2013 DRAFT GUIDE
No secret: Bills are QB-focused entering NFL draft

By JOHN WAWROW - AP Sports Writer
    2013-04-23 16:21

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (AP) - Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix has dropped enough hints over the past six months. It's easy to determine which key position he intends to address in the NFL draft this week.

It's quarterback, of course.

Nix first mentioned the need to draft and develop a QB in November, when the Bills were bumbling toward their eighth consecutive losing season. Very little has since changed, with the team in the midst of another start-from-scratch rebuilding plan.

And it makes no difference to Nix that this year's crop of prospects is filled with question marks.

``I've said this from Day 1, this quarterback class is better than everybody thinks it is,'' Nix said last week. ``I've said this from the start that two or three of these guys will be franchise quarterbacks. I believe that.''

The only questions are whether the Bills will select a quarterback with their first pick, eighth overall, and who they're targeting. Among those often linked to Buffalo are West Virginia's Geno Smith, Southern California's Matt Barkley and Ryan Nassib, who played under Bills rookie coach Doug Marrone at Syracuse.

Nix is keeping his options open. He won't rule out trading Buffalo's first pick to add additional high selections. He's also suggested being prepared to go off the team's draft chart to select a quarterback earlier than Bills scouts might have him rated.

``If you like a quarterback, and like him in the third round,'' Nix said in December, ``then you had better take him in the second.''

The Bills' offseason focus has been so quarterback-centric that of the 30 draft-eligible prospects they brought in to Buffalo, nine were quarterbacks. All totaled, the team's brass has met with and worked out at least 10 quarterback prospects - many of them twice (Barkley, Smith, Oklahoma's Landry Jones, Florida State's E.J. Manuel and Tennessee's Tyler Bray).

``The intangibles are so important, and they're so hard to figure out,'' Nix said when it comes to ranking quarterbacks. ``You have to dig and dig to find out how they really are.''

Of course, the Bills have numerous holes to fill on a ragtag roster that NFL.com rated as the league's fourth weakest last month.

The Bills lack an established receiver opposite Stevie Johnson. They have questions at linebacker, particularly with the defense reverting to a 3-4 scheme under new coordinator Mike Pettine. There's a need at cornerback and a big hole to fill at left guard after Buffalo lost Andy Levitre to free agency.

Those needs, however, are regarded as secondary for a team that can pin many of its past troubles on a revolving door at quarterback during a 13-year playoff drought - the NFL's longest active streak. It's been an unsettled position since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired following the 1996 season, and it's one of the main reasons the Bills are now on their fifth coach and fourth general manager in 12 years.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was the latest in failing to secure the job. He was cut last month to free up salary and after two-plus inconsistent seasons as the starter.

The Bills have since signed six-year veteran Kevin Kolb to a two-year contract, but he's regarded as a stopgap to allow a younger candidate time to develop.

Nix made it clear that Kolb's addition doesn't change the team's approach to the draft.

``It doesn't, but it makes me sleep a little better at night,'' he said, noting how Kolb at least provides insurance. ``You never know what's going to happen in the draft. You can do all the planning you want to do, but it's still a crapshoot some.''

This draft will be the first since Russ Brandon was promoted to team president on Jan. 1, a move that gives him full authority over the entire operation. Calling the franchise's reputation ``tarnished,'' Brandon is intent on ushering in a new era.

It began with the firing of Chan Gailey and replacing him with Marrone, a move that's open to scrutiny.

Though Brandon vowed to leave ``no stone unturned'' and go to the ``end of the earth'' in finding a new coach, the Bills interviewed five candidates over five days in a search that wound up going as far as Syracuse.

It's an important draft, too, for Nix, whose long-term future is uncertain in Buffalo. The Bills are already grooming his successor, assistant GM Doug Whaley.

At 73, Nix has said several times he has no intention of stepping down until the team has a franchise quarterback in place. Having failed to do so in his first three seasons, Nix is starting to run out of opportunities.

---

Online: http://pro32.ap.org and http://twitter.com/AP-NFL

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

Terrelle PryorApr 19 01:02p

The Oakland Raiders will release QB Terrelle Pryor if they are not able to trade him by Monday, April 21.

LaMichael JamesApr 19 12:22p

The Kansas City Chiefs could consider pursuing San Francisco 49ers RB LaMichael James if he could become a slot receiver. The team likely would not have interest in James [ More ]

Matt HasselbeckApr 19 12:22p

Indianapolis Colts QB Matt Hasselbeck plans to retire after the 2014 season.

Asa JacksonApr 19 12:12p

Baltimore Ravens CBs Chykie Brown and Asa Jackson are expected to compete for the No. 3 cornerback job during training camp. If the team takes a cornerback in one [ More ]

Michael FordApr 19 11:32a

The Chicago Bears probably will select a running back in the later rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft to compete with RB Michael Ford for the No. 2 running [ More ]

Jordan PalmerApr 19 09:52a

The Chicago Bears could target a quarterback in the late rounds of the NFL Draft or in free agency to provide competition for backup QB Jordan Palmer.

Cam NewtonApr 19 09:32a

Carolina Panthers QB Cam Newton (ankle) remains in a walking boot about a month after ankle surgery. The team is hopeful Newton will be ready to go for training camp.

Michael RobinsonApr 19 12:02a

The Seattle Seahawks have not tried to re-sign free-agent FB Michael Robinson this offseason.

Russell AllenApr 18 11:42p

The Jacksonville Jaguars released LB Russell Allen (concussion) after he failed a physical.

Kendrick LewisApr 18 08:32p

Houston Texans FS Kendrick Lewis and SS Chris D. Clemons are expected to compete for the starting free safety job during training camp.

Trent RichardsonApr 18 08:22p

Indianapolis Colts head coach Chuck Pagano said it will be important for RB Trent Richardson to participate in all of the offseason workouts so he can get more comfortable [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group