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Might EJ Manuel start in Week 1 for the Buffalo Bills?

How many Bills fans, exactly, are expecting their favorite team's rookie quarterback to start right out of the gates?


Last week, we had a discussion about the fact that not many quarterbacks picked in the first round of the NFL Draft sit for their entire rookie season, positing that at some point during the 2013 league year, we're very likely to see EJ Manuel under center for the Buffalo Bills.

What are the odds that Manuel is under center in Week 1? It's not unheard of for a quarterback picked outside of the Top 10 to start immediately for his team. In fact, within the past five draft classes (not including Manuel's), it's happened twice out of five opportunities.

Joe Flacco was the No. 18 overall pick in 2008, and he's started every game since for the Baltimore Ravens. Just last year, the Cleveland Browns took Brandon Weeden with the No. 22 overall pick and threw him into the fire in Week 1, as well.

Then again, three more such picks sat to start their rookie seasons. In 2009, Josh Freeman watched from the sidelines as Byron Leftwich ran the Tampa Bay Buccaneers' offense on opening day. The following year, Tim Tebow sat for the vast majority of his rookie season as Kyle Orton ran the show for the Denver Broncos. In 2011, Donovan McNabb started for the Minnesota Vikings while Christian Ponder waited in the wings.

Buffalo has two veterans - Kevin Kolb and Tarvaris Jackson - that could conceivably beat out Manuel for the right to start on opening day. Then again, Buffalo hasn't had a hand-picked Round 1 quarterback in nearly a decade, and since Manuel most closely fits what Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett want to do offensively, we're not likely to see a pause in the "Manuel might start" rhetoric until an official decision is made.

What do you think, Bills fans? Will Manuel be the Bills' opening-day starter? Let's put it to a vote.