Carolina -- all these things tell him, 'OK, I know what I have to do to get better.' "

Manuel's development was hampered by three knee injuries in a four-month span. He missed the final two preseason games, four straight games in October and November and the final two games.

"He's hungrier now than he's been before," Marrone said.

  • Ballislife

    Yikes maybe not the best year to draft a QB last year huh?

  • disqus_slIQDYiIpn

    Lol, I want to write an article called the war against the black quarterback, there is ALWAYS something negative to say about them.

    • Paul Kawalerski

      Please, don't start with the race thing. This has nothing to do with whether EJ is black or not. Get over it. And I'm an EJ supporter.

      • disqus_slIQDYiIpn

        No you need to accept it, as controversial as Manziel is, who is the most polarizing QB in the 2014 draft? You guessed boring shy Teddy Bridgewater, hmm lets see why, cause hes skinny and missed deep passes at his pro day, meanwhile Manziel commits the same offense as terrell pryor

  • FlyGuy

    Your constant bashing of Manuel is getting really pathetic.

    • E.A. Richards

      "Bashing?" This mediocre (at best) QB has apologists EVERYWHERE! If a good QB is available at #9 and the Bills pass, woe unto them.
      On the upside, Mike Williams and Brandon Spikes look like class acts, going forward.

      • Danny Jakubik

        Agreed, Manuel has a long way to go to become anything better then mediocre. He needs to learn to set his feet when he throws. His accuracy is an issue. One can only hope a full year of pro training will allow him to develope into a better QB. If not the bills we be in the QB market again next year.

  • user_name

    I always laugh at articles like this, there's a reason Casserly is a "former" GM. Just the same with Bill Polian on espn, dude lucked out on Manning and rode him forever.

    • FlyGuy

      But but Casserly's last GM job was with the Texans where he went 18-46 over 4 years. He's a great talent evaluator !

    • Kevin Raymond

      Ummm....Polian put together a Bills team that went to an unprecedented 4 consecutive superbowls. Then he built a Carolina Panthers team that went 12&4 in their second season. This before he "got lucky" by picking Manning and subsequently building a super bowl winner in Indianapolis. Casserly does not belong in any conversation that involves Polian unless it is about opposites.

  • bill

    He could be right, but Manuel has the tools and the work ethic. He strikes me as the kind who will be better as a pro than he was in college, which was pretty darn good. Great work ethic and attitude, and wants to be a professional. Just keep building around him and stay healthy.

    • Paul Kawalerski

      Got that right. EJ is not a superstar, but he's a young man with talent and who's willing to put in the work to succeed. And sometimes that's all you need.

  • Samuel Brody

    Who cares how he measures up based on his college career? Wasn't Tom Brady drafted in the 6th round, behind like 6 other QB's? What matters is how well he performs in the NFL. (BTW, I'm not saying Manuel will ever be Brady).

  • Mogo-a-gogo

    From the "Consider the source" files....

    Here’s a complete list of QBs Casserly drafted as a GM:

    1990: Gary Conklin- 4th Round, Washington

    1992: Chris Hakel- 4th Round, William&Mary

    1994: Heath Shuler- 3rd Overall, Tennessee

    1994: Gus Frerotte, 7th Round, Tulsa

    2002: David Carr- 1st Overall, Fresno State

    2003: Dave Ragone- 3rd Round, Louisville

    2003: Drew Henson- 6th Round, Michigan

    2004: B.J. Symons- 7th Round, Texas Tech

    ....nuff said.

    • Darkaine

      Thank you for that

    • Kevin Raymond

      Excellent point. I'm not even sure why Casserly would even have an opinion on the topic. What would make any media type, outside of a Bills beat reporter, even think about Manuel, let alone comment. Neither he, nor the Bills have done enough in the recent past to warrant any thought.

    • Paul Kawalerski

      Great job. This guy is no QB guru; only in his own mind. I've seen the tapes on these guys and EJ is right in the mix. This year's class is a crap shoot at best.

  • DrPow420

    Lol give me a break this article is bad.. You cant compare a qb thats in the NFL to guys who haven't even played 1 game in the NFL...

  • Paul

    This from the guy who drafted David Carr #1 overall. Bridgewater just scored a 20 on his Wonderlic test so he's not real bright. I think I'll stick with EJ. I miss Larry Felser. This sports page leaves a lot to be desired.

  • Kevin Raymond

    The fact the Casserly holds this opinion of Manual should be uplifting to Bills fans. Casserly's evaluations of NFL talent are so far off that his comments could be received as a compliment of Manuel's abilities.

  • Lukas Knapp

    How do Kolb and Flynn keep signing starter contracts and get praised for their potential? Potential is one of the most dangerous words in sports. But Manuel is going to be mediocre? That guy works extremely hard which is the only time that potential can be gauged.

  • Paul Kawalerski

    It is beyond me how Tim Graham still has his job at the Buffalo News. He has been nothing but a negative voice against the Bills since he started. And if anyone doubts this please go back and check his articles. He is from Cleveland, has no real interest here other than his paycheck. All his articles have put negative spins on the Bills, their , players, their plans, and their coaching staff. He is nothing but a cancer and should be let go to resume his Boxing reporting career. Would you believe that about half of the negative new I have read on other NFL sites have been from within Buffalo from Tim Graham. That is a shame and needs to be adjusted. Bring in a writer that supports this team not one who is constantly writing articles to bring down the status of our team.

    • Thomas

      Couldn't agree more

  • Paul Kawalerski

    What is laughable to me is how you can make this type of judgment based on the short season EJ had because of the injuries. Since when have these experts ever got it right. Their track records are 50-50 at best. I've seen the tape on all these guys and I certainly don't see any Payton Mannings in this class.

  • Kenneth Penman

    To mention Casserly in the same breath as Bill Polian is ludicrous. Mogo-a-gogo enumerated his QB selecting skills quite eloquently, while, Kevin Raymond enlightened us on why Bill Polian and Charles Casserly should not even be mentioned in the same universe....besides, last time I checked, E.J. Manuel lis working and Charlie Casserly is an ex-GM. Gentlemen, please don't get happy feet and give E.J. a chance to show what he is capable of doing. As for the David Carr remark, does anybody recall how many times that poor kid, as a rookie, was sacked at Houston? if they had been a Looney Tunes cartoon, his body outline would have been impressed into the field! Yikes!

  • Paul

    Why don't we wait and see how he progresses with one full year under his belt ok? Anyone that would declare any player a bust after less than a season is just an idiot. You're probably the same guy that declared CJ and Darius busts too. Just wait and see expert. You can gloat if you're right.

  • Thomas

    Dear BuffaloNews, Fire Tim Graham, like Paul said he is a cancer! I don't even go to the BuffaloNews anymore for my Bills update Joe Bascalia on wgr55 is much better!!!

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.