Tuesday, April 22, 2014

E.J. Manuel has eye on visiting receiver prospects


Buffalo Bills quarterback E.J. Manuel spent his offseason on both coasts, meeting up with fellow teammates to work on his timing and to build some chemistry with his receiving corps.

When he wasn't practicing, the sophomore quarterback was wired in to the team's cloud-based game film software, dissecting his decisions from his rookie season.

Despite the busy schedule, Manuel told reporters Tuesday he's kept in tune with the draft prospects that have come in and out of One Bills Drive, particularly the receiving talent.

"I definitely pay attention to them because I watch games on Saturdays just like everybody else does, so you’re obviously going to catch the best talent out there," he said. "I know (Eric) Ebron is a great player, a great tight end. Mike Evans is another great receiver, and any time you watch Johnny Football (Johnny Manziel) you see Mike Evans.

"I think whoever they do draft, obviously I’m going to be excited to have them on our team. Whether they go offense or defense I think it will be a great piece to add to our team."

Evans was actually in town Tuesday for his pre-draft visit when Bills players returned for the start of the offseason workout program. He, along with center Marcus Martin and running back McKinnon, got in some face time before draft day, which is a little more than two weeks away. Evans put up nearly 1,400 yards and 12 touchdowns his final year at Texas A&M.

Ebron, on the other hand, made his visit to Buffalo April 4. The talented tight end had nearly 1,000 receiving yards with the Tarheels in 2013 and averaged more than 15 yards per catch. He said recently he thinks Buffalo is very high on him heading toward the draft, and that they (or the Lions) would take him right now if they could.

Manuel did entertain the idea of the team bringing in another signal-caller during the draft, though he seemed supremely confident in the faith the team has in him and in his efforts to help the team get back to the playoffs.

"Whoever we do draft, even if it’s a quarterback, I am a good teammate," he said. "So whoever it is, if he comes in and wants to compete that’s great, but I’m going to still continue to get better ultimately for myself to help bring this team up because I really feel like when I play better everything is going to change, so I’ve been busting my tail.

"To know that they’re counting on me, I’m counting on them just the same way. We’re all in this together to try to get this team turned around."

Follow Dan @DanBegnoche
Follow AFC East Daily @AFCEastDaily