Draft Buzz: EJ Manuel On the Rise?

If the Eagles don’t use their first-round pick on EJ Manuel, they are not going to land him. That’s the feeling of one league source close to the situation, who says a couple teams are showing significant interest in the Florida State signal-caller.

“I think the media is pretty far off as far as where they have EJ right now,” the source said.

Many analysts believe Manuel will be taken in the second round. There are no shortage of mocks that predict he will be the Eagles’ selection at 35. But this is a quarterback class (and therefor, a draft) that has been very hard to pin down. There is no consensus on how these QBs will come off the board, or when.

Two teams believed to have eyes for Manuel are the Bills and Jets. The Bills hold the eighth overall selection, while the Jets pick at both nine and 13. Cleveland, which holds the No. 6 pick, worked out Manuel on Saturday.

Both Buffalo and New York will almost certainly be hunting for a quarterback. But who, and when? Many are making the Bills-Ryan Nassib connection given that former Syracuse coach Doug Marrone is now the head man for Buffalo. The latest report suggests that the Bills are concerned that the Jets may be in pursuit of Nassib, which could force them to pull the trigger at eight. Geno Smith could still be in play at this point as well.

There are plenty of variables, and a lot of misdirection going on right now. But don’t rule out Manuel’s name being called Thursday night.

I spoke to a league insider today with ties to a projected top-10 pick. He said the uncertainty surrounding the top of the draft is unprecedented.

“I cant believe it’s the day before and I have no idea where he’s going,” he said. “It’s shocking to me.”

One name that seems to have crept into the top-five conversation is BYU defensive end Ziggy Ansah. From NFL.com:

Ansah has received much more top-five attention in the last few days, NFL.com’s Albert Breer reported. The Lions, with the No. 5 pick in the NFL draft, could be the landing zone if tackles Luke Joeckel and Eric Fisher are picked beforehand. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn is in the Ansah camp, according to Breer.

Breer noted there are teams interested in moving up and could make a deal with the Eagles at No. 4 to jump in front of the Lions.

The Eagles wouldn’t deny Washburn his man, would they?

The Baltimore Sun writes that the Ravens are considering moving up from the No. 32 spot to land tackle Lane Johnson. That’s a far climb, with Johnson potentially going in the  top five, but they are armed with 12 picks.

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  • JofreyRice

    As cray as it seems, I could actually envision a scenario where the Jags take Geno, the Bills grab Nassib & the Jets get E.J. Manuel to go along with one of the passrushers. QBs always go way higher than projected; look at Manuel’s predecessor at FSU.

    • FMWarner

      I tend to agree. No matter how often we all hear that QB value is distorted relative to where they are picked, it seems everyone is always surprised at how high these guys go.

    • Richard Colton

      three in the top 13? could absolutely happen. Could see 4 in round one if Arizona likes Barkley.

      • GEagle

        Yeah…the desperation, and o revaluing of bad QBs by dumb franchises will never surprise me

  • Average__Joseph

    There are only 3 players in this draft that have a unique skillset: Dion Jordan, Ziggy Ansah and Tavon Austin. I feel any of those 3, due to their speed, can change a game. There are plenty of tackles, safeties, and corners that can be had in later rounds. These 3 are truly freaks. My order of preference is: Ansah, Austin, Jordan. I wouldn’t be surprised if this is the order of preference for the Eagles.

    Chip Kelly talks about versatility (hybrid) in his players; both Ansah and Jordan can play upright or with their hand down. Austin can play all over the backfield/receiver spots.

    Just An Average Joseph

    • Fink

      I agree. My order would be Dion, Ziggy, then Tavon, but they seem like guys that Chip would covet. I’d love Dion at 4, or either Ziggy or Tavon with a trade back a few picks.

  • http://twitter.com/ScottJ610 Scott J

    These QB stiffs are worth wasting a pick on.

  • Richard Colton

    The crop of QBs in the draft may not be great, but it’s still the win now NFL, and they’re still QBs. If there was an over/under for 1st round QBs, I’d set the line at 3. I can easily see someone trying to trade ahead of Buffalo and taking Geno top 7. Buffalo grabs its guy Nassib at 8. Then are we really going to go 20+ picks without another QB?

    And for the record, I like EJ Manuel, but not enough to spend 2nd and 4th round picks on him.

    • cliff henny

      dont forget Barkley. someone will fall in love and justify last year’s tape as an anomoly, sighting top5 ranking in ’12. my only hope/thought rational that we’re not interested in qb is why would we have not taken reid’s offer for foles, assuming rumor of offer are true. by signing vick/holding onto foles in Jan the FO made early decision QB was ’14 issue.

      • Rex

        Show me the report of an offer for foles

        • cliff henny

          why i said rumors…nice piece of reading.

  • http://twitter.com/feelmysixpack Brent Stevenson

    sorry ej, i know you’d love more than anything to be an eagle but i’m not dropping a first on you

  • eaglepete

    Not buying it, I think Geno doesnt get picked in top 10 so he falls far, into 20s. That then pushes the others back. I have a feeling this is finally a year where GMs decide not to reach, esp at QB. The opposite is always the more likely scenario but my gut tells me the way this draft was assessed from the beginning was that it was fairly weak. I see that thinking holding steady. I think Geno has accuracy that EJ lacks, thats important at this level but so is being a gamer which I dont think Geno is but who knows. Dont want either.

    • Richard Colton

      we’ll find out tomorrow. I agree with you based on talent, but disagree based on draft tendencies at the position.

    • Fink

      I think that’d be wise for GM’s to do, but my gut says it won’t happen. All it takes is one to get drafted for a QB run to happen.

      • NWBill

        And how do all you guys feel about things now? Were you shocked that the Bills took Manuel? How about Barkley? What’s your take on things, post-draft … and what you’ve heard in the early camps?

    • Mac

      I remember Colt McCoy waiting, and waiting, and waiting to get drafted. I honestly think the Browns made the right move when they got him and where they got him in the draft that year. Having said that… I dont think we’ll see a big wait on 1st round QBs even if they have 2nd/3rd round talent.

  • GEagle

    Sharrif Floyd will be on 97.5 at 5pm

  • Mac

    I’m good with EJ going in the 1st round because it pushes more talent down to us at 35.

    • GEagle

      true that. if 4 QBs get drafted in round 1(now I’m not saying that it will happen), but it pushes 4 better players down to 35. As fans, the goal is for teams that pick between our picks to draft as many players that we won’t consider as possible

  • Rick H

    Manuel is not a 1st round draft pick! Let the other teams have him. If the Eagles get a defensive line or offensive line stud with pick number 4 and decide to move back up in the first round to get Manuel i could see that but no way is this QB or any QB in this draft worth a 1st round pick in reality.

  • Token

    Good teams love to let the moronic teams make mistakes like this in the 1st round so real talent falls to them. I hope we arent the morons who take this kid in the 1st.

    Im fearful of what may happen with EJ and Smith off the board in the 1st. That may send Howie into full on panic mode. Does he feel he must get a QB out of this draft? Dont be shocked when he picks Matt Scott in the 2nd.

    Now im worried Howie may package our 2nd and our 1st next year to trade back up for this bum in the 1st round. Man that would be a disaster.

  • GEagle

    Today EJ said: The Eagles want me bad

    • nicksaenz1

      makes me not him on the squad even more

  • dislikedisqus

    If they draft a qb in the first round, just shoot me.

  • southy

    14 years without a high draft pick, and now we get to pick at 4 in a draft with an “unprecedented” lack of obvious talent at the top. fantastic.