2013 NFL Draft primer: Buffalo Bills
The future stars of the NFL are almost here. The first round of the 2013 Draft kicks off on April 25, and every team will look to build for both present and future. This is the eighth in a two-a-day, 30-part series that looks at each team and which potential first-round picks would be a good fit.
PICK NO. 8: BUFFALO BILLS
2012 record: 6-10
Key offseason acquisitions:
Kevin Kolb, quarterback
Alan Branch, defensive tackle
Manny Lawson, linebacker
Bryan Scott, linebacker
Key offseason departures:
Andy Levitre, guard
Ryan Fitzpatrick, quarterback
Chris Kelsay, defensive end (retired)
George Wilson, safety
Nick Barnett, linebacker
Donald Jones, wide receiver
David Nelson, wide receiver
Biggest holes in roster: Quarterback, guard, wide receiver, defensive end
Of all the teams picking in the top 10, the Bills may be the biggest wild card. They could go a number of ways, and the pick that they do make could have a ripple effect throughout the rest of the draft.
First things first: New QB Kevin Kolb isn't much of an upgrade over Ryan Fitzpatrick, if he's even considered one at all. Kolb has never started more than nine games in a season and has a 9-12 record.
So it's very possible that the Bills take a quarterback with the eighth overall pick. The popular choice would be West Virginia's Geno Smith, who many scouts have pegged as the top overall signal-caller. Smith has a big arm and mobility, but his biggest draw is that he ran a spread-option offense at West Virginia - an offense similar to the one that Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick, Robert Griffin III and Cam Newton have revolutionized at the pro level. If new head coach Doug Marrone is willing to adapt his West Coast-based offense to fit Smith's strengths, they could take him here.
Or they could have another quarterback in mind - one that Marrone is already very familiar with. We're talking, of course, about Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib. Nassib flourished in his senior year under Marrone's guidance, setting single-season school records in passing yards (3,749), passing TDs (26) and passing yards per game (288.4). He's more of a traditional pro-style, drop-back quarterback, and his knowledge of Marrone's offense would eliminate a good portion of the typical rookie learning curve.
The catch? Taking Nassib eighth overall would be a huge reach. Many scouts have him pegged as a late-first/early-second round pick, arguing that he's not 100 percent ready to step into a starting job right away. So the Bills have three options: take Nassib eighth overall and pass up on some other, more pro-ready prospects; trade down or take someone else in another position at No. 8, sweat it out and hope he falls to them at pick number 41.
Let's say the Bills decide to pass (no pun intended) on Smith and Nassib in the first round. They could nab Andy Levitre's replacement and pick Alabama left guard Chance Warmack, a road grader who could open up some nice holes for C.J. Spiller. They could pick up Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro, a playmaker that can do a little bit of everything. They could keep rebuilding their defense with an edge rusher like BYU's Ezekiel "Ziggy" Ansah or LSU's Barkevious Mingo. Or they could trade back and pick up a No. 2 receiver in Tennessee's Cordarrelle Patterson, Cal's Keenan Allen or West Virginia's Tavon Austin - provided the Bills find someone who can get them the ball.