Bills GM Fakes Everyone Out At Draft
By Stan Chrapowicki
Maybe Buddy Nix should change his name to Buddy Tricks. After making the two most surprising moves in the first round of the NFL Draft Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall, the Buffalo Bills GM showed that he can pull a fast one on anyone.
Not only did Nix make the biggest trade of the night, dealing the eighth pick to the St. Louis Rams for the 16th pick, he used what he acquired from Jeff Fisher’s club to select a quarterback who might not have been in anyone’s mock draft – Florida State signal caller EJ Manuel.
Nix can be definitely knocked for making some dubious moves – the megadeals he gave Ryan Fitzpatrick and Mario Williams certainly come to mind, but in this case he deserves credit for several reasons: 1) he kept Tavon Austin, who was eventually selected by the Rams with that aforementioned eighth pick, out of the AFC East (the Jets were said to be hot for the former West Virginia wideout); 2) he landed a QB he might be able to build around and 3) the trade with the Rams allowed him to add another pick -- the Bills dealt their original first-round pick and third-round pick (71st overall) in this year’s draft, but also got back the No. 16, No. 46, No. 78 and the No. 222 selections in return, according to NFL.com.
Plus, you have to believe new coach Doug Marrone and the rest of the Bills’ brain trust saw something special enough in Manuel that would make Buffalo pass on not only former Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib but these fellow signal callers as well: West Virginia’s Geno Smith, USC’s Matt Barkley, N.C. State’s Mike Glennon and Tennessee’s Tyler Bray.
And before Manuel gets lumped with the JaMarcus Russells of the world, the former Seminole does have several impressive credentials. For starters, he is 6-5 and weighs 237 pounds, which theoretically should make him tough to bring down. (For the record, he was sacked 64 times in 43 games with Florida State). Having completed 66.9% of his passes for 47 TDs and 28 INTs, he is the most accurate passer in Florida State history. He can also run, rushing for 827 yards and 11 TDs in college, which helped him finish 25-6 as the Seminoles’ starter.
On the flip side, Manuel does have flaws, but apparently so does every other player who hasn’t been drafted yet. As the NFL extravaganza enters rounds two and three today, those players include Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o; Alabama running back Eddie Lacy; linebackers Arthur Brown of Kansas State and Kevin Minter of LSU; Stanford tight end Zach Ertz; Florida State offensive tackle Menelik Watson and Texas A&M defensive lineman Damontre Moore.
So when you consider that Nix still has six picks to make over the next two days, he might not be done with his draft tricks, which might not be a bad thing for the Bills.