NFL Draft 2013: E.J. Manuel could be second QB drafted


Has Florida State's E.J. Manuel done enough to sneak into the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft?

E.J. Manuel is making a big push up 2013 NFL Draft boards. According to Dan Pompei of the National Football Post, Manuel could be the second quarterback taken after West Virginia's Geno Smith, ahead of Matt Barkley, Mike Glennon and Ryan Nassib. The reason is upside, according to Pompei:

There clearly is a bust factor with him, but some think Manuel can be a better player at the next level because he has more raw talent than any quarterback in the draft other than maybe Geno Smith.

The case for Manuel is easy to make (in fact, SB Nation's Dan Rubenstein already has). Manuel's mobility and ability to execute the increasingly popular read-option is probably his biggest asset. Combine his speed with his arm strength and 6'5, 238-pound frame, and it's easy to see what makes Manuel so enticing.

Manuel has his detractors, however, including SB Nation's own Matthew Fairburn, who named Manuel the most overrated quarterback prospect in this year's draft class, citing issues as a passer.

But people are getting too caught up in Manuel's physical abilities and ignoring some of his potentially fatal flaws. The two glaring weaknesses in Manuel's game are his ability to sense and deal with pressure in the pocket, and his accuracy. Without those two traits, a quarterback is destined to have a difficult transition to the NFL.

Whether Manuel has done enough to sneak himself into the first round as Pompei suggests remains to be seen. He worked out with the New York Jets, Buffalo Bills, Cleveland Browns and Philadelphia Eagles in March, but those teams own the No. 9, No. 8, No. 6 and No. 4 overall picks, respectively, likely much too high for Manuel.

Beyond the top ten, there isn't a team with a glaring need for a signal caller in the first round. There is a chance that a team could trade into the end of the first round to get first pick at whoever they consider to be the next-best quarterback, however.

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