Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix believes in the quarterbacks available in the 2013 NFL Draft. "This quarterback class is better than everybody thinks it is," Nix said at the team's pre-draft press luncheon on Tuesday.
The Bills hold the No. 8 overall pick in the draft and are in need of a franchise quarterback. Despite negative reviews regarding the quarterback class, Nix has faith in them. He went on to say, "I've said this from the start, that two or three of these guys will be franchise quarterbacks. I believe that."
Geno Smith out of West Virginia is considered the top quarterback in this draft class, but most don't believe he compares to the top quarterback prospects of the past few years. Mocking the Draft has Smith going to the Eagles with the No. 4 overall pick in their latest mock, but he could easily slide down to the Bills at No. 8. That same mock has the Bills selecting safety Kenny Vaccaro with the No. 8 pick, but trading with the Packers to acquire Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel with the No. 26 pick. Mocking the Draft predicts no other quarterbacks will be selected in the first round.
Assuming the Chiefs don't select Smith with the No. 1 overall pick or find a trading partner interested in Smith, 2013 will mark the first year since 2008 that a quarterback was not selected No. 1 overall. The Dolphins selected Jake Long with the top pick that year and Matt Ryan was the first quarterback off the board at No. 3 to the Falcons. Joe Flacco was the only other quarterback selected in the first round that year, going to the Ravens at No. 18.
The Bills have struggled to find a franchise quarterback for over a decade, parting ways with their most recent starter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, this offseason. Fitzpatrick served as the Bills' starter for the better part of the last four seasons, looking like a franchise QB in a few flashes of brilliance, but generally failing to lead the Bills to sustained success. Prior to Fitzpatrick the Bills experimented with several starters including Trent Edwards, J.P. Losman, and Kelly Holcomb dating back to 2005. Drew Bledsoe was the last quarterback to lead the team to a winning record, in 2004, and Doug Flutie led them to their most recent playoff appearance, all the way back in 1999.
This offseason the Bills signed free agent Kevin Kolb to go along with Tarvaris Jackson and compete for the starting position. Even if one of those two wins the starting job for 2013, they are considered nothing more than a stopgap until the Bills find their next franchise quarterback. And from the sound of things, Buddy Nix thinks that quarterback is in the 2013 draft.