As we discussed last week, I still think EJ will be a first round pick. I’m still standing by that claim.
The Browns, after all, are evaluating all the top quarterbacks in the draft, including Florida State University’s EJ Manuel. The 6-foot-5, 237-pound Manuel is scheduled to conduct a private workout for the Browns on April 5 in Tallahassee, Fla., a league source confirmed Thursday for the Beacon Journal. The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns have not publicized the workout.
The Browns view Brandon Weeden as their starting quarterback, and they signed Jason Campbell on Tuesday to push him. Banner, though, told WKNR (850-AM) that acquiring Campbell won’t preclude the Browns from drafting a quarterback.
“Not that this was done by me individually, but if you look at what I’ve been part of [during my tenure as president of the Philadelphia Eagles], we had Donovan McNabb and picked Kevin Kolb,” Banner said. “Whether it’s the right pick or not, I view quarterbacks as assets.
“If you happen to be lucky enough to end up with two, which is extremely rare, that can’t be a problem. You just have to figure out how to take advantage of it. So we will continue to pick quarterbacks, develop quarterbacks, with the full understanding that we’re never going to be what we want to be until we are really strong at that position.”
Manuel worked out for the Eagles on Thursday and has another workout scheduled for today with the Cincinnati Bengals, the source said. Manuel, who went 25-6 as a starter in college and threw 23 touchdowns and 10 interceptions this past season, has previously worked out for the Buffalo Bills and Jacksonville Jaguars.
NFLDraftScout.com projects Manuel as a second-round selection in the draft, which runs April 25-27. The Browns have the sixth overall pick but no second-round choice. However, it’s possible they could get back into the second round in a trade-down scenario.
Perhaps it’s more likely they’ll target a developmental quarterback in the middle rounds. Arizona quarterback Matt Scott is set to visit the Browns the second week of April. NFLDraftScout.com projects Scott as a fourth- or fifth-round pick. Like Manuel, Scott has the mobility needed to run the read-option scheme Browns coach Rob Chudzinski employed the past two seasons as offensive coordinator of the Carolina Panthers.
The Browns working out EJ Manuel is interesting–their first round selection is too high (6th overall) and they don’t have a second round pick. Nevertheless, they like what they see in EJ. I think it’s fair to say everyone does. EJ has the leadership skills and the physical skills. This strikes me as a situation similar to the Vikings. The Vikings didn’t have the 12th overall pick but they made sure they got Christian Ponder. Either way, EJ is getting worked out by teams who have legitimate #1 starters. EJ is being selected as a backup/project.
We may never know how much EJ was impacted last year by his mom’s battle with cancer. She was victorious, as was EJ, but you can’t help but wonder whether there was a little too much on EJ’s plate. Granted, he led FSU to its best season in years (12-2), but it’s hard enough to manage dealing with the pressures of playing quarterback at FSU. I’m an EJ apologist and I think NFL Scouts are, too. I think EJ is going to make it late into the first round.
Where do you think EJ will land and what team is a good fit for him?