BuddyNixon’s 2013 Buffalo Bills Draft Preview: Quarterback

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Updated: April 1, 2013
matt barkley

Welcome to the second installment of Buddy Nixon’s 2013 Draft Previews. The purpose of this series is to give you a quick overview of the players the Buffalo Bills will be evaluating heading into the draft, with special considerations about how they might fit into the team’s plans. Here, we’ll talk about the quarterbacks. Considering the lack of players the Bills currently have, veteran or otherwise, the Bills are not expected to make it past their second round pick without selecting one of the following players. Let’s take a look at what each bring’s to the the table.

Geno Smith – West Virginia (6-2, 218)

Geno Smith is the most complete QB in the draft.  He had a great offseason and a very good pro day, where Smith showed that he possesses a legitimate combination of NFL size, mobility, and arm strength. Geno is uniquely accurate and possesses the touch required to succeed.  He has a very quick release and can get the ball down field in a hurry. Smith looks to pass first when going through multiple reads. If he sees no one open, he knows when to take off and use his running ability.

Smith ran a spread offense from the shotgun his entire career in West Virginia, so he is going to have to adjust to a pro style offense from under center (which he did as a sophomore). The quarterback can be quite streaky like he was in 2012.  Despite that, there is nothing not to love about Smith’s demeanor. He can stand in the pocket and make every throw, which allowed him to put up gaudy stats on an under performing West Virginia team. The Bills would be lucky to get such a talent at 8 overall. Some people think Smith is not the best QB in the draft, but in my opinion he clearly is. Doug Marrone’s offense would flourish with a multifaceted talent like Smith. However, some may argue that Marrone did beat Syracuse three times in his tenure with Syracuse. Will the Bills put any water in that, and elect to draft someone that DID beat him (Barkley, twice)?  I do believe Smith goes to Jacksonville 2nd overall. The Raiders are another option, although they are nearing a trade for Matt Flynn.  I do not truly believe we will have a chance at him, but if we do! Game on, he will be our pick.

Smith has had a private workout and meeting with the Bills.

Projected Round: 1

Player Comparison: Aaron Rogers

Matt Barkley - USC (6-2, 227)

Matt Barkley could be the best fit for the Bills in the entire draft. That, combined with my belief he is a top 15 pick by NFL standards, leads me to believe he will be our pick at 8. But I thought he had bad arm strength? That’s not 60 yards in the air or anything. Barkley doesn’t have the world’s best arm like some of the other candidates (Bray, Smith, Wilson, Glennon). He has almost an identical throwing motion and arm comparison to the ever-so-popular Drew Brees. They both have a knee bend that helps with their throwing power, as seen below:

Matt B Drew B

Barkley is a very strong decision maker and would take advantage of every talented player on the field, much like he did with his USC receivers Marquise Lee and Robert Woods. Would it be far fetched to think the Bills could take Barkley in the first and Woods in the second round? Hey, the Colts did it with Andrew Luck and Colby Fleener. Barkley’s character and intangibles were evident in his decision to stay and school to go for national championship instead of going to the draft, where he was projected to be a top 5 pick. He is well versed in a pro style, west coast offense, and has the skill set to make Doug Marrone’s mouth drool. Marrone had said before Syracuse’s game against USC this year that he thought Barkley was more talented than Andrew Luck. Many think he would Barkley would be the perfect QB for Marrone’s system, and thus the Buffalo Bills. However, some wish he had a better arm, was more athletic, and somehow grow a few inches. I don’t think any of these things are a big deal. We saw Brees’ skills grow and develop, much like Matt Barkley ‘s would.

The Bills have a private workout and meeting set with Barkley.

Projected Round: 1

Player Comparison: Drew Brees

http://youtu.be/7U1dIfiKrQk

Tyler Wilson - Arkansas (6-2, 215)

Tyler Wilson is perhaps one of the most interesting prospects in the draft. He has the arm strength, athleticism,  gunslinger attitude, and can straight up play the game.  He has good size and strength to be a pocket passer and he can certainly take a hit, which he did frequently last year at Arkansas. This toughness showed a bit of his leadership ability by guiding a team deserted by the mental Bobby Petrino. Wilson has very impressive arm strength and hits receivers in stride. As far as recognition, he is very good at reading any type of defense and can just throw the ball from any release point. Wilson’s motion is a bit weird (much like Rivers) and he can under throw deep patterns. He holds the ball low and will be vulnerable to the infamous NFL strip sack fumble. Wilson showed the promise to be a top 10 pick after his 2011 campaign, but due to injuries and a much worse team, he took a slight step back. However, there is no denying his talent. I will even go as far as to say he will be good in the NFL in some respect.  When it comes to the Bills, he might be the type of player Marrone can rely on to run multiple different sets including the zone read and west coast offense.  I believe he will be the third QB off the board and be picked between 15 and 30. The Bills would have to move back up into round 1 from the second to get him, or snatch him with their 8th pick if Barkley and Smith are gone (or if they like Wilson more than the former). I could only dream about snatching him with pick 25-30 and drafting Patterson at 8. That is my favorite scenario for the first two picks.

He has not yet been worked out/scheduled to work out with Buffalo.

Projected Round: 1

Player Comparison: Phillip Rivers

http://youtu.be/FDt6saeTxHM

Ryan Nassib - Syracuse (6-2, 227)

As we all know, the Bills have been linked to Ryan Nassib on every front. Maybe this has to do with Marrone? Maybe it has to do with his stellar season? Maybe it has to do with Hackett? Maybe it has to do with the fact that Syracuse is in our backyard. In any event, Nassib has been called by many scouts and analysts one of the best QBs to come out this year. He is a guy who just does everything well. He has the arm strength to make every throw on the field, but is not elite in this category like others. He is a smart player who does a nice job with fakes, and holding defenders. Frankly, Nassib is just a gamer, much like Tony Romo. After Romo’s large contract, this could bode well for Nassib’s playing style. He is a very underrated player in this draft class and could go anywhere from 20-70.  He is a very good interview guy as well. Being a Bills fan, he looks like and reminds me of Ryan Fitzpatrick, especially with the slight hitch that he possesses. However, he could be a Tony Romo like surprise for someone in the second round. I really don’t see him being worse than Andy Dalton.

Buffalo has not had a workout or meeting with Nassib, although Marrone in no way would need one.

Projected Round: 2nd

Player Comparison: Tony Romo

EJ Manuel – Florida State (6-4, 237)

EJ might be the most promising dual threat QB this year. He has a boatload of athleticism, agility, and speed. He can run the zone read, and has the arm to flick the ball around. He has a tall and long frame, with a solid build. However, he holds the ball too long and needs to practice his decision making. He also looks to run too quickly. Manuel was 25-6 as a starter, showing that he can be a winner. He has had a really good offseason, and was probably the most impressive QB at the Senior Bowl. He is one of my favorite QBs this year, and I would not be disappointed if the Bills made him our QB for the 2013 season by picking him in the second round.

Buffalo had a private workout and meeting with Manuel. He came here on a visit.

Projected Round: 2nd

Player Comparison: Josh Freeman

Mike Glennon – NC State (6-7, 225)

Mike Glennon is very tall for the position and can see over defenders with ease. On the other hand, he looks really skinny on the field, and will need to beef up to stay healthy. Glennon has a strong passion for the game, but has a lot of learning to do with reads and progressions. Glennon has all of the physical tools coaches dream about. He had the strongest arm of all 6 candidates from the Senior Bowl. He can make any NFL throw asked of him. He has marginal athleticism and would really need to be protected in the pocket. Glennon could be a steal if teams are more concerned about mobility and let him slide. I don’t believe he would be the type of QB Doug Marrone would be looking for, but I would welcome him if he was the one we selected.

He has not yet been worked out/scheduled to work out with the Bills.

Projected Round: 2nd

Player Comparison: Joe Flacco

Landry Jones - Oklahoma (6-4, 225)

Landry Jones was a very productive college quarterback. He owns a very strong NFL arm that could really become elite soon. He is a truly mechanical QB that relies on his footwork and throwing motion over everything else. Jones throws a nice tight spiral, and can hit the sideline throw with ease. He possesses above-average accuracy when settled in the pocket or on the move. When Jones is pressured, he really struggles (much like all quarterbacks). He has really good height, and a nice strong build. The Oklahoma product has experience in the shotgun and under center, which would fit nicely with our system. His release is perfect, and can make the throw over the top. Additionally, Jones already has experience making pre-snap adjustments and audibles. He trusts his arm too much throwing into traffic. Landry needs to not lock on to 1 target as much as he does. Jones is very solid at play action, and can be deadly with the fake. He is a much better athlete than given credit for, which he can use to be successful on naked boots. A lot of people think he might be a can’t miss prospect that just has a lower ceiling than other QBs do.

Buffalo has already worked out and met with Jones.

Projected Round: 2nd

Player Comparison: Matt Ryan

Tyler Bray – Tennessee (6-6, 232)

 Bray has one of the strongest arms in the draft along with Glennon; his throws reveal natural, unteachable velocity. When he is able to step into throws, he is one of the best in the business and is extremely dangerous on post patterns and deep throws, and might be the most dangerous deep passer in the draft. He would be a nice change from the Bills old game manager types that we’ve had recently. He has developed a very quick, yet somewhat awkward release. However, it’s not much of an issue because he’s so big. He sometimes has happy feet, and doesn’t remember proper mechanics. He has marginal escaping skills and mobility, both are a work in progress. Bray has no regards for tight coverage, and will try to gun sling around the field. Bray’s arm and aggressiveness could allow him to step in and be a factor right away.

Buffalo has already worked out and met with Bray.

Projected: 3rd Round

Player Comparison: Jay Cutler

Matt Scott – Arizona (6-2, 213)

Scott has a very good arm and release for his draft “level” as a later round prospect. He is a dual threat option that might be coming out at the right point with the influx of zone read concepts in NFL offenses. Scott can throw the deep ball very well and can make most throws. He looks to pass first, although he has very good agility if he needs to take off. Scott is always  looking downfield with good ability while on the run. He is ultra-tough, having played through a concussion at one point, and is willing to step up and take a hit. However, he started just 17 games at Arizona and missed one game last year. He needs to learn how to play in a pro offense and how to take snaps under center. Has a slight 3/4 release point which makes his lack of preferred height even more of an issue. Scott needs to put his receivers in a position to make the play. His arm talent makes some of his throws come in hot and high. Scott will require some fine-tuning in the NFL. Do not be surprised if he is taken in the third round, similar to Russell Wilson if a team likes him enough. I truly believe he won’t last past pick 105 (our 4th).  He is my favorite developmental guy, and really the only one that exists this year. We will be holding a personal workout with him soon, much like the others. With that in mind, I think we have some real interest in him. I think we might need to trade up 10-20 spots from the 4th to grab him. He will be worth it.

Buffalo will have a private meeting and workout with Scott in a week.

Projected: 4th Round

Player Comparison: Russell Wilson

Wrap Up

This looks to be a very deep group of quarterbacks; all nine players on this list possess the talent to be elite NFL players at the position. In a very QB hungry league, look for all of these players to come off the board in the top 100 picks. I really don’t believe many (outside of potentially Scott) are on the board much later than the start of the 4th. Like I have said in our podcast, and many times over twitter, I don’t believe there is a much better year to want a QB at 8. There is no elite talent like Luck, Newton, Griffin, Rivers, Manning, Stafford, Ryan, or Bradford. However there are plenty of capable starters like Dalton, Schaub, or Romo. This is the year scouts can really excel and prove their worth. There are going to be 1 or 2 stars out of these 9. Who will they be? Let’s leave that up to our front office to pick the right one.

BuddyNixon’s Pick(s)

Matt Barkley 1st round (8) – I believe that Geno Smith will be off the board, and we will turn to the second most polished player  (that is if he is still available). If not, I could see us reaching on a QB here, or taking the BPA and trading up, or using 41 on a QB.

Matt Scott – 4th round (105) – I truly believe we might be going with two QBs in this draft class to go along with the battle of Kolb vs Jackson. There is no hiding the fact that we like Scott’s versatility and new school style of play. He would be a very good person to groom as a backup to the first a la Washington with Kirk Cousins. If Scott is gone and someone else falls, I could see us using this selection to nab one of the final remaining QBs on this list to supplement our first or second round pick.