NFL Draft: Nassib and Manuel could both go in the first round
According to Peter King of Sports Illustrated, two quarterbacks on the rise this year appear to be Syrcuse's Ryan Nassib and Florida State's EJ Manuel. "When I talk to teams... I keep hearing both Nassib and Manuel as late-first round prospects," King said.
King singled out Nassib as the more likely first-round pick. Nassib - who went 3-0 against top quarterback Geno Smith during his time at Syracuse - is widely considered to be the better prospect than Manuel. Some highly regarded film analysts have even graded him as their top quarterback in the draft. King spoke to a personnel man who had this to say: "No way if you want Nassib you think there's a realistic chance gets past 41." The 41st pick in the draft belongs to the Buffalo Bills, whose new head coach - Doug Marrone - coached Nassib for four years at Syracuse. There are polarizing opinions on Nassib, but all it takes is one team to fall in love with him, and he could be off the board in the first round.
Personally, I'm a big fan of what EJ Manuel brings to the table. He has an extremely fluid playing style and often makes difficult throws with an effortless motion. He also has great size for a quarterback at 6'5'', 237 pounds - very similar to Cam Newton. The reason I believe he is on the rise, however, is because of how his skill set fits perfectly into the new NFL quarterback prototype. Manuel doesn't just zip passes to receivers with precision, he extend plays with his strength and quickness, and is always a threat to gash a defense on the ground. In his worst passing game of the 2012 season, Manuel turned to his legs to get the job done against Florida, rushing for 54 yards and two touchdowns (though Florida State did end up losing). He also had a 102-yard rushing game against Clemson. Manuel's impressive tape combined with a unique skill set that is popular among general managers could see him drafted earlier than a lot of us had expected.
You can read all the mock drafts you want, but some things are simply unpredictable, and this Nassib/Manuel situation (particularly Manuel) appears to be one of them. Some say Manuel could be a first-round pick, but he doesn't even appear in Mel Kiper's two-round mock draft. For what it's worth, Kiper has Nassib going to the Bills at 41, but Nassib may not make it past teams like the Jaguars, Eagles, and Cardinals early in the second round. If Nassib or Manuel do go in the first round, I'd expect it would be to a team trading up from an early-second round position.