There was only one quarterback taken in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft and it wasn’t Matt Barkley or Geno Smith. Instead it was E.J. Manuel out of Florida State that got taken with the 16th selection by the Buffalo Bills who had made a trade earlier to move down from the no.8 spot.
Manuel had a strong season for the Seminoles in 2012 as he completed 68 percent of his passes, threw for 3,392 yards and 23 touchdowns to 10 interceptions. Also, will utilize his athleticism and scramble as he carried the ball 103 times for 310 yards and four touchdowns. Provides competition for the starting role as the Bills signed Kevin Kolb.
While it wasn’t surprising that a quarterback got taken by Buffalo in the first round, it was that Smith didn’t get taken. At West Virginia in 2012 he threw for 4,205 yards, completed 71.2 percent of his passes, had a long of 87, got sacked 19 times and threw 42 touchdowns to six interceptions. The Mountaineers started the season strong going 5-0 to start the season.
It was the play of Smith that got the nation buzzing and in the running for the Heisman Trophy. In those five games he threw for 399 yards per game, totaled 24 touchdowns and threw no interceptions while completing 81.3 percent of his passes. His best game came against Baylor where he threw for 656 yards, completed 88.2 percent of his passes and threw eight touchdowns.
Yet, his first five opponents of the season ranked among the worst defensive teams in the country. When the competition got tougher Smith and the losses began to mount for the Mountaineers. Lost six of eight games including their bowl game against Syracuse. During this stretch he threw 18 touchdowns, six interceptions, completed 64.6 percent of his passes and threw for 2,209 yards.
Another issue is that there’s this belief that he can run with the football. At West Virginia in 2011 he had 56 carries for -33 yards and two touchdowns and for 2012 carried the ball 66 times for 152 yards and two touchdowns. This means that Smith isn’t a quarterback that will throw from outside the pocket.
There’s no question that Smith will become a solid starter in the NFL and he will go quickly in the second round, just didn’t justify being taken in the first round.