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Wayne Post
  • Risk vs. reward: The Bills’ need for a quarterback trumps pick value

  • In Buddy Nix’s three years as general manager of the Buffalo Bills, he hasn’t drafted a quarterback higher than the seventh round. That has to stop this year. It’s time to take a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick today.

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  • To succeed in the National Football League, teams need to have a good quarterback. Just look at the last five Super Bowl champions — the Baltimore Ravens, New York Giants, Green Bay Packers, New Orleans Saints and Pittsburgh Steelers — every one of those teams featured a top-level quarterback.
    Those teams all developed those quarterbacks from young rookies into superstars, with the lone exception being Drew Brees, who came back from a shoulder injury he suffered while with the San Diego Chargers. Good quarterbacks don’t usually come in free agency or from other teams’ scrap heaps.
    In Buddy Nix’s three years as general manager of the Buffalo Bills, he hasn’t drafted a quarterback higher than the seventh round. That has to stop this year. It’s time to take a quarterback with the No. 8 overall pick today.
    At the team’s draft luncheon last week, Nix said there are two or three players in the draft that will become franchise quarterbacks. If that’s true, there’s no reason the Bills shouldn’t be selecting one with their first pick.
    The Bills passed up the opportunity to grab quarterbacks like Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson in recent years. Maybe Nix and his staff liked them, but not enough to select them at their draft position. Buffalo is not in a position where it can hope a quarterback is still there in the second round. They can’t rely on other teams to pass on a player and let him fall to their next pick.
    Even if taking a quarterback at No. 8 would be perceived as a “reach” by the media, they should do it. They need to throw the concept of value out the window and take a player at their biggest need.
    Fans are going to be angry if the team drafts a guard, defensive end, safety, cornerback or running back. Buffalo hasn’t had a viable quarterback since Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season. If Nix doesn’t come out of the first or second round with a quarterback, he should pack up his things at One Bills Drive.
    So who should the Bills take? I wouldn’t be angry with any quarterback in the first round, but I like both USC’s Matt Barkley and Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib. If I had to pick one, it’d be Nassib. He made new Buffalo coach Doug Marrone a success with the Orange and has been working out with Paul Hackett, Bills offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett’s father.
    Buffalo would look silly if they passed on Nassib and he went on to become a superstar for another team, while the Bills were stuck with the next J.P. Losman.
    My second-round pick would be a big wide receiver who is open even when he’s covered. If they’re available, I’d take either of the Tennessee receivers, Cordarrelle Patterson or Justin Hunter.
    Page 2 of 2 - Here’s who the rest of the Messenger Post Media sports staff thinks Buffalo should draft.
    Bryan Sullivan
    Projected Pick: Jonathan Cooper, guard, North Carolina
    The Bills will avoid reaching for a quarterback in a draft that is weak for the position. Cooper provides a need on the offensive line following the departure of Andy Levitre. Cooper, who played center and guard for the Tar Heels, is quick for an offensive lineman and has excellent hands. Many fans will want to see the team select a quarterback, but they have other needs and quarterback can be addressed later in the draft. Expect Cooper to go into the season as a starter, blocking for Kevin Kolb.
    Paul Gangarossa
    Project pick: Chance Warmack, guard, Alabama
    Warmack fits an immediate need and can start day one. As much as I like the idea of Nassib, I don’t think he’s a day one starter. That means, the Bills have this draft and next year’s draft to find a quarterback they’re crazy about. Kolb will likely start and play much of the season. If he fails, no rookie will come in and save the day. Warmack is big, tough, and tested by the best in college football. Getting Nassib, Tyler Bray, Landry Jones or Mike Glennon in later rounds is still possible.
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