Jets prepare to face QB they passed over twice in E.J. Manuel

E.J. Manuel has quickly won over fans in Buffalo. Credit: Getty Images
E.J. Manuel has quickly won over fans in Buffalo.
Credit: Getty Images

Jets quarterback Geno Smith was the consensus top quarterback in the NFL Draft five months ago, a popular pick to be among the Top-20 selections. The second-best quarterback in the draft was supposed to be E.J. Manuel, slotted in as a likely second-round pick.

The roles were seemingly reversed on draft night when Manuel was shockingly taken in the first round by the Bills, 23 picks ahead of Smith, who fell to the Jets in the second round. The Jets passed over Smith with both the No. 9 and the No. 13 picks in the draft.

Sunday afternoon represents an opportunity to show why the Bills were willing to defy conventional wisdom and take Manuel not just in the first round but above Smith. His transition to the NFL has been relatively smooth to date.

“The biggest thing is understanding your reads, understanding really your progression more so than your reads,” Manuel said on Wednesday. “Stick to that, stick to the coaching. I think that’s where a lot of the accuracy and having your body in line to throw the ball accurately, that really comes into play.”

Although Smith might possess the bigger upside, it is Manuel who has impressed thus far in a limited sample size.

Manuel has rarely looked flustered under pressure, a stark contract to Smith, who had three interceptions in the fourth quarter in a 13-10 loss at the Patriots last Thursday. Meanwhile, Manuel orchestrated a nine-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 2-yard touchdown pass to Stevie Johnson to give the Bills a 24-23 win over the Panthers.

He called that win “more so a development thing for the team and the coaches” than any personal statement.

“It was very big not just for me but also for our whole team. The biggest thing is we wanted to win the game so obviously development is going to happen with each and every other rep,” Manuel said. “The ultimate thing was that we could take away from it was that we didn’t back down when it looked like we couldn’t win.”

Not one major media outlet had Manuel being selected before Smith in their mock drafts. Now, he’s justifying that selection. The Jets were actually highly interested in Manuel and even brought him in for an interview before the draft.

“We definitely did our diligence on him. He was an outstanding young man, very impressive. No doubt, very impressive,” Jets head coach Rex Ryan said. “You notice the physical [size]. When he walks through the door, he fills up that doorway. He was really a tremendous person. You can see why Buffalo [is] excited about [him]. He’s certainly a guy we were looking at.”

Through his first two games for the 1-1 Bills, Manuel is 45-of-66 for 446 yards with three touchdowns and an interception. The Bills have certainly helped him out, giving Manuel time to make decisions behind an offensive line that has allowed just one sack.

Manuel and Smith have known each other since high school. They still stay in touch, as Smith texted Manuel to congratulate him after his first preseason performance and Manuel returned the favor to wish the Jets quarterback well after an ankle injury in the first preseason game.

“I know Geno pretty well. I met him when we were in high school at one of the camps,” Manuel said. “He was in Florida playing and I was in Virginia during high school but we kept up during college. We text every now and then.”

Follow Jets beat writer Kristian Dyer on Twitter @KristianRDyer.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Woman dies when run over by bus at…

A woman at the Burning Man arts and culture festival in the Nevada desert died on Thursday when she was run over by a bus carrying participants.

National

Texas parents sue day care center for duct…

By Marice RichterDALLAS (Reuters) - A Texas couple has filed a lawsuit against the owners of a Fort Worth-area day care center seeking $1 million…

National

Santa Fe city council votes to decriminalize marijuana

By Joseph KolbALBUQUERQUE N.M. (Reuters) - Santa Fe on Wednesday became the latest U.S. city to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana, with lawmakers in the…

International

Egypt queries Mursi over documents "leaked" to Al…

CAIRO (Reuters) - Egypt is investigating jailed ex-president Mohamed Mursi in connection with documents that judicial investigators say were leaked to the Qatar-based Al Jazeera…

Going Out

'Friends' coffeehouse Central Perk coming to NYC —…

"Friends" is coming back for a one-off special: "The One with the Free Coffee." Warner Bros. is bringing a pop-up replica of Central Perk, the…

Movies

Interview: 'As Above, So Below' directors: 5 ways…

The fraternal directors of the found footage horror "As Above, So Below" dish on the best ways to frighten the bejesus out of audiences.

Movies

Criterion's new Jacques Demy box mixes the light…

Jacques Demy, the most effervescent of French New Wave filmmakers, gets a Criterion box all to himself, with classics like "The Umbrellas of Cherbourg."

Entertainment

Comedian Joan Rivers, 81, rushed to New York…

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Acerbic comedian and fashion critic Joan Rivers was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in New York on Thursday after she reportedly…

NFL

3 things we learned in the Giants preseason…

The final score didn’t matter — a 16-13 win by the Giants — but it would’ve been nice to finally see Big Blue’s new-look offense get on track.

NFL

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots, 49ers start…

NFL Power Rankings: Seahawks, Broncos, Patriots start at top

U.S. Soccer

5 facts about new England captain Wayne Rooney

Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney was named as the new England captain by coach Roy Hodgson on Thursday.

NFL

Jets vs. Eagles: 3 things to watch

A win on Thursday night at the Eagles would give the Jets a 3-1 record and just their second winning preseason under head coach Rex Ryan.

Style

Trend: White hot on the 2014 Emmy's red…

White was one of the big trends on the Emmy's red carpet.

Food

Recipe: Samuel Adams beer-marinated grilled shrimp

Summer calls for two things: a cold beer and light food. Sam Adams' Latitude 48 IPA fairly bursts with citrus notes, making it an ideal marinade…

Wellbeing

4 healthy ingredient swaps to make your meals…

When it comes to eating well, everyone knows they could be doing better. But cooking in an apartment on a busy schedule is a recipe…

Wellbeing

Heart trumps brain when it comes to movies…

When you need a good cry, do you reach for the movie that’s “based on a true story”? Science says you’re giving your brain far…