Eagles Wake-Up Call: The EJ Manuel Diaries, Part I

Quarterback EJ Manuel will be doing a weekly diary here on Birds 24/7 as we count down to the draft. It should be a very cool feature and we’re excited to have him.

As it just so happens, his first entry comes on the heels of Mike Mayock declaring Manuel the second best quarterback  in this draft class, moving him past Matt Barkley. That’s where we started the Q&A:

Mike Mayock just put you ahead of Matt Barkley on his board and now has you as the No. 2 QB in the draft. What is your response to that?

EM: The most important thing to me about pre-draft rankings are that they are opinionated. The low rankings only motivated me, so I won’t lose that edge. I liked the doubt, it’s that much sweeter when you prove people wrong. What matters most to me is that I continue to get better, day in and day out throughout this process.

Are there any steps you are taking this offseason to get ready to potentially run the read-option in the NFL?

EM: From the teams I met with, they all know I can orchestrate any type of offense. At Florida State, we ran multiple formations, schemes, pass concepts, run checks, kill checks, and declaration of the protections. The coaches were able to get a sense of my intellect and my football IQ in the meetings, while also seeing what kind of person I am.

How much did coaches and scouts ask you about the read option in Indy, and how did you find the experience at the Combine overall? What stood out?

EM: Not very much, many of the coaches asked me more about declaring mikes and setting protections. Get my offense into positive plays, how I read certain play concepts, and other questions about my background. The running ability is only an added weapon to what I can do and they embraced that.

The combine experience was very unique. Although I wasn’t able to get more than 15 hours of total sleep in 4 days, I enjoyed the moment. Meeting with team officials, getting to know other guys and forming relationships made it priceless. We’ll always look back at the combine as a grind and just another opportunity to show what we could do in front of the biggest audience on one of the biggest stages in this process. I love those moments when everyone is watching! I feel in my comfort zone. Just let it flyyyy!

Plenty more from Manuel moving forward. If you have a question for him let us know and maybe we can get it answered for you.

WHAT YOU MISSED

The Eagles will meet with Arizona QB Matt Scott Monday.

Greg Cosell talks about Chip Kelly and the impact of a mobile quarterback.

In the latest Twitter Mailbag, I try to answer questions on Jared Cook, Dee Milliner and more.

Sheil looks at some possible options at nose tackle for the Eagles.

Howie Roseman says the Eagles won’t necessarily hold age against a free agent if he can improve the team’s culture.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING

ESPN Insider lists the five best fits for Wes Welker. The Eagles are one of them.

System coaches such as Chip Kelly often get typecast as being inflexible when it comes to adjusting their system to the talent on their roster, but Kelly’s history at Oregon indicates he is actually quite adept at altering his approach to the skill set available to him.

…If the Eagles were fortunate enough to sign Welker, Kelly would be able to alter his system to get the most out of Welker’s abilities.

Mayock talks about why he moved Manuel ahead of Barkley:

“The first three tapes I saw of Manuel prior to the Senior Bowl included the Florida game, and that’s probably the worst game he ever played … so I had a little bit of a bad taste in my mouth heading into the Senior Bowl,” Mayock told NFL Network’s “Path to the Draft” on Thursday. “I thought he had a solid Senior Bowl week, and coming out of the combine, I felt like there was a quiet buzz among some of the teams. Not just his workout. More importantly to me, they like the kid, they think he’s smart and in the meeting rooms at night, he passed that test.”

Peter King and some of the other writers over at SI.com did a free-agent fantasy draft. King took OLB Paul Kruger with his first pick.

COMING UP

Four days until free agency opens. We have lots to get to between now and then.

Become a fan of Birds 24/7 on Facebook.

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  • UKEagle99

    I’m not hating here I really enjoy this site and appreciate all of your work but can I ask what format the Q&A took? Was it face to face (doubtful), over the phone or email (I suspect)? I feel like the answers have been written on his behalf. Eg; We’ll always look back at the combine as a grind and just another opportunity to show what we could do in front of the biggest audience

    I can’t say I blame him in any way if they are, the last thing he wants to do is hurt his stock by saying the wrong thing. I don’t think many of us appreciate the incredible pressure these guys are under already. I’m just curious. Thanks

    EDIT: Update; to anyone who reads this before the other responses re my comments above. I take it back and take my hat off to E.J. he comes across very well indeed. I’ll be looking in to this guy some more!

    • CJ

      By “we” he’s probably talking about the whole draft class. And I’m pretty sure by definition, “diary” means non-verbal. As in, not face to face, not over the phone. Written. They probably sent him a few questions to work in so they could channel his thought process to be more Eagles related, such as the read option, etc.

    • Tim McManus

      We are doing the exchanges through email, and it’s all EJ. He fires the responses right back.
      -Tim

      • UKEagle99

        Thanks Tim. In which case he comes across very well indeed.

  • T

    Perhaps he’s just speaking on behalf of his fellow prospects. E.J. is very well spoken, composed and intelligent. (Wilson & Griffin) I can certainly believe this is a scripted response submitted by someone in his camp. On the other hand I’ve gone back and taken a look at his interview skills and I can equally believe he sent these responses himself.

    • UKEagle99

      Well if it was him I’m very impressed. I was not trying to be negative or unappreciative of the piece, just curious really.

  • DutchEagle

    I think the system, Welker’s role in the Pat’s offense and his chemistry with (and the skills of) Brady cannot be underestimated. Not sure how effective he would be in another offense with another QB. Plus, and I have said this before, we need to get bigger at WR, not smaller.

    • R0ckst@r

      Welker was good in Miami before he went to New England. Don’t forget that…

      • CJ

        Fair, but don’t forget how long ago that was either.

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    I love this access. Score one for T-Mac.

    I’d like to know who EJ’s favorite QBs were growing up. Also if he has a favorite play, pass-pattern or type of throw. What was the name of a particular play-call at FSU?

    Oh, one more. Does he have experience with one word play-calls or packaged plays?

  • JofreyRice

    More postseason love-affair stuff. This guy was a 3rd-4th round pick, and is now the 2nd QB in the entire draft, on the strength of one all-star game, and a combine workout/interview. He looked good in the Senior Bowl, no doubt, but I don’t think you can throw away all the other evidence he’s compiled of being a guy that makes horrible decisions under pressure, has a difficult time reading defenses, and has terrible ball placement and accuracy. He’s got great physical tools, but until I see it on the field, I still view him as a bit of a project.

    • Wes

      He finished his college career as the most accurate QB in ACC history and FSU wasn’t a spread offense. As a fan of the ACC I’ve watched many of his games over the last 4 years and I don’t get why people claim he has ball placement and accuracy issues. I like him a lot as a 2nd round pick. He’ll sit for a year behind Vick and learn if we draft him

      • Joe Jones

        Thanks for refuting the nonsense in that post…Its an internet message board/blog, so its commonplace for people to post a bunch of inaccuracies based on “something they heard” or biases based on their preconceived notions. My personal favorite, “difficult time reading defenses…..:”

        For anyone interested, here is a detailed breakdown of EJ Manuel with cut-ups and tape. http://mattwaldmanrsp.com/2013/02/27/the-kaepernick-project-fsu-qb-e-j-manuel/

        And here’s another one

        http://sports.yahoo.com/blogs/nfl-shutdown-corner/shutdown-50-e-j-manuel-florida-state-qb-162800036–nfl.html;_ylt=AqLpxVYGIHTOnJFHjiNuj0JYYsp_;_ylu=X3oDMTE4NWRia245BG1pdANCbG9ncyBJbmRleARwb3MDMQRzZWMDTWVkaWFCbG9nSW5kZXg-;_ylg=X3oDMTFpMm9iMzh1BGludGwDdXMEbGFuZwNlbi11cwRwc3RhaWQDBHBzdGNhdANibG9nBHB0A3NlY3Rpb25z;_ylv=3

        I have no idea if EJ is a good fit for what Chip is looking for in a QB, but I trust that Chip does. Go Birds!!!

        • JofreyRice

          I’ve watched FSU games, bud. Why don’t you just address me directly? So you post 2 articles that just support your position, what the hell does that prove? Waldman thinks that the guy is a late 2nd-4th round pick, and talks about his ball placement in that article. Did you just ignore that part?

          • Joe Jones

            You win, You’ve watched FSU games, thus, you are the self appointed expert…….. If you say he cant read a defense…..well, I guess that settles it.

            Instead of worrying about whether or not I address you directly(and I already regret this reply), why didnt you respond to the part where Wes cited EJ as the most accurate passer in ACC history? Imagine what he could have done if he could read a defense…..LOL.

            But hey, never let the facts get in the way of well articulated stereotype. Have a great day buddy….Go Birds

          • JofreyRice

            what stereotype? Oh for christ sake, we’re back to the black QB/white QB thing? It’s really tiresome, but go ahead, crusade away, pal.

          • Joe Jones

            It is…..EJ cant read a defense. Let me guess, Taj Boyd cant either? But NIck Foles is a master. So was Kevin Kolb. Despite the evidence to the contrary(horrendous TD-INT ratio) but it cracks me up that whenever people offer an opinion on a black QB, its almost automatic, “inaccurate, difficulty reading defenses….” You call it tiresome, I call it funny, cause it happens all the time.

            Now comes the part where you call me a racist, right? Just end it bro…I would say we agree to disagree but I didnt offer an opinion on EJ. I just laughed at you calling him inaccurate(untrue) and having difficulty reading defense(unproven). And offered a scouts perspective based on extensive film study. But whatever bro…..have a great day. I’m an Eagles fan. I trust Chip to draft and put the best players on the field.

          • JofreyRice

            I like Tajh Boyd a lot, as a matter of fact. He was probably the most improved player in CFB this year. I’d love to get Teddy Bridgewater next year. I’d prefer to get Matt Scott this year, as a developmental guy. If you had bothered to read through my posts about any of those guys, perhaps you wouldn’t have assumed I’m posting against Manuel because of his race. This is called creating a strawman argument, it’s lazy, and pointless. My take on Manuel has nothing to do with race and everything to do with how he plays QB.

            There are other articles and posters that you can carry on with arguments about race on this website. I’m sticking to football.

          • Joe Jones

            Lazy and irresponsible is your “difficulty reading defenses” bs. But hey, like you said…stick to football. I’m out

          • JofreyRice

            Where did I say “irresponsible”? And I’m the one with reading comprehension difficulty?

          • Token

            There is little to no point in arguing the race point. There are people who are always thinking along those terms. Racists are generally those who bring it into a conversation at any chance. Its astonishing so many still think that way when it comes to sports especially.

            But people who think that way will always. You will never change their mind. You said a QB who happens to be black cant read a defense. Obviously, you are racist.

            A bad player is a bad player. Race means zero. I think the Eagles should have given up 4 or 5 1st rounders for RG3 last year. I think Bridgewater is a much better prospect than Johnny Football. But it doesnt matter to people like this. They get hung up on a certain guy and claim racism to anyone who picks out their many flaws. Happens constantly. No point in given it a second thought.

          • Joe Jones

            I dont usually engage idiots but here goes. First of all, no one is hung up on a certain guy. I said in several posts that I dont know if EJ is the right guy, I leave that to Chip. I said its annoying that “cant read a defense” is a subjective(if you dont know what that means, look it up) assessment. The ability to read a defense is not quantifiable. Yet, it gets thrown around all the time. And particularly with black QBs. I’ve never seen a white QB accused of not being able to read a defense, regardless of how many interceptions they throw or how bad they suck(Kevin Kolb for example).

            But you wanna make generalizations about this issue when you have no idea what you’re talking about. Idiot.

          • Token

            Are you the only one who has mentioned Kolb and Foles? Im going out on a limb and guessing you are a big Vick fan.

            Reading a defense is a skill. Its black and white. Its on tape. Its not a opinion. Just watch Vick, or Kolb if that suits you better, and you will see a clueless QB on the field. Guys with zero clue whats going on pre snap. You can certainly argue a plays chance at success has a lot to do with what is or isnt seen pre snap. RG3 and Russell Wilson are light years better at it than Vick and they are rookies. EJ is far far below where those two guys are mentally. That is why he will fail in the NFL.

            You can have as many “athletes” as you want at QB. If they are incapable above the shoulders they have no chance in the NFL.

            You win championships in the pocket. Its been like this forever and its not likely to change. If RG3 and Wilson never ran again in their career they could still be successful. If you take away EJ’s running ability he gives you nothing.

            But hey I get it. Philly fans are not changing any time soon. I read comments from fans like you all the time. Fans here only care about how many highlight plays you have. Not about how many games you win. I suppose thats why DeSean Jackson is so popular even though hes a mediocre player. Yet Maclin is more productive, but not as flashy, therefore not as liked.

          • Warhound

            Since the mid 1940s one thing has been true: dynasties throw efficiently (high ypa) and deny passing efficiency to their opponent. Know this, embrace it.

          • Joe Jones

            And its not “no point in given it a second thought.” Its “no point in giving it a second thought.” Guess when you dont know simple grammar, I’d imagine having a “second thought” is probably out of the question LMAO. Pretty funny when dumb people try to sound smart. Fail

          • Warhound

            Hmmmm…. Everybody go to a dictionary and look-up: racism, prejudice, bigotry, and bias. Discussions about race are more productive when these more subtle distinctions are made.

          • MAC

            Guessing you think Vick is solid also based on your biased right?

          • CJ

            Wait, now you’re calling EJ Manuel black?! Oh boy, here it comes :)

          • CJ

            Now you’re calling EJ Manuel black. Uh oh…

            Next up, let’s debate why Ryan Swope is an “excellent route runner” but there are questions whether his speed can translate at the next level, with his “slow” 4.38 40.

            Or why only white baseball player are called lauded for being tough and gritty. Yes, stereotypes are everywhere. Yes, the are stupid. And yes, sometimes they do on occasion play out accurately. Though I don’t know enough about Manuel to know whether that’s the case here or not.

          • JofreyRice

            Racism still exists in this country today, and I’m sure there are some fans of some teams that wouldn’t want EJ Manuel for that reason. I’m not one of them, however. To assume it right out of the gate, without reading through anything else I’ve posted about other QBs, is offensive and intellectually lazy.

            When I say he’s got difficulty reading defenses, that’s exactly what I mean–any subtext added thereafter is really up to whomever wants to add it. When he ran into high-pressure defenses, he had trouble getting the ball out quickly and accurately to someone. He made a lot of really bad decisions, and threw it right into the area that the defense was pressuring him to throw it to. The numbers and games and plenty of objective analysis back this up. The article the guy posted by Matt Waldman specifically notes where Manuel needs to improve in ball placement.

          • Joe Jones

            Jofrey, I have no beef with you personally. I admit, I am sensitive about the “cant read a defense” stuff cause its a stereotype often saddled to black QBs. I find it offensive. Mainly because its subjective and only applied to black QBs.

            For example, Eli Manning threw 25 INTs one yr, did anyone suggest he was having trouble reading the defense? Drew Brees and Andrew Luck led the league in interceptions this yr? Reading trouble? Jay Cutler and Tony Romo both had multiple 4 INT games this yr…..what happened? DId they have trouble reading the defense? Peyton Manning threw 3 INTs in the 1st qtr this yr vs Atl, was he confused? Trouble reading the defense? Aaron Rodgers was sacked 51 times this yr, was he holding the ball too long cause he couldnt read the defense?

            Of course not…..but its something that is thrown around with regard to black QBs all the time….let me know the next time you see an analysis of a white QB that includes “difficulty reading defenses.” Other than with Tim Tebow, I’ve never seen it. So, I hope you understand why some people find it offensive to throw that out.

            Again, its subjective….I’d love to hear an explanation as to exactly how you are able to ascertain which QBs can read a defense and which ones cant?

          • JofreyRice

            Look, I understand it’s been the case with some people, and that historically, there have been a lot of problems concerning that kind of thing. I mean, jeez, look at the crap that some soccer players have to put up with in Europe. I just got annoyed that you applied it to me pretty much right away. I didn’t think that was fair.

            I like Manuel’s ability, and would not mind him as a 3rd QB to bring along and develop. He could turn out really, good with some seasoning and coaching. My original post was about how he’s risen way up from where he was projected due to post-combine process, and that I felt the same issues he had in season were still there. I made a case about the same for Oklahoma LT Lane Johnson in another article on here. I explained my thoughts on how Manuel deals with blitzing players, and pressure defenses, and I think some of his worst decisions come from the fact that he’s not seeing that shaping up pre-snap, is very reactive to pressure in the pocket, and is getting tricked into some bad decisions.

          • Joe Jones

            Fair enough….first and foremost, I have one agenda…..winning, I could care less about the color of our QB. Just win baby!!!! I said it in my initial post, I’ll repeat it….I trust Chip to make the right decision. Chip wants to win and win immediately. He sees one of his contemporaries, Jim Harbaugh go 13-3 in his first yr and in the Super Bowl his 2nd yr…..I imagine Chip has similar expectations(well, with winning it all, not coming in 2nd LOL)

            I’m excited about this season. If Chip drafts EJ? Cool….Chip passes….cool. Go Birds

          • CJ

            I’m not assuming anything. I think the whole thing is ridiculous. Actually, if you know anything about Swope (as in he’s white), my point was helping you. In that these things can cut both ways to the detriment of players. So to scream racist about an “inaccurate” black QB is as logical as screaming racist about a “slow” white WR.

          • JofreyRice

            Yeah I realized what you were doing and I wasn’t accusing you of assuming anything. Sorry for the confusion.

          • Joe Jones

            Typical deflection and changing the argument……who is screaming racist or racism? Jofrey said inaccurate… which is not true….when stats were introduced to show he’s not inaccurate, then Jofrey said bad ball placement….and the discussion was centered around the issue of “cant read a defense.” I explained that is a subjective assessment that is not applied equally.

            And of course, the idiots wanna suggest, that its playing the race card. F u…..thats not what I said. If people are too dumb to follow the discussion, dont butt in with simplistic and inaccurate accusations.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            Wow, look what happened here.

            I do think you made a stereotype (loosely defined) about EJ, but it wasn’t about race. I think you’ve oversimplified his game and placed it within very narrow boundaries based on an idea about the way he plays.

            EJ Manuel is not an inaccurate thrower, he is an inconsistent one. I think it mostly stems from his base/footwork. I would say many of his issues are actually very similar to the ones Nick Foles had coming out of college (and still does). Much like Foles at Arizona, Manuel is very proficient in his offense’s underneath game and many of the throws there are close to perfect, but every now and then he will get sloppy and fail to repeat his mechanics, throwing a complete wild pitch. You see this ball sail way wide or high and you get the impression EJ has accuracy issues. But if you pay attention to the vast majority of the throws (including difficult, NFL type sideline throws) and you can see that accuracy is a skill that Manuel is capable of and possesses. He’s not making so many of those picture perfect throws by accident. I saw the same +/- thing in the underneath game from Foles in college when he would fail to reset his feet.

            I would suggest watching Manuel again in the swing game and tell me if you don’t see him making some of the prettiest short yardage throws, ones with perfect touch, shape and flare that lead his receivers towards additional yardage. I saw him do that repeatedly.

            Here is a statistical scouting breakdown on EJ. The author adjusts for completion percentage in different zones and I think you will find some of the results surprising:

            http://secondroundstats.com/2013/02/08/ej-manuel-statistical-scouting-report/

            For instance, he had better underneath completion rates than Andrew Luck and only threw into double coverage a handful of times all year. I think that should quiet a lot of the catch-all “decision-making” claims and also shows that EJ listens to coaching and plays within the system.

          • MAC

            Stereotpe talk again!! LOL pathetic!!!

          • Joe Jones

            And to clarify, I dont have a position, I just thanked another poster for correcting your inaccuracies and offered a couple of balanced and detailed analyses of EJ.

            If you read my entire post, I said, I dont know if EJ is a good fit for us, but I trust that Chip does……reading comprehension is not fundamental, I suppose?

          • JofreyRice

            Being an accurate QB against Murray St. and Savannah State doesn’t quite weigh as much as when you consider that he was <59% against Florida, NC State, & Va Tech.

            I'm no expert, but I know what bad ball placement looks like from watching McNabb. It's when you throw the ball "near" a reciever and complete it, but stop the guys momentum, or throw it at his feet, or throw it high and hard where he has to make a circus catch. Right now, Manuel makes those kind of throws a lot.

      • JofreyRice

        It’s not just completion %, it’s ball placement. He can get very scattershot, and his completion % drops by 10 points when he’s facing a blitz. That kind of pressure is only going to increase in the NFL. Facing pressure defenses was like running into a buzzsaw for him, and he also showed a lot of inconsistency. He’s far from a finished product at this point.

        I’m not saying the guy has no shot in the NFL, his physical tools are intriguing, but I do think there’s a good chance he gets overdrafted because of them.

        • Joe Jones

          I looked up EJ’s numbers. In his last 3 yrs, he completed over 67% of his passes and threw 45 TDs vs 22 INTs. And in your posts, you’ve described him as “inaccurate” and now its “scattershot and bad ball placement” and of course, “difficulty reading defenses.” (I used quotations cause those are your words)

          I can only imagine what he’d be able to do if he could read a defense and had better ball placement.

          • Guest

            Look through FSU boards. This guy wasnt exactly loved. He has made a ton of bonehead decisions.

            Philly fans need to learn from the past. You guys always want the same player. We have had similar QBs for the last 3 decades and its gotten us nothing. This game is about whats above the shoulders. I dont really care about your size or arm to a extent. Everyone gets excited about the guy who can run around and has a strong arm. Its gotten this franchise absolutely nowhere. Philly is more about the sizzle and less about the steak than most any sports city I can think of.

            It is rare for a guy to learn to read defenses and get better accuracy if he hasnt shown progress in college. Both can be taught. However the guys who dont care to learn it in college tend to be the type of personality that doesnt care to learn it in the pros. IMO pocket presence cant be taught. This kid is not strong there either.

          • Joe Jones

            I hope you get what you want…..I want to win. I didnt argue for EJ. I took issue with the “cant read the defense” accusation. But people here are too freaking small minded to grasp that. I give up….having a discussion on the internet with a bunch of mental midgets is pointless. I give up….EJ is inaccurate, dumb as a brick and cant read a defense. Nick Foles is soooooooooooo smart and reads the defense sooooooooooooooooooooooo well and he gets the ball out sooooooooooooooooooooooo quick. Please Chip, stop acquiring athletes at QB and start an intelligent pocket passer like Nick Foles.

            How’s that? Better? I’m converted.

          • Jeff

            I’m an FSU fan, graduate. EJ Manuel has been my vicarious subsistance for some time, however I have to agree with the guy who was talking about what he has above the shoulders. Sometimes, I imagine he doesn’t have the leadership skills. Part of that may just be the coach and the pressure he puts on the qb to conform to his own will, which may contradict something he sees differently leading to some kind of qb schitzophrenia, but to say he doesnt see the field does not necessarily follow. He simply may be forced to do what his coach says, and it will take some time to uncoach him in those things.

            The guy is terribly accurate, he was running (something like) 74% accuracy until late in the season when he made adjustments. The guy is extremely accurate when given time, minus a few head scratchers..but he is young and not a pro. He is definitely worth the training time to find out what the deal is, but anyone who says he isnt accurate is just IGNORANT EXTRAORDINARY. THE FACTS ARE THE FACTS.

            The truth is that he has a trainer now, and responded very well with it, and that is proof that he can respond to different training. It could all be a pipe dream, but worst comes to worse, he is still a pretty good allround qb.. Just need to fix his head!

      • GoBirds1

        I went to four ACC schools, but as a football conference, it stinks. The criticism of E.J. is justified – under pressure whether during the play or game situation – he cracks.

    • bentheimmigrant

      Can’t he be both a 3-4 round pick AND the second QB in the draft? Are there any QBs in the draft besides Smith who would be taken in the top two rounds if it wasn’t for the annual desperation to find a signal caller?

      • CJ

        In theory? Yes. But in reality? No. Because QB is the most valuable position in sports, teams without great ones reach for the potential of having one. This is the worst QB crop I can remember, and there will still be at least 3 QBs taken in the first two rounds. Not because they’re worth it, just because that’s what desperate teams do. And that’s why the teams that are desperate for a QB this year, will be desperate for a QB next year, and so on and so forth until they’re bad enough where they pick high in a strong QB draft or happen to get lucky and get one right.

      • JofreyRice

        Good question. I think he’s definitely a benefactor of the postseason process, more than others, though. He’s got great size, and pretty good athletic ability. He’s got NFL-level arm strength, and comes from a big school. His rise up the board reminds me a little of Blaine Gabbert in 2010.

        He’s got talent, but I think he’s kind of far away from being the 2nd QB in the draft.

        • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

          And who would that be?

          • JofreyRice

            I don’t think I’m really qualified to speculate on the mechanical deficiencies in Manuel’s throwing motion, much less determine whether if they are correctable, so splitting the hair between inaccurate and inconsistent is probably not something I even care about. I care about results, and I wasn’t happy with his ball placement in a lot of cases–got very scattershot, and I thought it minimized the talents of his skill players, as they had to adjust to balls that weren’t hitting them in stride. It got even worse when he was under pressure, which is something that will be occur more often in the NFL. Manuel is a guy that can look like the #1 overall pick in the draft, depending on which highlight reel you watch. I made the comparison below, but I find the process very much like Blaine Gabbert’s postseason rise in the vacuum of viable QB’s in the 2010 draft. Like Gabbert, the longer Manuel holds the ball, the more nervous you get.

            The #2 QB is a hard call, but I guess I’d have to say Tyler Wilson. He’s no great shakes either, but I kind of view him as a Kevin Kolb +. A little better arm, and definitely better with pressure than Kolb–doesn’t run backwards as often, willing to hang in the pocket and make a throw. His intermediate stuff is pretty decent, and he seems comfortable going through progressions, based on his helmet direction, in the games I’ve watched. He’s definitely got his warts, as well, though. His deep ball flutters a lot, and I thought there were times when he didn’t trust his receivers enough.

            I really like Matt Scott, as crazy as that sounds. He is the guy that I want to see the Eagles take. Great focused demeanor, very nice arm, foot quickness, quick decision maker, good pocket movement, and is coming out of the spread zone-read. Any QB you take is going to have to fit your offense, but in a year like this, without many transcendent talents like Luck or RG3, I think it’s even more important.

            In that sense, I get what Mayock is saying in that Manuel is the #2 QB because it’s such a mediocre class. If you’re going to take a guy, do it based on the ceiling. Manuel has a higher ceiling than any of these other guys because of the physical gifts and arm strength.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            Tyler Wilson, with his physical limitations and all his underthrows, is far and away better? I have to disagree, but I admit I am not a Wilson guy.

            I don’t think you have to be a QB guru to see that Manuel’s main fault is repeating good mechanics, not his physical tools. You get to be a QB guru by figuring out how to correct them. I would also stress that his results were far more good than bad.

            I think you are setting the bar too high for a 2nd/3rd round pick. You apparently want him to have all the physical tools, intangibles, ability to hold up under pressure, advanced as a student, consistently accurate, with strong pocket presence… just to be a 2nd or 3rd rounder. That to me sounds like Andrew Luck… or at least a top 5 pick.

          • JofreyRice

            I think Wilson, for as underwhelming as he is, is better suited to come in and move an NFL offense down the field right now.

            The Manuel love has really grown in the postseason, and he’s being mentioned in the 2nd more than the third, with some people mentioning him in the 1st. I have pretty much always maintained he’s a talented guy with a high ceiling that should probably go in the 3rd-4th range.

            For what it’s worth, I think Scott is a postseason riser, as well. He’s being mentioned in the 2nd round, and I don’t know that he’s at that level–and I like him a lot.

            Really, more than a critique of Manuel himself, I was observing the phenomenon. All the rest of the ridiculousness sort of flowed out of that.

          • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

            What exactly does it matter what his perceived value used to be? A lot of that stuff is bogus guesswork that has little to do with what teams actually think, since a lot of it comes out well before teams do any of their serious work on the draft. I don’t have to point much farther than Manti Te’o being mocked concsistently in he top 10 a few months ago.

  • hillbillybirdsfan

    I like him a lot but I saw more head-scratching turnovers than I think I should have against college competition from him. Those always go up your first couple of years in the league so hopefully if we pick him he is allowed to watch and practice for awhile. Physical skills and character give you a lot to like.

    • fran35

      I guess the one positive thing is that if we draft him, we have all gotten used to head scratching turnovers for the last few years. Except that Manuel would have an excuse for the mistakes. Vick is 33 years old and still making the same dumb mistakes that a rookie makes.

  • xlGmanlx

    Well spoken, seems to have the character the igg’s got away from. If he is available in the 2nd it would be tough to pass him up.

  • nicksaenz1

    Is it just me or does it seem that Mayock bases entirely too much on the senior bowl and a couple of regular season games rather than doing due diligence and evaluating an entire body of work? I feel like people give this guy’s words far to much credence.

    • Richard Colton

      Mayock makes ridiculous non-observations like “quiet buzz” and nobody calls him out on it.

    • peteike

      look, the guy has to talk about the same guys for months on end, so ends up embellishing a lot of different angles. Its part of his job, take any of these draft experts with a grain of salt. They even admit as much

  • Token

    Man, I have a really sick feeling they are actually gonna take this kid. And worse, I feel they will take him WELL ahead of when they should. How typical of a Eagles move would it be to take EJ at #4? Man, they would show everyone just how much smarter they are. Jesus.

    Look. EJ is dumb as a brick on the field. The evidence is there. Ive seen fans of his team talking about how bad he is. The guys stock went sky high after actual games were done being played. Always worry about prospects like that. People are looking at his size and arm strength and getting giddy. But the elite in the NFL MUST be good above the shoulders. And this kid just flat out isnt.

    Im already feeling very iffy about the Kelly era after some of his staff picks and personnel moves. If they pick this kid high, or really at all, my expectations for the coming years are not going to be very high.

    Just stay away from this QB class. Next year looks much brighter. Get yourself some more picks to use as trade up ammo next year. If you want some guy really late to fiddle around with then fine. But this team should not be looking for their answer at QB early right now.

    • GoBirds1

      Tim and Sheil, someone sleeping at the wheel here? I am all about free speech and busting each others nutz, but dropping f-bombs is acceptable. I have been censored for much less!

    • Warhound

      “The guys stock went sky high after actual games were done being played” Many around here recall Mike Mamula, but a more recent, more egregious draft day sin was Akili Smith; remember him?

  • Mostel

    NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO NO. This guy has worse skills than Vince Young. NO NO NO NO NO!

  • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

    EJ Manuel:

    + Arm talent / zip
    + Body / hand size
    + Mobility
    + Ball skills
    + Release
    + Touch / accuracy
    + Toughness / durability
    + Intangibles

    ? Reading a defense / anticipation
    ? Pocket presence / pressure

    - Footwork / mechanical consistency
    - Deep accuracy

    I put a question mark on reading a defense because I think it’s an unknown (to me at least) for nearly any QB coming out of an idiosyncratic college offense. I don’t know what kind of reading Jimbo Fisher was asking him to do and what the route spacing required. I know it was good enough to compile some great numbers, but not to consistently beat good defenses. I also put a question mark next to pocket presence because it was up and down. Sometimes he showed great composure to slide away from pressure and find an outlet, sometimes he faded away from pressure and took big sacks.

    I find that repeating his mechanics and resetting his feet is the obvious, glaring flaw. I think it also effects his deep accuracy, despite plenty of arm strength.

    The positives seem to fall mostly in the “can’t teach” realm and I think the negatives can be corrected in the right environment. Those positives are great enough that I would be excited to take a chance on him trying to overcome the question marks as an Eagle.

    • Token

      Those two things you have question marks on are IMO the two most important aspects to a QB’s game. You have to be good with bodies around you in the league. From what I have seen, EJ is a run whenever he senses a bit of pressure kind of guy. Doesnt work.

      • http://twitter.com/PhiIs_Goodman Phils Goodman

        EJ is a run whenever he senses a bit of pressure kind of guy

        Really? Then I have to question what you are seeing.

        youtu.be/2v8OOY7AHRE

        Some amount of pressure comes at 1:08, 2:10, 3:06, 3:12, 3:23, 3:50, 4:08, 4:16, 4:50, 5:34, 7:15

        Manuel took off from the pocket twice (for positive yardage), ate a sack and completed almost all of the other passes after sliding away or standing in. The vast majority of Manuel’s runs are by design, and therefore no reflection on his pocket presence. The reason he got a ? is because he sometimes tends to fade away (more prevalent vs Florida), but I don’t think it is a persistent flaw.

    • Warhound

      Fix the first of the negative traits and #2 will follow.