By Nate Stevens
Much has been made about the Buffalo Bills search for a quarterback of the future heading into the draft. With the signing of Kevin Kolb a few weeks ago, the pressure for Buffalo to draft a quarterback with the 8th overall pick decreased significantly. The Bills now have the flexibility to use their 8th pick to address other needs such as a linebacker and wide receiver.
Whether the Bills select a quarterback in the first or second round, they will arguably have the most knowledge of the quarterbacks in the draft. They have had private workouts with every quarterback on the board. The latest being Ryan Nassib, new Bills head coach Doug Marrone’s quarterback at the University of Syracuse. Many draft experts have said that Nassib will be Buffalo’s best fit because he already knows Marrone’s offensive system. That may be true, as his learning curve as a rookie would be significantly less compared to most rookies.
With Kolb in the fold in Buffalo, along with veteran Tavaris Jackson, the Bills have two veteran quarterbacks on their roster, which will benefit any rookie quarterback. With that being said, Doug Marrone has stated numerous times that there will be an open competition at quarterback going into training camp. That is why Ryan Nassib makes a lot of sense. The NFL is becoming a league where quarterbacks drafted by teams are expected to be ready to start their first or second year in the league. Nassib already knows the playbook, making him a lot more capable of earning the starting job coming out of training camp.
If Buffalo does wait until the second round to draft a quarterback, the top two quarterbacks, West Virginia’s Geno Smith and USC’s Matt Barkley, will very likely be off the board. If Buffalo does want one of the top two quarterbacks in the draft, they will likely have to trade back into the first round. With the addition of Kolb, Buffalo will likely wait until they pick at 41st overall to draft a quarterback, unless they have fallen in love Smith or Barkley during the pre draft quarterback.
If Buffalo does draft a quarterback 8th overall, they will have the opportunity to sit and learn from the sidelines behind two veteran quarterbacks. This has worked well with Aaron Rodgers who sat behind Bret Favre for the first four years of his career. As hard as it might be for Buffalo to sit their rookie draft choice given the success recent rookies, Buffalo will be wise to let their rookie learn from a veteran.
Buffalo Bills new head coach, Doug Marrone, had some interesting things to say about how Kolb and his addition to Buffalo’s roster will affect their draft plans. Marrone said that Kolb’s addition would not affect their pre draft plans. This is interesting because most would think that they would wait to draft a quarterback and address other needs with their 1st round pick. Will Buffalo still draft a quarterback at 8 overall? One would think no, but they now have the flexibility with Kolb on the roster.
Buffalo is going to draft a quarterback at some point in the upcoming draft. The pressure to draft one in the first round is all but gone with the Kolb signing. Whether they still chose to draft one in the first round or not, they will have more options at eight.
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