Wednesday, April 9, 2014
Buffalo Bills draft preview: Quarterback
By Mike Rodak
As we step away on vacation, we'll provide a position-by-position preview of next month's draft from a Buffalo Bills perspective:
Current personnel: EJ Manuel (signed through 2016), Thad Lewis (2014), Jeff Tuel (2015) and Dennis Dixon (2015)
Draft need: Moderate
State of the position: This is the weakest position on the Bills' roster. Whether it was Manuel, Lewis or Tuel at the helm last season, the Bills ranked near the bottom of the league in almost every passing statistic. The effect of Manuel's inexperience, his injuries or offensive line play can be debated endlessly, but the reality is that this position must improve significantly if the Bills are to break their streak of missing the playoffs. General manager Doug Whaley has expressed a remarkable level of confidence in his backups -- Lewis and Tuel -- and decided not to pursue any veteran alternatives in free agency or on the trade market. That speaks to an "all-in" approach on Manuel and creates a make-or-break situation for the second-year quarterback.
The Bills won't draft a quarterback in the first round but it would not be shocking if they went for one in the later rounds. Whaley likes to talk about how any new signal-caller will be a year behind Manuel, Lewis and Tuel in learning the system, but it would be a mistake not to continue to add and groom young talent at the position. The Bills have shown a preference for mobile quarterbacks and that's where they could turn in the draft.
Sweet spot: Mid-to-late rounds.
Possible targets: Tajh Boyd (Clemson), Logan Thomas (Virginia Tech), Stephen Morris (Miami)