E.J. Manuel being selected in the first round of the NFL Draft was something of a surprise when he emerged from Florida State. In unsurprising fashion, his tenure with the Buffalo Bills did not go quite according to plan, but the talented signal-caller has reportedly landed on his feet with a job backing up Derek Carr with the Oakland Raiders.
Manuel will seemingly compete with former Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook, who started a playoff game this season, for the backup job. In 11 career NFL starts, Manuel posted an unsightly 6-11 record but much of that was due to sub-optimal playing conditions and he was last seen in a starting role for Week 17 of the 2016 season in place of Tyrod Taylor.
In that game, Manuel completed only 9-of-20 passes for 86 yards in a lopsided loss to the New York Jets but there is no reason to believe that he could not serve as a capable backup (or third-string option) in Oakland with the right tutelage. The former Seminoles star will turn only 27 years old later in March and, while he is no longer a “high upside” project, Manuel has talent that could be tantalizing for the Raiders if he performs well in training camp.