Casserly claims EJ Manuel would be the No. 8 QB in this draft class


Last year, EJ Manuel was the top quarterback in the NFL draft, and the only one to go off the board in the first round, taken No. 16 overall by the Bills. This year, one former NFL general manager says Manuel would be way, way down the list.

Former Houston and Washington General Manager Charley Casserly says this year’s draft class has at least seven quarterbacks who are better prospects than Manuel: Louisville’s Teddy Bridgewater, Central Florida’s Blake Bortles, Texas A&M’s Johnny Manziel, Fresno State’s Derek Carr, Eastern Illinois’s Jimmy Garoppolo, Alabama’s A.J. McCarron and LSU’s Zach Mettenberger.

“I’ve got a lot of guys rated ahead of him based on their college career and based on Manuel’s college career,” Casserly said, via Tim Graham of the Buffalo News. “Bridgewater, Bortles, Manziel, Carr, Garoppolo and McCarron. I’ve got them all rated ahead of EJ Manuel, coming out a year ago. And you know what? LSU quarterback Mettenberger. I’ve got him ahead of Manuel, too.”

It’s fair to point out, as some of Graham’s readers did on Twitter, that Casserly didn’t have a great track record of identifying quarterback talent during his days as a general manager: Casserly took David Carr first overall in 2002 and Heath Shuler third overall in 1994. But it’s also fair to point out, as I did on Twitter, that just because a G.M. has made a couple of bad picks in the past, that doesn’t mean he lacks knowledge about the draft evaluation process.

So, while Manuel still has plenty of time to prove he has what it takes to be a great NFL quarterback, count Casserly’s opinion as one that says this year’s draft contains a much better group of quarterbacks than last year’s. And that the teams drafting quarterbacks in the early rounds this year will end up with better players than the Bills got in Manuel.

89 responses to “Casserly claims EJ Manuel would be the No. 8 QB in this draft class

  1. EJ Manuel = Blaine Gabbert 2.0, except it will take the Bills longer than 3 seasons to wise up and get rid of him.

  2. All due respect to Casserly, if he ran the redskins like this back in the day they would have been horrible. As he gets older his opinions have gotten stronger and way off base. Not even a Bills fan but Manuel is better than most of these guys this year!!!

  3. Not even a Logan Thomas mention? I know there’s some GM/coach thinks they can mold another athletically gifted QB prospect with shaky college performance into an all-star. He will go second round.

  4. Casserly’s a dope. The worst of his Texans tenure IMO was getting duped by the Raiders into giving up a 2nd and 3rd round pick (I think) for Phillip Buchanon. I mean, who gets duped by the Raiders? But Charley will go on pumping his chest trying to take credit for picking Mario Williams over Reggie Bush.

  5. DANNGGGG HE IS WRONG! Manuel might be the best QB in this class!
    This class, more or less, lacks a QB who fits the description of a typical NFL QB and excelled in college against top flight competition.
    EJ Manuel is just that. And his rookie year looked like hell at least be a solid pro.

  6. ” …just because a G.M. has made a couple of bad picks in the past, that doesn’t mean he lacks knowledge about the draft evaluation process.”
    Yep, it doesn’t mean that Casserly has a clue either. He has a poor track record of not just the QBs he actually drafted, but for the ones he passed over during his tenure. On top of that, as an analyst, since being fired from his GM job, he has missed on several other QBs. That proves he can’t be trusted to evaluate QBs.

    When he swings and misses, he really misses. Recent misses include Newton, RG3, Weeden and Russell Wilson

  7. Hahaa. Charley Casserly is always off on his pre-draft analysis and his final mock. EJ never lost a bowl game and was an NFL prospect for 2 years. More physically gifted than any quarterback in this year’s draft, by far (except for Black Bortles).

    What number would Geno Smith be? In the twenties???

  8. EJ Manuel looks like a legit NFL QB…if he can stay reasonably healthy and on the field. He has to prove here in his 2nd season that he can do that.
    I would add the underrated Brett Smith of Wyoming to that list of guys with a chance to be franchise QB’s in the NFL. As for any comparison’s to those QB’s and Manuel…I think it’s impossible for anyone to say who is or will be better right now. Only time will tell. I do think that EJ Manuel, if he were in this year’s draft, would be right up there in the mix.

  9. I agree. EJ Manuel was a terrible pick at 15. Second or third round, a decent developmental prospect like Mike Glennon.

    But to throw him in and anoint him starter was wishful thinking at best, and gross negligence at worst.

  10. And that is why Charlie Casserly is a former GM. It is one thing to try to make a bold prediction, but this just makes him sound stooped.

  11. These “experts” can only change opinions so many times so usually you’re going to hear foolishness after mock draft 93,435 the real problem is moving the draft back this is painful I’ve seen every D 1 player picked by the Raiders at 5 and it’s still a month away NFL network needs to get these guys off the tv and do something crazy like show football this is absurd

  12. Casserly is a good GM but he can’t evaluate qb’s to save his life…But to be fair, Carr was very highly regarded by most…but, his comments on Manuel are accurate…even most pft internet gm’s agree, myself included…

  13. A rookie QB, ANY rookie QB, is only as good as the players around him. This isn’t complicated. If a QB gets drafted by a good team and is named the starter, that QB will be successful. If a QB gets drafted by a lousy team and is named the starter, that QB will be unsuccessful. It’s just that simple.
    This country’s love/hate relationship with QBs is nauseating, to say the least.

  14. I have at least 6 NFL Media types better than this Casserly kid, 7 if you include Greg Cosell. This kid Casserly has been way off the mark. His approach is all wrong. His throwing motion is way off and his verbal velocity is atrocious. Based on his Pro Career versus guys like_____, this guy is the 8th best Media hype guy out there……bla blah blah!
    Need a few ratings Charlie? Desperate for a headline grab, much? Jeez, why do we even keep listening to him?

  15. Casserly may not be a great GM, but I would bet you he knows more about QB evaluation than most of the people posting comments here. Probably some truth to what he says.

    I want to believe it too, because my team needs a QB and it’s reassuring to hear that this draft isn’t devoid of QB’s like last year’s.

  16. I respect Charley’s opinion, but he doesn’t come off as wrong.

    Casserly was better off polling GMs around the league to see if that conclusion could be reached.

    That being said even after the Senior Bowl and before the Combine Mike Mayock said people see Manuel as a late 3rd Rd to 4th Rd pick.

    I was okay with a late 3rd Rd grade on him because a 4th Rd grade doesn’t imply that he would be a starter down the road.

    However, my question to Casserly would be “where does the hot talk of the town, Tom Savage, rank?”

  17. One thing that stands out to me is that unless the QB is a clear cut talent the likes of RGIII or Luck then taking them in the high first round is a huge gamble. The exception would be the Rams who are already a good team with an established QB. If I were the Rams, I would take Johnny Football if the Texans take the Clown.

    There are so many things that have to come together for a rookie QB to be successful. First and foremost he has have a very good O Line to protect him and establish a run game to take the pressure off. Secondly he has to get the lion share of the snaps in practice and more importantly, in the game. Thirdly, he has to fit the system.

    Charlie Casserly’s input is likely to be more accurate now that he does not have all the noise in head from being on the front line.

  18. If you’re a “football expert” standing in front of some sideline holding a microphone, what’s important is to say something that gets your name in print. It doesn’t have to be accurate, because most people will forget who said what within a week.

    Just keep your name out there alive, amongst the lemmings …

    There’s waaay too many of these wonks trying to make a living talking about football.

  19. He’s obviously right, Manual sucks.

    He deserves to play in Buffalo and Buffalo deserves him.

  20. Casserly is just another failed NFL general manager looking to remain relevant by making polarizing comments. While he has a right to his opinion, Manuel’s performance in essentially a half season showed he has the talent to succeed–especially if you exclude the results of his poor performance against Tampa Bay when he came back after being injured and looked rusty. Take that game out of the mix and his TD to INT ratio was actually very good and he did have two comeback wins. Comments like Casserly’s are really unsupportable and unwarranted.

  21. How else can I evaluate a GM’s opinion on quarterbacks except to look at his own ATROCIOUS record at picking them in the draft.

    Going through the “correct” process to evaluate quarterbacks is less than worthless is that process always results in picking bad quarterbacks.

    Charlie needs to change his process or to admit that he applies it incorrectly.

  22. knowing charley’s picks in the past and recent draft evaluations on the NFL Network, this makes me feel pretty confident about Manuel. GO BILLS!!!

  23. I’m not a Manuel fan, and you see the night and day difference in FSU once he moved on with essentially the same pieces in place, but Casserly is high on this one. I doubt he’ll ever be great, but he’s a solid starter in the league as long as you surround him with a good running game and great defense. I don’t know if I can say even that about several of these QBs in this draft class.

  24. EJ didn’t get enough live experience last year. And it will probably hurt the team for the first half or more going into this season. Look for a strong finish by the bills, rising just above 5th place in their division

  25. Prior to the knee injury EJ was looking pretty darn sharp.

    I really don’t know what Casserly is thinking. He’s already shown a small body of work that he’s definitely capable of playing in the NFL.

    The only QB out of this bunch that I see being NFL ready is Johnny Football.

  26. I respect Casserlys opinion, but Manuel is much better than people give credit for. Like any QB, he has all the physical tools you could ask for. However, hes also a student. Hes smart and picks up defenses quickly. Manuels issue stems from WR anticipation. Unlike great QBs, he waits for the WR to get open before throwing instead of instinctively knowing who will break open and when. However, this is the kind of issue that is easily fixable with a good Qbs coach and time with the WRs. Something he didnt have last year

    EJ isnt going to break out into a Matt Ryan or Tom Brady level QB, but hes going to be a starter for a long time

  27. Exhibit A Whaley’s Draft last year was a work of Art. Exhibit B an out of work GM and NFL insider if the guy was any good at this Job he would not of been displaced twice. He is basing this on their college careers EJ took is one of two QB’s to win 4 bowl games, Senior Bowl MVP, kid is a winner

  28. Their choice was Shuler, but they said they would have been willing to take Dilfer if Shuler had already been selected.

    “I think you’re talking about two outstanding players. I think his overall athletic ability pushed Heath slightly over the top,” said coach Norv Turner.

    General manager Charley Casserly said: “I think coming into today, our No. 1 objective was to get Heath Shuler.”

    Thanks, Charley, but I’ll just watch the games.

  29. Yea right, the Bills problem was that they were terrible on the road last year. When Manuel played at home he had a 91.8 Rating, on the road he had a 64.4. The Bills o-line gave up just 10 sacks in 8 games at home. They gave up 38 SACKS in 8 games on the road.

  30. I gave casserly props for drafting Mario over Bush, took some guts. But he is WAY off base with this. Manuel had a couple of very good games last year, and with some o-line help and a field stretching TE, he’ll be even better.

    Casserly is a tool.

  31. This was just a pathetic thing to say to make a headline. Even if he felt that way, why is their a need to blast a guy that has only been in the league a year and couldn’t even play the entire season and hasn’t been any trouble. He could have said he felt that this year’s class is stronger than last years.

  32. Casserly is no longer a GM, he is a sports analyst in the entertainment business. Creating some controversy is what they all try to do. I could care less about his opinion.

  33. Pretty ignorant thing to say when this guy is as physically talented as any QB in this draft, has a great personality and work ethic and showed some promise last year. Not saying he’s going to be a star or long term starter but the reality is no one knows for sure, and to say a guy with some pretty good starts under his belt and a game winning drive against a playoff team would be the 8th best QB in this draft is unnecessary and foolish.

  34. That seems like an unnecessary shot at Manuel, but it’s likely true. Keep in mind, the no. 8 QB doesn’t mean 7 guys will be better NFL QBs; just that, in the eyes of draft analysts, 7 guys would be graded higher– not really that much of an insult when you consider the depth of this QB class.

    The interesting thing is that while this is probably the deepest quarterback class ever, it’s inarguably the most questionable quarterback class ever. Manziel, Bortles, McCarron, Garrapolo, Fales, Carr; every single one of is a giant boom-or-bust prospect– even “can’t miss” guys like Bridgewater have done nothing but hurt their stock since the season ended.

    The upside for the NFL is that the Texans, Jags, Raiders, and Browns will most likely have franchise prospects going into next season, it’ll be great to watch a league where all 32 teams have capable passers.

  35. Everyone commenting on Casserly’s qualifications needs to familiarize themselves with the idea of value/opportunity/need with respect to drafts. Yes players are rated below and above what their careers become as evidenced by Tom Brady/Ryan Leaf. In a given year teams make and trust their boards and draft who is available to them when they choose based on the above three criteria. Al Davis and Jerry Jones didn’t screw up drafts all by themselves, and Ted Thompson and Ozzie Newsome didn’t draft well alone.

  36. Bills fans are obviously going to get defensive about this but its accurate. On paper he would have been at the end of this years draft. Who cares? this is a scouting report. Everyone knew last years QB class was the weakest in years and that this years is going to be one of the deeper in years.

    EJ hasnt proven this guy wrong yet, lets hope he does, but he sure has a whole lot to prove still that he’s a number 1.

  37. This revisionist history is complete garbage. Of course the unknown is better than the mediocre known. I’m sure Ryan Leaf was a better prospect in 1998 than Heath Schuler in 1994 as well. David Carr was a better prospect than Tim Couch.. etc, etc.

  38. It’s not just that Casserly’s opinion of QBs doesn’t matter, it’s that very few people’s assessment of QBs coming out of the draft is actually worth a damn.

    Look at how bad teams have done at assessing first round QBs since 2001. Bottom line, very few people have actually done well at judiging QB talent, Casserly included.

    #16. EJ Manuel (FSU)- Jury still out

    #1: Andrew Luck (Stanford)- Hit
    #2: Robert Griffin III (Baylor)- Hit
    #8: Ryan Tannehill (Texas A&M)- Jury still out
    #22: Brandon Weeden (Oklahoma State)- Miss

    #1: Cam Newton (Auburn)- Hit
    #8: Jake Locker (Washington)- Miss
    #10: Blaine Gabbert (Missouri)- Miss
    #12: Christian Ponder (Florida State)- Miss

    #1: Sam Bradford (Oklahoma)- Miss
    #25: Tim Tebow (Florida)- Miss

    #1: Matthew Stafford (Georgia)- Hit
    #5: Mark Sanchez (USC)- Miss
    #17: Josh Freeman (Kansas State)- Miss

    #3: Matt Ryan (Boston College)- Hit
    #18: Joe Flacco (Delaware)- Hit

    #1: JaMarcus Russell (LSU)- Miss
    #22: Brady Quinn (Notre Dame)- Miss

    #3: Vince Young (Texas)- Miss
    #10: Matt Leinart (USC)- Miss
    #11: Jay Cutler (Vanderbilt)- Hit

    #1: Alex Smith (Utah)- Hit
    #24: Aaron Rodgers (California)- Hit
    #25: Jason Campbell (Auburn)- Miss

    #1: Eli Manning (Ole Miss)- Hit
    #4: Philip Rivers (NC State)- Hit
    #11: Ben Roethlisberger (Miami (OH))- Hit
    #22: J.P. Losman (Tulane)- Miss

    #1: Carson Palmer (USC)- Hit
    #7: Byron Leftwich (Marshall)- Miss
    #19: Kyle Boller (California)- Miss
    #22: Rex Grossman (Florida)- Miss

    #1: David Carr (Fresno State)- Miss
    #3: Joey Harrington (Oregon)- Miss
    #32: Patrick Ramsey (Tulane)- Miss

    #1: Michael Vick (Virginia Tech)- Hit

  39. Casserly’s ineptitude ranges far and wide apart from his draft day decisions. Its the fundamentals of evaluating existing players and their value where he fails miserably. Nothing was more obvious then the Tony Boselli pick and the Philip Buchanon trade. Intelligent GMs know that a team is going to cut a player, and dont throw additional picks at the player (Buchanon). Intelligent GMs also take into account a player’s injury history, Boselli had a history of shoulder issues and surgeries and for an LT at that point in his career it was obvious there was a high risk. Oh, then there is the pathetic signing of Ahman Greene after his knee injury. Defending Casserly, after his body of FA work with the Texans, is impossible.

  40. Based on that statement that would mean there will be 7 worthy starters coming from this draft, even an outrageous fan wouldn’t make such a ridiculous statement. No wonder he is out of football.

  41. This is what everybody fails to realize about QB’s, there are things you can change, there are things you can’t. EJ has protypical size, arm strength and above average athleticism. He makes good reads, and has great composure. He needs to work on footwork and throwing mechanics. You can fix footwork, mechanics, and you can teach them to read defenses. You can’t make them grow taller, you can’t increase their arm strength, and you can’t make them run faster. Don’t take this the wrong way Seattle, but Wilson makes up for his size, and slightly average arm with his mobility and how he picks apart a defense. Anybody who compares Manziel to Wilson is an absolute fool, why, because he’s short? What I’m getting at is if EJ is willing to put the work in, he can elevate himself to that upper level, where some guys are just stuck because of what they already have. Bortles is probably the closest thing to a “NFL” QB in the draft, but his level of competition he faced scares me just a little bit. I think one of the 3 SEC guys will find more long term success, and not the transplant SEC’er in Manziel.

  42. How many of them won 4 bowl games?

    And Casserly wonders why he is a “former” GM now. Guy never built anything good.

    Worst “expert” there is out there.

  43. EJ wouldn’t have been there in the 2nd.

    It’s widely known the Eagles and many other teams had their eye on him in the 20’s.

  44. I think EJ was pretty much on his way to rookie the year during the first 4-5 games in the season..Then he got hurt, I’m not sure you could say he’d be 8th qb taken because we already know he’s a decent young qb….You don’t know that yet with these other guys.

    I think this draft will be overrated. Watkins, IMO, will be one of the maybe 4 standouts from the first round. The other Kahil Mack, Justin Gilbert, and maybe Jason Verrett

  45. 1. It doesn’t matter what EJ Manuel did in college anymore – if he improves year over year he’s going to be a good one.

    2. I’ve always kind of respected Casserly’s commentary, but it’s important to remember that former players/execs have a lot to say – but have to be responsible for none of it – they just have to talk and feel good about themselves, they don’t have to do anything. We’re all silly for spending so much time listening to them.

  46. Actually Charley Casserly wasn’t that good of a GM with the Skins, The 1991 Skins team was really built by Bobby Beathard, He is also kind of the reason the Skins have been bad for 20 years he had horrible drafts in the 90’s.

  47. Charley Casserly drafted 3 QB David Carr Gus Ferrote and Heath Shuler. He does seem good finding defensive players Mario Williams and WR Andre Johnson.

  48. This is the downside of 24 hour news. They have to fill time and people say dumb things for attention. As a Bills fan am I 100% sold on EJ? No, but he did have some moments where we can get really excited. Especially late in games. What Charlie left out is the guy missed a ton of time in training camp and the regular season. There were a few weeks when he didn’t practice at all and still played. Let’s wait until after the 2014 season to really see what we have.

  49. Here’s a complete list of QBs Casserly drafted as a GM:

    1990: Gary Conklin- 4th Round, Washington

    1992: Chris Hakel- 4th Round, William&Mary

    1994: Heath Shuler- 3rd Overall, Tennessee

    1994: Gus Frerotte, 7th Round, Tulsa

    2002: David Carr- 1st Overall, Fresno State

    2003: Dave Ragone- 3rd Round, Louisville

    2003: Drew Henson- 6th Round, Michigan

    2004: B.J. Symons- 7th Round, Texas Tech

    I personally take Mr. Casserly’s opinion on E.J.Manuel with a grain of salt!

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