2015 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

Tom BradyJul 27 02:02p

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady's appeal of his four-game suspension still has not been announced, and the NFL is now open to talking with the NFL Players Association [ More ]

Doug MartinJul 27 12:02p

Tampa Bay Buccaneers RB Doug Martin could be in line for a big, bounce-back year, in the opinion of beat writer Roy Cummings.

Casey MatthewsJul 27 09:12a

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) was placed on season-ending Injured Reserve due to a hip injury Sunday, July 26.

Casey MatthewsJul 26 02:52p

Minnesota Vikings LB Casey Matthews (hip) has been placed on injured reserve due to a hip injury that occurred during the team's offseason program.

Blair WalshJul 26 02:32p

Minnesota Vikings PK Blair Walsh signed a four-year contract extension Sunday, July 26, worth $14 million. The deal includes $5.25 million in guaranteed money.

Gosder CherilusJul 26 12:32p

Indianapolis Colts OT Gosder Cherilus was released Sunday, July 26.

Percy HarvinJul 25 09:22p

Buffalo Bills WR Percy Harvin required detailed instruction on how to run routes during OTAs, and Vic Carucci of the Buffalo News believes Harvin will open the year as [ More ]

DeAngelo WilliamsJul 25 08:12p

Pittsburgh Steelers RB DeAngelo Williams is not receiving any first-team reps despite RB Le'Veon Bell facing a three-game suspension, head coach Mike Tomlin said. Tomlin also said he is [ More ]

Jermaine GreshamJul 24 07:22p

Free-agent TE Jermaine Gresham (Bengals) agreed to a one-year deal with the Arizona Cardinals Friday, July 24, according to a source. Financial terms were not disclosed.

Isaiah CrowellJul 24 07:02p

Cleveland Browns RB Duke Johnson will play a prominent role in Cleveland's offense in his rookie year, but RB Isaiah Crowell is still the favorite to start. Johnson is [ More ]

Benjamin WatsonJul 24 06:22p

New Orleans Saints TE Benjamin Watson is slated to start at tight end over TE Josh Hill, according to Mike Triplett of ESPN.com.

Josh FreemanJul 24 04:52p

Miami Dolphins QB Josh Freeman was released Friday, July 24.

Nate WashingtonJul 24 03:52p

Houston Texans WR Nate Washington is projected to be the No. 2 wide receiver behind WR DeAndre Hopkins and ahead of WR Cecil Shorts, according to Tania Ganguli of ESPN.com.

Kelvin BenjaminJul 24 02:32p

Carolina Panthers WR Kelvin Benjamin said he is currently at his playing weight a week before training camp begins. Benjamin said he has changed his conditioning and diet in order to stay in shape.

Junior GaletteJul 24 02:32p

New Orleans Saints LB Junior Galette was released Friday, July 24, according to a source.

Jabari PriceJul 24 02:22p

Minnesota Vikings CB Jabari Price was suspended two games for violating the personal conduct policy.

Derek WolfeJul 24 01:52p

Denver Broncos DE Derek Wolfe was suspended four games by the NFL for testing positive for a performance enhancing drug. Wolfe said he took a medication he didn't know was banned.

Sean SmithJul 24 10:02a

Kansas City Chiefs CB Sean Smith was suspended three games for violating the league's substance-abuse policy.

Michael HillJul 23 05:42p

Washington Redskins RB Michael Hill was waived Thursday, July 23.

Earl ThomasJul 23 12:32p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) isn't expected to be cleared for training camp, and his status is questionable for Week 1.

Letroy GuionJul 23 12:02p

Green Bay Packers DT Letroy Guion has been suspended three games Thursday, July 23, for his Feb. 3 arrest. Guion plans to appeal.

Tom BradyJul 23 11:32a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady was the subject of a settlement offer from the NFL Players Association to the league last week, but the offer was met with [ More ]

Mike TomlinJul 23 10:22a

Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin agreed to an extension Thursday, July 23, through the 2018 season.

Jadeveon ClowneyJul 22 05:12p

Houston Texans LB Jadeveon Clowney (knee) looks spectacular, according to a team doctor. Clowney is seven months removed from microfracture surgery on his knee. It was previously reported that [ More ]

Marqise LeeJul 22 04:42p

Jacksonville Jaguars WR Marqise Lee (knee) is expected to be ready for training camp, according to wide receivers coach Jerry Sullivan. Sullivan added that Lee will be managed in order to preserve his health.

Sam BradfordJul 22 03:32p

Philadelphia Eagles QB Sam Bradford (knee) is expected to be ready to participate once training camp begins. Bradford has been rehabilitating his knee after suffering a second anterior cruciate [ More ]

Tyler EifertJul 22 03:22p

Cincinnati Bengals TE Tyler Eifert could be primed for a breakout season, in the opinion of Paul Dehner Jr. of The Cincinnati Enquirer.

L. TaliaferroJul 22 01:22p

Baltimore Ravens RB Lorenzo Taliaferro is expected to be pushed by RB Javorius Allen for the No. 2 running back job, but he likely will enter training camp as [ More ]

Jermaine GreshamJul 22 12:32p

Free-agent TE Jermaine Gresham (back) met with the Arizona Cardinals Tuesday, July 21, but the two sides have not agreed to a deal at this point. Gresham underwent back [ More ]

Odell Beckham Jr.Jul 22 12:12p

New York Giants WR Odell Beckham Jr. (hamstring) said his hamstring is feeling a lot better than it did earlier this offseason. Beckham missed some of the offseason workouts because of a hamstring problem.

Bishop SankeyJul 22 08:32a

Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey is the odds-on favorite to start in Week 1 because he has a year of experience and a full offseason under his belt.

Justin HunterJul 22 02:02a

Tennessee Titans WR Justin Hunter is expected to take part in training camp when it opens, as the team will let the legal process play out, according to a [ More ]

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2015 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group