There's been a noticeable shift in the NFL over the past couple seasons as teams have started to have success with athletic QBs. One of the big reasons is that they're no longer forcing them into traditional systems that don't actually use their skills and also because the high school and college systems are actually producing true two way threats. Guys that aren't just athletes who play QB, but QBs who are athletes.
While Chip Kelly will constantly say that he'll tailor his offense to his personnel, it's probably fair to assume that he's going to want a more athletic QB at some point. After all, why hire Chip Kelly if you're not able to get some of the offense that made him so attractive?
One of the places Chip can find his athletic QB is this year's draft. They've met with pretty much every top QB at the Senior Bowl this week including Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel. With a 6-5, 240 pound frame, Manuel is built to take some hits at the NFL level. While he's got Cam Newton's build, he's not as athletic, but is still enough so to keep defenses honest, which is really all Chip Kelly is likely to need.
Manuel says his athleticism fits well with the latest trends towards more mobile QBs.
"I think this is the perfect time to come out as far as being an athletic quarterback and right now in the draft I think I'm probably the main one," said Manuel. "So I'm looking forward to whoever will give me an opportunity to go in and play."
While Florida State primarily runs a pro style offense, they also mixed in some zone read looks for Manuel this year. If that sounds like something that may fit what Chip Kelly wants to do to you... Manuel agrees with you. He thinks he can fit in any offense, but specifically thinks he could flourish under Kelly.
"If I don't go to a team that runs that kind of offense I know I can still drop back and sit in the pocket and deliver but at the same if I go to the Eagles, I know Chip Kelly is going to bring his offense into the NFL and I know I can transition very well into that too."
Manuel says his transition into the NFL will be helped by the amount of responsibility he had as the Seminoles QB.
"I made all the MIKE declarations, I always called out my protections, it was never like we had a crutch where the center was calling out things, everything is on the quarterback in our offense at Florida State so I think transitioning into the NFL that's going to help me out and it's going to be an easier transition."
Brooks said that he felt that Manuel had the most impressive interview of any quarterback in Mobile this week. He also said he was surprised at the amount of responsibility he had at Florida State. In Jimbo Fisher's offense, a lot of the game is run from the line of scrimmage where the QB had to call the play.
They were also in no huddle for about 75% of the time. So he's used to the high tempo style Chip Kelly is going to want to run.
Manuel is projected to go somewhere between the 2nd and 3rd round.