EJ Manuel will have to face snow, rain, and swirling Lake Erie winds as quarterback of the Buffalo Bills.
The fact that he seems well-suited for the inclement weather is one of the main reasons the Bills made Manuel the first quarterback off the board in the 2013 NFL draft. New Bills coach Doug Marone said in a radio interview that Manuel performed well during a private workout in Tallahassee, Florida, that took place in a windy thunderstorm.
“Going into it as far as what we were putting down, that was one of the things as far as criteria for playing up here,” Marrone told Sirius XM. “I remember when I first got the job here in Buffalo, and I had been up here and played up here before, and I got out of the car in January and the wind — I was like, ‘Wow.’ I never realized how windy it was that time of the year.”
Many draft experts expected West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith to be the first taken, or for the Bills to stretch and take Ryan Nassib, Marone’s quarterback at Syracuse. The selection of EJ Manuel came as a surprise to many.
Not that Manuel is lacking in the tools needed to be a a franchise quarterback. He is 6-foot-4 and 237 pounds, with a strong arm and good speed to run the ball. He also had the largest hands (10 3/8 inches) and longest arms (35 inches) of any all quarterbacks to attend the NFL scouting combine.
“We started talking about the quarterbacks, and we went back and researched all the teams that played in the Northeast in the bad weather and all the success they had with quarterbacks and the common traits that they had,” Marrone told Sirius XM. “They were big and had big hands and were able to throw the ball in tough weather, and that’s what we were looking at.”
EJ Manuel will have a good chance to start in Buffalo, going into training camp with an open competition with Kevin Kolb and Tavaris Jackson.