The success of the 2012 rookie quarterback class set the bar high, but context sets more reasonable expectations for EJ Manuel’s rookie seasons with the Bills. (Photo: USA Today Sports Images)
BBD Staff Writer: Eric Samulski
What will the Buffalo Bills get out of rookie quarterback EJ Manuel this season? That is the biggest question surrounding the team heading into the offseason. Although Manuel has been called a project and a likely candidate for a redshirt year, the Bills seem content to let him vie for the starting job.
Since everybody acknowledges that the success of the Bills’ 2013 NFL draft will depend on what they get out of Manuel, let’s take a look at what the realistic expectations are of what Manuel could give. By looking at the results of rookie starting quarterbacks in the new millennium, we can determine what would be a realistic successful season for Manuel or any other rookie quarterback.
In order to set the parameters, I decided that a rookie “starting” quarterback would be one who threw 224 pass attempts in their rookie year, since that is the necessary amount to qualify for the league’s passing efficiency rating. Since 2000, 32 rookie quarterbacks have met those guidelines. Some of the stats were already laid out in an interesting article by Football Perspective, so I’ll just try and put them in a context that’s more geared towards this discussion.
Submitting to the fact that yards per attempt, touchdowns, and interceptions are a solid barometer for quarterback success (I’ve added completion percentage in as well), let’s see just how rookie quarterbacks have fared since the turn of the century and what the average performance would be for Manuel and the rest of the class of 2013.