Tuel wasn’t asked to run very many option plays at Washington State, but he did use his legs to gain yardage when plays broke down. While he doesn’t display the ability to be a game-changing runner in the NFL, he can scramble or run a read option for a few yards.
Tuel worked primarily out of the shotgun under both of his coaches at WSU, Leach and Paul Wulff. Most plays called for him to make, at most, a couple reads. To succeed in the NFL, he will need to adapt to a pro-style offense and develop working through progressions.
Injuries are Tuel’s most glaring concern. He had injury issues in both his freshman and junior season, suffering injuries to his knee and collarbone.
Tuel may win over coaches with his intangibles. He is a hard-working individual with a good understanding of the game, and was a leader at Washington State.
Tuel was always one of the last guys off the field after practice at Washington State. While at Washington State, I often saw Tuel grab a couple receivers to stick around after practice to work with him after coaches dismissed the team.
It is also interesting to note that Tuel withdrew his petition to the NCAA for a fifth year of eligibility after, as he said, the NCAA asked him to “throw the previous staff under the bus” by saying Wulff’s staff mistreated him, according to the Seattle Times.
If Tuel can remain healthy, he possesses the accuracy, mobility and intangibles coaches want in a developmental quarterback.
Making the Team
Upon review of Bills coach Doug Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s offense at Syracuse last season, Tuel’s traits seem to fit the scheme.
He shows the ability to deliver the ball on time, move around in the pocket and can run the read option, which makes him a good fit for the Marrone/Hackett offense.
Tuel is one of four quarterbacks on the Bills’ preseason roster, joining Manuel and veterans Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson.
Marrone has said the Bills will have an “open competition” at quarterback, but Tuel’s opportunities have been limited in early camps. Tuel did not receive any repetitions during the Bills’ three-day organized team activity earlier this week. Even during the Bills’ three-day rookie mini camp, Manuel took a majority of the snaps. Manuel had an unofficial 79 reps to Tuel’s 27, according to practice notes from BuffaloBills.com.
Tuel may seem like the odd man out right now, but he has earned praise from Marrone. Following the first day of rookie mini camp, Marrone said he is “very happy” with Tuel, who “threw well.”
Tuel should have a good shot to compete for the third quarterback job. Specifically, Jackson’s roster spot is threatened by Tuel’s addition, as Jackson’s cap hit high for a third-string quarterback at $1.75 million.
Ultimately, Tuel has what it takes to make the Bills’ roster as a developmental quarterback or, at the very least, be signed to the practice squad. With the skills he already possesses and some coaching, he could develop into a quality NFL quarterback.