The Oakland Raiders have officially added quarterback EJ Manuel to the ranks, and the veteran signal-caller will suit up in the Silver and Black next season. Manuel comes to the team after spending the past four seasons with the Buffalo Bills, and expressed his excitement to work with quarterback
Here’s five things you should know about Manuel.
He’s a former first round pick.
2012 and 2013 were good years for the Virginia-native, as Manuel led Florida State to its first BCS bowl victory in over a decade against Northern Illinois in 2012. Then in 2013, he went on to be selected by the Buffalo Bills with the 16th overall pick of the NFL Draft. In his rookie season, Manuel started 10 games before he suffered an injury. He posted a stat line of 11 passing touchdowns, 1,972 yards, nine interceptions, and two rushing touchdowns.
Manuel owns the third-most wins in Florida State history.
Prior to being drafted in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft, Manuel pieced together a quality career at Florida State. After playing behind quarterback Christian Ponder for a few seasons, Manuel eventually took over the reins, and guided the Seminoles to four consecutive bowl victories. He tallied 25 career wins as the team’s signal-caller, which is good for third-most in school history. In his final year on the team, Manuel eclipsed the 3,000 yard passing-mark with a total 3,392, which is second-most in team history.
He was named to the ACC All-Academic football team twice.
While attending Florida State, the school’s star quarterback made a pair of appearances on the ACC All-Academic football team twice. Manuel completed four years of schooling as a Seminole, and is a true testament of brains and brawn.
Offensive coordinator Todd Downing and Manuel are familiar with one another.
Raiders offensive coordinator Todd Downing hasn’t been in his current position for too long, but it hasn’t kept him from reaching out and attracting talent he’s acquainted with. Prior to joining the Silver and Black’s coaching staff in 2015, Downing served as the Buffalo Bills’ quarterbacks coach in 2014 where he got to know Manuel a bit more, after he met and oversaw the signal-caller at the Senior Bowl.
While chatting with Raiders.com, Manuel opened up about why he decided to join the Raiders.
“Coach Downing, being the offensive coordinator was pretty huge for me, having that relationship with him, having that communication, because even when he wasn’t my coach, after he left and came here, we still were in contact,” said Manuel. He would call me, text me, just to check up on me, see how I was doing. That was a big deal for me.”
Manuel’s father is close with Hall of Famer Bruce Smith.
EJ’s father, Eric, goes way back with defensive end Bruce Smith who just so happens to be a Hall of Famer. The two grew up together in Norfolk, Va., as pals and played little league sports with one another. Smith has a son of his own who played football at Virginia Tech and shared a close bond with EJ.