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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