For the Jon Gruden QB Camp series, we wanted Insiders to see a little more. So we dispatched ESPN.com NFC South blogger Pat Yasinskas to Tampa, Fla., to sit in with the coach and squeeze out a little more insight. This is the result.
Down in Florida, my sense is many see the college career of EJ Manuel as a case of unrealized potential. Here you have a guy who was one of the top quarterbacks in his high school class, a guy with tremendous and rare size and athletic ability, not to mention a big arm. He's 6-foot-5, 240 pounds and will run the 40 in about 4.6 seconds. And he doesn't just get by on physical ability. The mental side is there, as well.
He was a two-time All-ACC Academic selection. Manuel has everything, except for huge numbers or legendary wins. And that place on the Mount Rushmore of Florida State quarterbacks seems reserved for guys who can claim one of those. In that program, you're a legend with ridiculous numbers or national titles, and for everything Manuel has, he enters the NFL draft with neither.
I think it leaves a mixed legacy. But I also think it sets him up to be a steal.
As I got to spend time with Manuel, both on the field and in the film room, I was able to see the full range of what he's capable of, and also of where his weaknesses are. Let me start with the strengths.