E.J. Manuel is seen by many as the perfect fit to run Chip Kelly's up-tempo offense.
The Florida State quarterback has the speed and agility of Mike Vick, combined with the size (6-foot-5, 237 lbs) and arm of the 49ers' Colin Kaepernick. He worked out of the shotgun mostly in college, something that Kelly employed at Oregon. More importantly, Manuel has been lauded for being an "intelligent, high character team leader."
If you Google Manuel's name, you might think he was a surefire first-round draft pick. However, most mock drafts having him going in the second round, with a multitude of teams waiting anxiously, perhaps impatiently, to gobble him up and claim the steal of the 2013 NFL Draft.
The Eagles are one of those teams. In fact, Manuel is being mentored by former Birds quarterback Donovan McNabb, who had dinner with him Tuesday night in New York City. When asked about the Eagles' interest in him, Manuel boasted, "They want me pretty bad," to Comcast SportsNet.
The theory is if Manuel gets past the Jets (picks No. 9, 13) and Bills (pick No. 8), then he'll be there in the second round. The Eagles own the third pick in that round (35th overall).
"But I think it's just a matter of who takes me first, because I know the Eagles may want me, the Cleveland Browns may want me, the Buffalo Bills and the Jets," Manuel told CSNPhilly.com. "I think those are all sequential picks, you know what I mean, within those top 13 picks or whatever. I'm just hoping one team loves me, because really, that's all you need, one team to fall in love with you."