Marrone Ties Bills Career to Manuel - 07/12/13
When EJ Manuel takes to the field at Fisher for the start of training camp, the only people who care that he was picked 16th instead of 26th or 66th or 106th are the NFL draft experts who had an awful night on Thursday. Doug Marrone just cares that his new young quarterback can eventually be the franchise qb that this team has been searching for this last decade. The truth is we have no idea if Manuel can play but we do know Doug Marrone has hitched his Buffalo Bills wagon to EJ. The silliest thing i heard for the last month is that Marrone would take Ryan Nassib because he knew him so well. I ever heard the word "nepotism" . Well Marrone and the Bills showed they actually evaluated the quarterbacks and made the pick based on what they thought for the Bills, not for Syracuse University. Now Marrone is being criticized for NOT picking Nassib, just because he would have been the best fit for Buffalo in their eyes.
After the Bills traded back to 16 they still had all of the qb's on Mel Kiper's big board available to them. Geno Smith, who all the experts had in the first round, sat and squirmed in the green room for 32 picks. Now when he is finally chosen all of the experts will say the team that picked him got "great value" by finding him in round two. But we can use the same measuring stick that we use for Manuel and the Bills. Once Geno takes the field no one will care where he was selected. Does anyone care now that the Seahawks took Russell Wilson in round three? if he would have been picked in round one a year ago Todd McShay's head would have exploded and he would have ripped Seattle for reaching.
When I went to the combine in Indianapolis I quickly became a fan of Manuel. I liked the way the young man carried himself in that setting with a level of confidence but not arrogance. But there is no doubt that his physical presence will be the most glaring thing you will notice about him when he takes the field. I actually hoped the Bills might take him by trading back late into the first or grabbing him in round two. Buddy Nix's decisiveness in taking him in round one is something that is certainly open to criticisms but also should be applauded.
We've been waiting for the Bills to pick a young quarterback and build the franchise around him. They have made their choice on Erik James Manuel and they will live and die with him. Don;'t expect him to walk in like RG3 or Andrew Luck or even Wilson. Manuel needs some time to develop and the Bills staff thinks they can give him that time. Kevin Kolb will start until Manuel is ready to go. That could be in 2014. That could be in training camp this year at Fisher. Its's likely somewhere in between. But it's sure a heck of a lot more fun than what we've seen for the last 15 years