Originally written January 22, 2013 on The Broad Street Journal:
Chip Kelly has been in Mobile, Alabama for the Senior Bowl only a few days and he’s already flirting with the idea of bringing in a new quarterback.High on Kelly’s wish list is Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel, who Kelly recruited heavily while at Oregon, narrowly losing him to Florida State (Manuel wanted to stay closer to home). The two met and discussed some things, and Manuel said the meeting was awesome.Some may say I’m reading too far into this, and maybe I am. But, then again, maybe I’m not. The Eagles QB situation isn’t exactly stable, and there are some good reasons why Kelly should take a long gander in EJ Manuel’s direction.Manuel, a 6’5″ 237lb specimen, has a big time arm, and maybe more importantly for Chip Kelly, he already knows the style of offense Kelly runs, as the Seminoles ran a ton of read-option plays during his time there.As much as I like Nick Foles and think he can be developed, he did nothing that really blew you away, or got you overly excited, and the reality is, in today’s NFL, you need to have a game changer at the QB position, especially with it’s offense-first rulebook, and with more and more college style schemes being adopted each year.EJ Manuel walks in the door with game breaking ability, with both his legs, and his arm, and let me tell you something else folks, the read-option is here to stay. This is not the wild cat. It’s a bonafide system that works. Just ask the Seahawks, Redskins, and 49ers, all who made the playoff running this type of offense.Of course, it really only works if you have a stud at QB, and each of those teams has just that.You know who EJ Manuel kind of reminds me of? Yes, it pains me to say, Donovan McNabb.Manuel is a much more polished passer in my opinion than McNabb was earlier in is career, and like McNabb has the speed to blow be defenders when he needs to (although he historically didn’t run that much at Florida State)What’s more, Manuel is considered to be a “high character” guy, and was one of the team captains and leaders for Florida State.The Eagles of course enter the 2013 draft with the 4th overall pick, as well as two 2nd round picks, so it’s not out of the question that they draft Manuel (or another QB for that matter)The fact that Chip Kelly already has a rapport with EJ Manuel means that if he’s still available when it’s their turn, the Eagles will have a decision to make.Here’s some highlight footage to check out.
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