E.J. Manuel Senior Bowl: Assessing QB's Draft Stock After MVP Performance

Michael DulkaContributor IJanuary 28, 2013

MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 26:  E.J. Manuel #3 of the South squad waits for the snap against the North squad during the Senior Bowl at Ladd Peebles Stadium on January 26, 2013 in Mobile, Alabama.  The South won the game 21-16. (Photo by Stacy Revere/Getty Images)
Stacy Revere/Getty Images

E.J. Manuel impressed scouts during Senior Bowl week and walked away with the game's MVP award. While much of the week was spent focusing on certain ready-to-play guys, Manuel stole the show with his performance.

In the actual game, Manual led his South squad to 21 points as he completed seven of his 10 passes for 76 yards, a touchdown and an interception. He ran the ball four times for 10 yards and a touchdown. 

Manuel has perhaps the highest ceiling of all quarterbacks in the draft class. He's got great size at 6'4" and 227 pounds. He has a strong arm and is capable of making plays with his athleticism when the pocket collapses, either throwing or running. 

Despite his potential, Manuel is extremely inconsistent and doesn't appear ready to play right away in the NFL. His issues with inconsistency came up with his accuracy and in the general level of his play from game to game. He needs coaching in order to fix the problems he has throwing and get him completing passes consistently. 

He wasn't viewed as a guy that could start right away, but his strong performance during the week may have shown coaching staffs he's a quick enough learner. Manuel will need to respond with a strong couple of months during the draft process. 

While he generally impressed during the week, his stock could raise or drop based on his level during the next few months. Throughout his Florida State career, Manuel showed a tendency to be inconsistent. To keep his stock high, he needs to prove he can be consistent throughout the draft process. 

Manuel could also benefit from the lack of talent surrounding him in the quarterback class. There seems to be a ton of disagreements over which quarterbacks should or could be drafted where. 

Manuel entered the Senior Bowl game with his draft stock hovering near the middle rounds. Viewed as a project, his stock could vary based on the preferences of each team. Throughout the week, Manuel likely increased his draft stock toward the second or third rounds. If the draft were now, Manuel would likely be picked on the second day. 

If he does well throughout the process, Manuel's stock could climb even higher. The quarterback class this year doesn't have much talent that can come in right away anyway. Manuel could surpass some of those players if he proves he's more NFL-ready than a few months ago.