The Bills have every intention of being at each and every college pro day where a noteworthy quarterback prospect is participating in this pre-draft season and Tuesday was no different. Even though Bills GM Buddy Nix was still attending the league owners meetings in Phoenix, Buffalo’s college scouting department was represented in Tallahassee at Florida State’s pro day. Though there are a few first round talents, the main attraction in Doak Campbell Stadium was quarterback E.J. Manuel.
Manuel threw mainly to teammates WR Rodney Smith and RBs Lonnie Pryor and Chris Thompson. Former tight end Beau Reliford was also a passing target during the quarterback’s throwing session. His accuracy was excellent on most of his throws including on the move during rollouts.
“I had my mind set on just going out there and doing my script and throwing the ball to Rodney, Beau, Chris Thompson and Lonnie,” Manuel told Seminoles.com. “I think I only missed twice so it was a good day.”
Manuel has had one of the better pre-draft seasons in the entire 2013 NFL draft class. After being named MVP at the Senior Bowl, Manuel posted great workout numbers at the NFL Combine with the best vertical leap (34”) among QBs and the second-fastest 40 time (4.65) to only West Virginia’s Geno Smith (4.59).
That was followed by a nearly one hour throwing session at his pro day, which also happened to fall on his 23rd birthday.
“I think I had an opportunity to go out and compete,” Manuel said. “It started at the Senior Bowl and besides the actual on the field, physical things I think the biggest thing I did was interview well with the teams and I think that’s where a lot of coaches got a sense of my personality, my football I.Q. and what I learned from Coach Fisher and Coach Craig at FSU.”
Bills GM Buddy Nix has stated publicly that they intend to see all the top quarterback prospects in the time leading up to the 2013 NFL draft and Manuel is no exception. Reports indicate that the club will hold a private meeting with Manuel within the next seven days.
Manuel, who measured 6’4 ½” and 238 pounds Tuesday, is one of four Seminoles to be invited to New York City for the NFL draft on April 26th. Cornerback Xavier Rhodes, DE Bjoern Werner and OL Menelik Watson also earned invites.
“We have four guys that are actually going to be in New York for the draft,” Manuel said. “That hasn’t been done at FSU in a while. Being around top notch talent at the Senior Bowl I felt like I was playing against a great defense and I had a great defense here at Florida State so the fact of moving from FSU to the Senior Bowl and all the other things it was easy, so it’s been great.”
As for the NFL club that chooses to select Manuel on draft weekend, the Florida State signal caller was quick to explain just what they’ll be getting in him.
“They’re going to get a winner,” said Manuel. “A guy that works extremely hard, doesn’t do a lot of talking as far as saying what I’ll do here or what I’ll do there. I’m going to put the work in so when I have the opportunity for some success I can take advantage of it.”
Seminoles.com contributed to this story.