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E.J. Manuel – More JaMarcus Russell, or Ben Roethlisberger?

EJ Manuel Miami v Florida State xwlWoVZR6qql

Similarity scores are good for some things and then don’t shed any light at all on other things.  For instance, similarity scores are generally good at splitting players up based on dimensions.  Is the quarterback accurate?  Is he only accurate because he’s checking down all day?  What size of a player is he similar to?  Those are the questions that similarity scores are good at answering.  Similarity scores don’t shed any light on things like work ethic, or intelligence.  We don’t have any visibility on issues like that.  The reason this matters as it relates to Manuel is because some of his comps that failed, failed because they reportedly didn’t have the necessary work ethic to make it in the NFL.

E.J. Manuel is similar to a number of really high upside quarterbacks that haven’t always panned out.  Among the names on the list are JaMarcus Russell and Nate Davis, two of the more gifted QB prospects of the last decade in terms of physical ability.  In fact, almost all of the guys on Manuel’s comps list below are pretty gifted physically, while only one guy has really put together a successful NFL career (Roethlisberger… in case you weren’t sure).  The jury is still out on Matt Stafford and Josh Freeman probably has one more season before he’s officially a wash out in the NFL, but you can probably see what I’m getting at here.  Manuel is similar to guys who, if they failed, didn’t fail for lack of physical ability.  So while looking at Manuel’s comps might help us place him from a draft value standpoint, it doesn’t give us any visibility really into whether he’ll make it as a pro.  I think I’ll probably own the Geno/Manuel combo in some leagues this year, hoping that one pays off with some rushing yards, but as a real life QB prospect, he seems like maybe a coin flip.

Let’s say for the sake of argument that someone was willing to offer you JaMarcus Russell but with Kobe Bryant’s work ethic.  You would want that guy to be your franchise QB right?  I have no idea what Manuel’s work ethic is.  My only point is that being similar to Russell doesn’t have to be a bad thing.  He might be dissimilar on something that box score stats don’t tell us and that might make all the difference.

I always go through the implications of the similarity measures, so for Manuel, he’s similar to other big QBs, who averaged excellent yards/attempt, had generally high CMP % and also mixed in at least a little running of the football.  All of Manuel’s comps were first round picks as well, with the exception of Nate Davis, whose name I left on the list because he was actually the closest comp.

NAME HT WT TM Season G Cmp% PYDS TD INT YA RYDS Career G Career Yds Career TD/INT
E.J. Manuel 77.00 237.00 Florida State 2012 14.00 0.68 242.64 1.64 0.71 8.78 22.14 40.00 7,741.00 1.68
NAME HT WT TM Season G Cmp% PYDS TD INT YA RYDS Career G Career Yds Career TD/INT
Nate Davis 74.00 226.00 Ball State 2008 14.00 0.64 256.50 1.86 0.57 8.96 22.29 39.00 9,233.00 3.36
Matthew Stafford 74.00 225.00 Georgia 2008 13.00 0.61 266.08 1.92 0.77 9.03 3.08 39.00 7,731.00 1.55
Jason Campbell 77.00 230.00 Auburn 2004 13.00 0.70 207.69 1.54 0.54 10.00 2.31 46.00 7,299.00 1.88
Josh Freeman 78.00 248.00 Kansas State 2008 12.00 0.59 245.42 1.67 0.67 7.71 33.67 35.00 8,078.00 1.29
Ben Roethlisberger 77.00 241.00 Miami (OH) 2003 14.00 0.69 320.43 2.64 0.71 9.06 7.93 38.00 10,829.00 2.47
JaMarcus Russell 78.00 265.00 Louisiana State 2006 13.00 0.68 240.69 2.15 0.62 9.15 10.92 35.00 6,625.00 2.48

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