The Bills made the smart play by trading down to draft quarterback E.J. Manuel, and then took a risk investing in unrealized potential.
The reaction across the country among fans and football media has been polarized. For what it's worth, I like what is says about the philosophy the Bills seem to be taking under new president Russ Brandon, and new head coach Doug Marrone.
I've said for weeks I didn't think any of the quarterbacks in this draft were worthy of a top ten pick. Apparently I wasn't alone. All but Manuel fell out of the first round.
The reason Manuel didn't, and why the Bills took him, is because of raw talent, combined with the intangibles that are so vital at the quarterback position.
He's got great size at 6'4" and 237lbs. He's got a strong arm. He can run. He's got some issues with his throwing motion, pocket presence, and decision making in terms of forcing the football. He's a smart kid who has charisma and the qualities of a leader.
Would you have been happier with someone else?
Ryan Nassib... limited size and mobility, questionable accuracy, forces throws. Familiarity with Marrone, Hackett and the offense only takes you so far. Talent wins in the end.
Matt Barkley... questionable arm strength and accuracy downfield and would be issues playing in cold weather.
Geno Smith... terrific athlete. Master of the short passing game but can he throw it downfield consistently.
They all had issues. The question is who's the guy that's most versatile and can fit the Bills scheme. Who's the guy that's got the most talent and when he realizes that potential can be the long awaited and ever so elusive answer at quarterback for this franchise.
I think the Bills may have answered it with action and not just words.
I'll agree it's a risky and bold move. I like the fact they traded down before making it and still had the chance to take the quarterback they wanted in this draft.
They have Kevin Kolb for the short term, but that's not what Thursday night was about. This was about the long term answer.
The Bills felt strongly about this kid and acted on it while also giving themselves a better chance to deal with other needs.
They've taken a lot of heat for bad decisions. Let's at least give them time to see if this is a good...
or maybe even great one.