The Buffalo Bills may be finally realizing that Ryan Fitzpatrick is not the franchise quarterback they thought they were getting when they signed him to a lucrative contract extension during the middle of last season. Faced with the possibility that many jobs may be on the line if the team continues to struggle, Buffalo GM Buddy Nix knows that the time is now for a major turnaround that transforms the Bills from pretenders into contenders in the AFC Playoff picture.
That may all start with trading up in the 2013 NFL Draft to select a quarterback early in the first round. If that is the case, the top two quarterbacks likely to be drafted are Matt Barkley of the USC Trojans and Geno Smith of the West Virginia Mountaineers. Either would serve as the future franchise signal caller in Buffalo.
“Let me say this: I think there’s a time that in the era that you’re in and the development of your team, there’s a time when you can move up a round to take a quarterback,” Nix said on WGR-AM, via the Buffalo News. “And I think the time’s now for us.
“I mean, if a guy’s there — I keep saying that, and there’ll be one out there — if the guy’s there, then I think we’ll target — as I’ve said before — drafting a good quarterback. We need a good, young quarterback, and we’re going to do our best to get him.”
After watching how successful rookie quarterbacks have been over the past season, including Andrew Luck of the Indianapolis Colts, Robert Griffin III of the Washington Redskins and Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, as well as what last season’s QB draftees have accomplished, Nix is cognizant of the fact that players no longer have to sit for a year or two before making an impact. They can do so during their rookie season, as has been evidenced by so many quarterbacks over the last two years.
But Nix is not foolish. He knows that Fitzpatrick is not the only problem. If you don’t have enough talented wide receivers to throw the ball to, it really doesn’t matter who your starting quarterback is under center. The Miami Dolphins and Cleveland Browns are finding that out with Ryan Tannehill and Brandon Weeden, as neither organization has equipped its two first round future franchise quarterbacks with enough weapons on offense, especially at the wide receiver position.
“I look at Cincinnati last night,” Nix said. “There’s Marvin Lewis. He’s been 10 years … I don’t know what their record was for the first six or seven years. Then they take A.J. Green and Andy Dalton. That duo has really turned them around and made them a playoff contender.”
Nix and the Bills are going to need to do something soon, or they Buffalo will continue to wallow in mediocrity, while Nix looks for a new job.