The NFL Combine is the place where aspiring NFL players have their draft stock rise with exceptional performances or their stock crash like it’s 1929. Fortunately for EJ Manuel from Florida State, it was the former.
Prior to the Combine, Manuel was expected to go somewhere in the middle rounds of April’s NFL draft, but now it seems like his solid performance this past weekend has catapulted him into the second round.
The question is: should the Jaguars draft him with the 33rd overall pick in the draft?
Second round quarterbacks have been doing pretty well as of late in the NFL, with Andy Dalton and Colin Kaepernick taken with the 36th and 37th picks, respectively, in the second round of 2011. Dalton has taken the Bengals to the playoffs twice, and Kaepernick lead the 49ers to the Superbowl this past season.
Now, EJ Manuel is not Dalton or Kaepernick, yet there is nothing saying that he could not eventually become a quality starting quarterback in the NFL, and if I may be so bold as to say possibly a franchise QB.
In the 2012 college season, Manuel threw for 3392 yards, 23 TDs, and only 10 INTs. In addition, Manuel rushed for 310 yards and four TDs. In total, Manuel recorded 7736 yards, 47 TDs, and 28 INTs in his college career through the air.
In comparison, Colin Kaepernick threw for 3022 yards, 21 TDs and 8 INTS, while rushing for 1206 yards and 20 TDs in final season at Nevada. Now, obviously Kaepernick had better numbers on the ground, but Manuel and Kaepernick had almost identical passing stats.
With a lot of holes to fill and some top flight defensive players likely to still be on the board come the Second Round, it would be hard to say Manuel is a must draft player for the Jaguars.