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NFL Combine 2013: EJ Manuel confident in zone option skills

INDIANAPOLIS - Former Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel is one of the more buzz-worthy players at the NFL Combine this week.

He's the third tallest quarterback, has the biggest hands and is arguably the most athletic. In a draft class without a surefire top signal caller, Manuel could parlay a good combine performance into a high draft spot.

He believes that playing in Florida State's pro-style offense will help.

"I did a lot of dropback passing. It wasn’t like I was in the gun the whole time," Manuel said Friday. "I was able to take an under-center snaps. I knew how to do a cadence and things like that. We didn't have a silent count at Florida State. A lot of the small things get overlooked."

Even though he came out of a pro-style offense, Manuel is gaining attention because of his athleticism. Many think he could fit on a team wanting to run the read option. Like any athlete confidence in his abilities, Manuel "definitely" agrees.

"I did a little bit of it at Florida State. Coach Fisher would wrinkle it in whenever he felt we would be good doing that against a team," Manuel said. "So it wasn’t like we did it the whole time, but I know I can do it.

"It’s not a very complex thing. It’s mostly reading the end and also reading the big picture as far as the linebacker playing outside the end."

Manuel did say that while he can operate athletic plays, he doesn't necessarily have to be Colin Kaepernick or Russell Wilson.

"I can be EJ Manuel. But I do see a lot of my abilities in those guys," Manuel said. "When I saw those guys having success this year, it gave me a lot more confidence going into the draft.

"Knowing that that kind of quarterback, a guy who can run and throw, not necessarily run first, but who can throw the ball and also have that run threat, it’s more accepted now. Whereas five or 10 years ago, it really wasn’t accepted. And you definitely didn’t want to act like you ran. You just wanted to sit in the pocket the whole time. Now, it’s more embraced as a quarterback."

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