Cleaning out the draft notebook, 10 days after general manager Buddy Nix and coach Doug Marrone offered their assessment of the Bills’ lottery.
WHEN ASKED to sum up Buffalo’s selections, Nix said, “We felt like we stayed with the board. (Of course,) everybody says that. Everybody says they do not draft for need, but basically you do some. We stayed with our grades and we think we filled a bunch of holes. It remains to be seen (but) we feel good about it. We think we got them at the right position and we think they’re good players.”
As for the quarterback position?
After the Bills took Florida State’s EJ Manuel in the first round, and Geno Smith went to the Jets in the second, two other leading candidates — Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib and USC’s Matt Barkley — tumbled into the fourth round.
“It really, at first, kind of shocked me a little bit,” Nix admitted. “But when you think about it, people were worried about this quarterback class. The hype or the lack of it got people concerned and they went out and tried to give themselves some insurance, bringing in veteran quarterbacks. It made that not be a priority in the first few picks.
“I think once that got started and they started hanging on and staying out there that people worried there might be something they did not know. They slide a lot of the time and you think, ‘Well if this guy is still there somebody knows something I do not know.’”
MARRONE, however, was bothered that Nassib, his QB with the Orange, who some “experts” predicted would be taken by the Bills in the opening round, lasted to the 110th pick where the Giants traded up to get him.
On the Friday night that the second and third rounds were completed, Buffalo’s first-year coach was asked about Nassib still not having been selected.
“I’m extremely surprised,” Marrone admitted. “I think the world of Ryan. He has a strong work ethic, he’s a tough kid, he has a very good arm and I think he’ll be a great addition to whatever team selects him. He has the skillset to be successful in this league. I wish him the best of luck and I really believe a team will select him soon.”
Of himself, he added, “You’re coming from a team with players that you’ve recruited. You love those kids and you love what they’ve done for you. They have great qualities. Prior to taking this job, I talked to multiple teams in the league about (Nassib) and I’ve had nothing but great things to say about (him). You have feelings for (him). (He) helped get me where I am right now and we’ve been through a lot.”
Marrone pointed out, “You take a job and you do what you have to do. You do what’s best for the organization that you are at. At the same time, the human side and the feelings that you have ... it’s hard. I’d be remiss if I didn’t tell you that it does hurt.”
However, Nassib was finally picked the next day, 13 selections after Marrone’s monologue.
When asked how he felt about old friend Tom Coughlin taking his Syracuse QB, he admitted, “I’m not going to lie, I’m very happy. And I’m happier that they’re in the NFC ... that Ryan’s there.”
AS FOR Buffalo’s selections, he added, “We’ve drafted some players that have some very good skills and (we) should be able to get them to maybe compete and be very good professional football players.
“As a coach I take a lot of pride in developing players. At the end of the day that’s what we have to do. We have players on our team that have skill, but it’s our job as coaches when we have them on the field to develop them. I know as a coach that’s what I’ve taken the most pride in.”
Of course, Nix, at age 73, has admitted thinking about stepping down and many in the media assumed that would take place once he drafted the quarterback the Bills have so desperately needed in recent years, that might happen.
But when asked about it, a week ago Saturday, Nix maintained, “(My being GM) has not changed. When it does, one of these days I’ll shock you and tell you then ... but it has not.”
(Chuck Pollock, the Times Herald sports editor, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)