Saturday, April 30, 2011
Buffalo's QB option didn't materialize
By Tim Graham
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix said "there were some shockers" when it came to first-round quarterbacks.
Those surprises, however, didn't take Buffalo off the quarterback scent.
The chance to take Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus with the third pick played a bigger role in their decision not to get a quarterback within the first two rounds.
"We didn't think Marcell would be there," Nix said Friday night, minutes after taking Texas cornerback Aaron Williams. "Now, the whole thing, leading up to it until the last day or two, we thought he'd be gone. But when [Auburn quarterback Cam] Newton was gone and [Dareus] was there, it was an easy pick."
Whispers around One Bills Drive were that the Bills would look hard at a quarterback at No. 3 or go with a defender there and then try to get a quarterback at No. 34.
The latter option became less likely when Washington quarterback Jake Locker went eighth to the Tennessee Titans, Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert went 10th to the Jacksonville Jaguars and Florida State quarterback Christian Ponder went 12th to the Minnesota Vikings.
It was the first time three quarterbacks went within the first 10 picks since 1999 and only the third time it ever happened in NFL history.
"We're to the point -- and I think I said this a lot of times -- with the first pick, we wanted a franchise guy," Nix said. "If he wasn't there, then we were going to get better on defense and work on needs if the right guy was there."
Nix conceded the Bills still have to address quarterback at some point. They have only two -- incumbent starter Ryan Fitzpatrick and sophomore project Levi Brown -- under contract.
"We are still going to go to camp with probably four quarterbacks," Nix said. "So that's not to say we won't take one in the draft, but it's also not to say we wouldn't go after a veteran to be a backup for us and then take another arm to camp. It might be a college free agent."