As we draw closer to the 2013 NFL draft, I thought it may be fun, or at least a somewhat enlightening to plot scenarios for each potentially highly touted quarterback in this rookie class and how, where or if they may fit into the Buffalo Bills draft plans.
For the purpose of this exercise, I’ve used what a vast majority regard as the top seven prospects this season while offering apologies to fans of Matt Scott, Landry Jones, Zac Dysert and Jeff Tuel, among others.
It’s worth disclaiming that most of the information is that of personal opinion and conclusions, and doesn’t necessarily reflect what Buddy Nix will do when the fun officially begins in about 15 days.
The following is a little information about each incoming rookie and why I think he’s a possibility to be playing in Buffalo for 2013 and beyond—or not.
Geno Smith: The only way, in my opinion the Bills are taking a crack at Smith is if he falls in their laps with the eighth pick. I don’t spend a lot of time thinking about him, because I honestly don’t see any way that happens. Starting with Jacksonville and the second pick running through Cleveland at pick number six, he’s going off the board somewhere before Buffalo can get to him. Not one team among Jacksonville, Oakland, Philadelphia and Cleveland should be remotely contempt with their quarterback situation. All it takes is one of those four to pull the trigger and I’m pretty confident one will. For the record, I’m not sure he’s at the top of the Bills draft board amongst quarterbacks anyway. I’m pretty confident that distinction belongs to the guy directly below.
Matt Barkley: I’m pretty confident Barkley will be on the board with the eighth pick and wouldn’t be surprised to see him come off to Buffalo. I’ve heard the organization likes him and may even worry about him being on the board. I’m not sure how much; if at all the signing of Kevin Kolb has altered their thinking over the past few weeks. I do think taking him at eight or moving down minimally is the only way they land Barkley, assuming they truly do covet him as much as I’ve heard. I’d be shocked if they were capable of moving up all the way from No. 41 to get into position to take him with their second pick. Ultimately whether he’s a Bill comes down to if they really love another player at eight, and if they think they’ll still be in position to get a difference maker if they pass on Barkley. Remember, folks, Nix has been burned in recent years by passing over Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson in favor of Aaron Williams and T.J. Graham. I’m sure that will weigh heavily on Nix’s mind later this month.
Ryan Nassib: It doesn’t take a genius to figure out this staff knows Nassib better than any of the other 31 teams. I think Nassib is in the middle of where the Bills select—eight is too high and he’s probably not around at 41. If Nassib is their guy, which would surprise next to no one, they’d likely have to move up from their second selection to secure him. Remember, there’s plenty of other quarterback needy teams that will pass up on quarterback the first time around but will be looking for their guy in the late first or early second round. The problem I see is Nassib could go to a team in the early 20’s looking to trade up and I’m not sure the Bills are willing to pay that high of a price for him. I think Nassib ends up in either Philadelphia or a sleeper team no one sees coming, like Houston.
E.J. Manuel: This guy intrigues me more than anyone else, particularly after the Bills signed Kolb. While I think Kolb’s arrival could be detrimental to Barkley or Nassib being Buffalo’s first pick, I actually think the veteran on the roster lends credence to the Bills taking a shot on Manuel. He’s not close to being as Week one starter-ready as the others, but he probably has more long term potential than any of the top quarterbacks in this class, including Smith. Having a guy like Kolb affords the Bills an opportunity to coddle Manuel and not rush him on the field. He needs to time to be coached up on mechanics and reading defenses, but the payoff could be immense. I don’t think he’s in the mix with their first pick, but would be very enticing if he’s there at 41. Having said that, I think the Bills would have to spring ahead of Philadelphia in the second round to land him, because I’m certain Chip Kelly would love to have this guy on his team if I’m wrong about them liking Nassib.
Tyler Wilson: Hello, sleeper pick. Few people are discussing this guy…and they should. I see Wilson as a legitimate candidate if the Bills take someone else at eight and don’t trade up or down, standing pat in the second round. If they do, he’ll clearly be a guy they’re looking at. I’ve seen plenty of Philip Rivers comparisons thrown Wilson’s way, and we all know Nix is a fan of the San Diego quarterback. Wilson’s tough as nails and kind of caught a bad rap playing behind a deplorable offensive line in Arkansas last season. It’s worth repeating again— if the Bills stand pat at 41, this is going to be the best guy remaining on the board.
Mike Glennon: He may or may not be there for the Bills in the second round, but I don’t see them taking Glennon regardless of the situation. I don’t have any direct inside information, but I get a sense the Bills like a lot of the other quarterbacks in this draft better, which of course sets me up to look like a major toolbox on April 26 if he’s having a press conference at One Bills Drive the following day. Arizona or Tampa Bay are more likely destinations.
Tyler Bray: Without question Bray is the wild card of this bunch. Physically he’s as good as anyone mentioned above and maybe better, but his passion, mechanics and leadership have clearly come into question. The player he’s drawn comparisons to in recent months is Jay Cutler, and I can definitively see why. I’m sure he’d be on the board for Buffalo at 41, but not so confident he’s there in round three as some team is bound to fall in love with his God given attributes. Like previously discussed with Manuel, Bray is the type of developmental quarterback the Bills could be serious about taking, after acquiring Kolb as a stop gap solution.
**EDITOR’S NOTE** Notice how I’ve failed to mention Tarvaris Jackson even once during this article? The reason is simple- I think he was signed as insurance this season, just as he was last year. Sure, he’ll get an “opportunity” to do things in camp but unless Doug Marrone plans on him sticking around to man the clipboard, I don’t see a future for him (actually playing) on this team. Of course, that could change if Kolb gets hurt sometime during camp. Again, folks—insurance.
PREDICTION TIME: I think the Bills will stand pat with their eighth pick. For me that eliminates Smith and Nassib from the mix. They’re going to look long and hard at Barkley and the decision comes down to if there’s a guy with that eighth pick that can come in and make an impact immediately. Perhaps that’s a guy like Jarvis Jones, Chance Warmack (I really hope not), Xavier Rhodes (sleeper) or maybe a wide receiver. Ultimately I think Nix decides against taking Barkley this high, even knowing he’s gone by the second round. There’s just too many comparable guys he can get with their next one or two selections.
I also think if Buffalo stays where they are in the second-round, it eliminates Nassib (for a second time) as well as Manuel. I just think enough teams have caught read option fever that Manuel won’t be around at pick No. 41.
That would leave Tyler Wilson as the best guy available.
Nix will spend every waking hour between the end of round one and start of the second to make his decision. For me, that decision comes down moving up in round two for Manuel or staying still and selecting Wilson.
I love Bray’s potential in this league, but don’t think the Bills can afford to pass on a quarterback twice in this draft, and unless they love him enough to take him at 41, he’s eliminated from consideration.
In conclusion, for me that makes either Manuel or Wilson the Bills choice when this draft is over. It will be Manuel if the Bills move up from their second pick and if they stay, I’m going with Wilson.
Only an unforeseen Bray rise up Buffalo’s draft board to the early second round can alter my thinking at this point.