As the NFL draft is wont to do, the first quarterback to hear his name called on Thursday night surprised people. Dropped more than a few jaws.
As EJ Manuel- and not Geno Smith or Matt Barkley- walked across the stage at Radio City Music Halland grabbed a Buffalo Bills jersey as the first QB picked in the 2013 NFL draft, everyone was a bit shocked.
Well, almost everyone.
“It wasn’t a very big surprise [to me],” said Manuel moments later. “I knew there was an opportunity for me to go early in the draft, I knew teams that needed a quarterback were very interested, it was just a matter of what happened that day.”
A lot of things happened.
After a run on offensive linemen, Buffalo was able to trade down with St. Louis- who came up to select WR Tavon Austin in front of the Jets at 8.
The move sent Buffalo back to 16th, where they felt comfortable selecting the 6-5 237-pound QB given what else was available and the team's needs.
Manuel was the first Seminole taken in the first round since 2011, The last ‘Nole to earn that distinction was the man Manuel replaced at FSU, QB Christian Ponder who went 12th overall to Minnesota that year.
As the Seminoles’ starter, Manuel finished his career with a 25-6 mark including a 2-0 record against the University of Miami. He is the most accurate passer in Florida State history, second all-time in the ACC. He threw for 7,736 yards, 47 touchdowns and 28 interceptions in his time at FSU.
A little less than an hour later the second Seminole taken in the first round was defensive end Bjoern Werner who went 24th to Indianapolis. The 6-4 255-pound DE became the highest drafted German player in NFL history when he heard his name called.
The junior notched 23.5 sacks in three years at FSU including an ACC leading 13 in 2012. The Colts will look to him to replace Dwight Freeney- who was let go this past offseason.
Xavier Rhodes was selected by the Vikings with the very next pick, 25th overall. Rhodes drew comparisons to Dwayne Bowe as a receiver coming out of Miami Norland but was moved to corner shortly after arriving in Tallahassee and quickly grew into one of the top defensive backs in the country.
In three seasons at FSU Rhodes had 8 interceptions and 140 tackles. He was first team All-ACC in 2012.
The three Seminoles taken on Thursday night marked the first time since 2006 that FSU had multiple first round picks. They had four that year. That was also the last time Florida State won the ACC prior to their 2012 campaign.
This was just the fifth time in Florida State history that three or more Seminoles were selected in the first round of the draft.
FSU could have as many as five or six players taken Friday during rounds two and three. I'll be back in the morning with a preview of day two as well as more coverage of the draft throughout the course of the evening. Keep checking back.
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