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E.J. Manuel has unique place in Buffalo Bills history

Manuel is just the third Round 1 quarterback drafted by the Bills in the NFL Draft.

Stacy Revere
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills had never selected a quarterback with their first pick in a given draft until last night, when E.J. Manuel was selected No. 16 overall in the 2013 NFL Draft. Manuel became just the third quarterback drafted in the first round by the Bills in the NFL Draft, joining the two men listed below:

  • Jim Kelly (No. 14 overall, 1983): Kelly went to the USFL for some seasoning before ultimately joining the Bills in 1986. That marks his rookie stats with an asterisk, but he immediately lit it up in the NFL. He started all 16 games, throwing 480 passes (the most of any season in his Hall of Fame career) and accumulating 3,593 yards, 22 touchdown and 17 interceptions. Still in full-on rebuilding mode, the team fired head coach Hank Bullough in the middle of the season and hired Marv Levy, with Kelly going a 4-12 in his first season.
  • E.J. Manuel (No. 16, 2013): Manuel is the second-highest quarterback selected by the Bills in team history. He stands apart from Kelly, however, because the Bills spent the No. 12 overall pick in 1983 on tight end Tony Hunter.
  • J.P. Losman (No. 22, 2004): Losman was drafted as Drew Bledsoe's heir apparent and saw limited action during his rookie season. He appeared in just four games due to a broken leg. He was sacked once, attempted just five passes, and one was picked off. He eventually went 10-23 as a starter for Buffalo.

Whether or not Manuel will get any playing time as a rookie remains to be seen; he'll need to surpass veterans Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson on the depth chart to do so. If Manuel does get playing time as a rookie, he won't need to do an awful lot to become the best statistical rookie passer in Bills history, but he may have a hard time surpassing the win/loss record of one well-known former Bill.

  • Dennis Shaw (No. 30, 1970): Selected in the second round of the 1970 draft, Shaw played in all 16 games of his rookie season and started 14. He completed 55.5% of his 321 pass attempts for 2507 yards and a great 7.8 yards per attempt. He also earned the NFL's Offensive Rookie of the Year award despite throwing 20 interceptions to just 10 touchdowns. After more of the same over the next two seasons and an 8-27-2 record as a starter, the Bills replaced him.
  • Joe Ferguson (No. 57, 1973): Replacing Shaw was Ferguson, who started all 14 games in 1973. Buffalo finished 9-5 with O.J. Simpson toting the rock, but Ferguson threw for just 939 yards. That's not a typo. He completed just 73 of his 164 passes - a lousy 44.5 percent completion rate - and had four passing touchdowns with 10 interceptions. He was 77-86 as a starter for Buffalo in 12 seasons.
  • Trent Edwards (No. 92, 2007): After an injury to the incumbent Losman, Edwards started nine games in his rookie season and steadied the offense enough to hold onto the job when Losman was healthy. He went 5-4 while tossing seven touchdowns and eight picks on 269 attempts. He finished his Bills career 14-18.
  • Daryle Lamonica (No. 188, 1963): Lamonica played in all 14 games his rookie season, and started two (both victories) in place of Jack Kemp. In a time when football was different, his 46.5 percent completions and 57.1 passer rating don't tell the whole story. He was 4-0 as a starter, but saw action in 56 games for Buffalo, platooning with Kemp when the team needed a spark.
  • Dan Darragh (No. 336, 1968): Buffalo's opening day starter in 1968 was the team's 13th-round pick. He went 1-6, throwing 14 picks against three touchdowns in that rookie season. In three seasons with the Bills, he was 1-10 with 22 interceptions.