2014 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 GordonJan 25 09:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be under contract through the 2016 season, and he will only be a restricted free agent after that year due to his looming [ More ]

Josh GordonJan 25 04:12p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon has reportedly failed another drug test and will be subject to a one-year banishment, according to multiple league sources.

Earl ThomasJan 23 09:02p

Seattle Seahawks FS Earl Thomas (shoulder) will play in the Super Bowl, head coach Pete Carroll said Friday, Jan. 23.

Dennis PittaJan 23 04:22p

Baltimore Ravens TE Dennis Pitta (hip) met with some specialists last week, but the team is not expected to have an update on his status for a few weeks, [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 23 01:12p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel had a big proponent last year in owner Jimmy Haslam, but Haslam now thinks the team needs a quarterback in order to get their [ More ]

Jimmy GrahamJan 23 10:32a

New Orleans Saints TE Jimmy Graham (shoulder) said he'll rehabilitate his shoulder injury after the Pro Bowl, but he hasn't made a final decision on surgery. 'It's something we [ More ]

Mark IngramJan 22 06:42p

New Orleans Saints RB Mark Ingram, who will be eligible for free agency this offseason, wants to return to the team next year, and he thinks the interest is [ More ]

Vernon DavisJan 22 06:22p

San Francisco 49ers TE Vernon Davis had just two touchdowns in 2014, and they both came in Week 1. He also wasn't targeted at all in the red zone [ More ]

Geno SmithJan 22 05:32p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith has a lot of talent and promise, according to new head coach Todd Bowles. At the same time, Bowles acknowledged that the quarterback [ More ]

Brian HoyerJan 22 04:52p

Cleveland Browns QB Brian Hoyer could be re-signed this offseason, according to his agent. Hoyer is expected to meet with general manager Ray Farmer and offensive coordinator John DeFilippo in the near future.

Johnny ManzielJan 22 02:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel will be working with a new offensive coordinator this year in John DeFilippo, but DeFilippo is unsure if the team's quarterback next year is [ More ]

Joe FlaccoJan 22 12:52p

Baltimore Ravens QB Joe Flacco will have his fourth difference offensive coordinator in as many years in offensive coordinator Marc Trestman. However, head coach John Harbaugh is confident Flacco [ More ]

Tom BradyJan 22 10:12a

New England Patriots QB Tom Brady is now scheduled to speak to the media Thursday, Jan. 22, and he could come under fire due to the report of deflated [ More ]

Vontaze BurfictJan 21 09:03p

Cincinnati Bengals LB Vontaze Burfict (knee) has had knee surgery, head coach Marvin Lewis confirmed Wednesday, Jan. 21. While there has been concern Burfict might have to begin the [ More ]

Mike WallaceJan 21 09:03p

Miami Dolphins WR Mike Wallace's future with the team is unclear. General manager Dennis Hickey would not say Wednesday, Jan. 21, whether Wallace will be back or if his [ More ]

Johnny ManzielJan 21 04:43p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could benefit from new offensive coordinator John DeFilippo, according to Oakland Raiders QB Derek Carr. Carr said DeFilippo will do great with Manziel, adding [ More ]

Richard ShermanJan 21 04:23p

Seattle Seahawks CB Richard Sherman (elbow) said he will practice in a brace, but should not have any limitations on gameday.

Marc TrestmanJan 21 03:53p

Baltimore Ravens offensive coordinator Marc Trestman said he wants to learn the specificities of the team's offense instead of changing it. Head coach John Harbaugh said Trestman's familiarity and [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:43p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles should be able to develop under new offensive coordinator Greg Olson, according to general manager Dave Caldwell. Caldwell said Olson has the ability to [ More ]

Blake BortlesJan 21 03:13p

Jacksonville Jaguars QB Blake Bortles developed bad habits and may need to start over, in the opinion of NFL Films guru Greg Cosell.

Latavius MurrayJan 21 12:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray is likely to be the team's lead back in 2015, and new offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave plans tailor his system to Murray's talents. Musgrave [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 21 11:03a

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning plans to return in 2015, pending the results of his annual physical, according to three sources The Denver Post's Woody Paige trusts. The test [ More ]

Rashad JenningsJan 21 10:23a

New York Giants RB Rashad Jennings could have a veteran running back to complement or compete with him next season. The team could possibly add a change-of-pace back and [ More ]

Trent RichardsonJan 21 09:13a

Indianapolis Colts RB Trent Richardson was suspended and deactivated for the AFC Championship Game Sunday, Jan. 18.

Joique BellJan 20 11:23p

Detroit Lions RB Joique Bell had minor surgery last week to clean up his knee and Achilles' tendon. He is expected to return in time for organized offseason workouts.

Doug MarroneJan 20 05:33p

Jacksonville Jaguars head coach Gus Bradley said the team is committed to remaining a zone-blocking team. However, new assistant coach and offensive line coach Doug Marrone didn't use a [ More ]

Peyton ManningJan 20 05:13p

Denver Broncos QB Peyton Manning remains unsure of his future with the team, but head coach Gary Kubiak said he plans to sit down with Manning and talk about [ More ]

Tyler BrayJan 20 04:23p

Kansas City Chiefs QB Tyler Bray (knee) has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee.

Marc TrestmanJan 20 03:43p

Free-agent head coach Marc Trestman (Bears) was hired by the Baltimore Ravens as the team's offensive coordinator Tuesday, Jan. 20. Trestman was previously the head coach of the Chicago Bears.

C.J. AndersonJan 20 01:33p

Denver Broncos RB C.J. Anderson, who finished the year with 849 rushing yards, 324 receiving yards and 10 touchdowns, is looking forward to his role in new head coach [ More ]

Latavius MurrayJan 19 09:53p

Oakland Raiders RB Latavius Murray could benefit from offensive coordinator Bill Musgrave, who has used a run-heavy style in the past.

Reggie WayneJan 19 07:03p

Indianapolis Colts WR Reggie Wayne (triceps) is unsure if he will be returning for another season. Wayne was targeted just twice in the loss to the New England Patriots [ 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