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Mel Kiper doesn't view Bills as team that needs a QB in the first round

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A handful of us local media types advocate the Buffalo Bills consider something unusual this year and draft another quarterback in the first round.

ESPN draft monger Mel Kiper apparently doesn't agree with Jay Skurski, Joe Buscaglia and me.

Kiper, when breaking down quarterbacks in May's draft, doesn't consider the Bills a team in need of a quarterback. But he projects a quality quarterback prospect could be available when the Bills pick ninth.

"It's going to be an interesting first round, particularly the early portion, because you have five of the top eight teams picking overall needing quarterbacks," Kiper said.

Kiper's Big Board is a ranking of players based on how he views their ability, not necessarily what order they'll be selected. Teams have different needs, after all.

Kiper's latest ratings were posted Wednesday. He listed Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater eighth, Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles ninth and Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel 12th.

All three could be gone before the Bills are on the draft clock.

"They get an automatic bump because they're quarterbacks," Kiper said. "But be careful. These are not Andrew Luck, RGIII-type quarterbacks coming out. They're up there, but they're not one, two, three, four, and that's where the teams that are picking need quarterbacks."

The Bills had their pick of the entire QB draft class last year and traded back for Florida State's EJ Manuel. His rookie season was a disappointment, with three different knee injuries and erratic performances.

My stance is the Bills can't move forward as a franchise until they have a quarterback, and ignoring the very real possibility that Manuel won't pan out would be wasting another precious season of the organization's overall development.

Double down. Get it right.

So what if "It's just not done" in the NFL?

The Baltimore Colts were the last to draft quarterbacks in the first round in consecutive seasons. They picked Art Schlichter fourth overall in 1982 and John Elway first overall in 1983. But even that situation comes with an asterisk because the Colts knew they'd have to trade Elway eventually.

The Los Angeles Rams were the last team to do it with the intention of moving forward with both (or, in this case, all of them). They went QB in the first round three straight years: Roman Gabriel second overall in 1962, Terry Baker first overall in 1963 and Bill Munson seventh overall in 1964.

In NFL history, first-round quarterbacks in consecutive seasons has happened six times.

A local note on Kiper's Big Board: University at Buffalo pass-rusher Khalil Mack is fifth, down one spot from Kiper's previous rankings.

"The Senior Bowl will be big for Mack, who really only gets knocked on competition level," Kiper wrote. "But I've said before you really have to watch him play and see how he lines up all over the field and can do everything.

"He is versatile and capable of rushing the passer with quickness and power, dropping into coverage, shedding tackles and making plays in the open field. He uses proper leverage to take on blocks and drive people back and uses quickness and strong hands to shed. Plays with a great motor, but smart."

  • Nycbills

    Bills should draft a qb with their first pick in every draft moving forward until they get it right. Who cares that other teams never do this. Other teams also don't miss the playoffs 14 straight years either.

  • MaoSayTongue

    What can Kalil Mack do that CJ Mosely can't? He did everything--at a higher level (SEC)--that Mack did except stripping the ball from WRs a lot early in the year.

    Mack is listed everywhere at 6-3 248, which could trump Mosely's 6-2 238--if true. But there is no way that Mack is 6-3; 6-1 is more like it. The 248 is more possible, but I think he's closer to 228.

    Once Mack gets measured at the combine, he'll drop--UNLESS he becomes the next Aaron Maybin.

    • Michael Tomesco

      As someone who's seen Mack in person, let me tell you -- he is every bit of 6-3, 248. Aaron Maybin he most certainly is not.

      • MaoSayTongue

        Maybin had a better senior year . . ..

  • Paul Bruhns

    Kiper may be the draft "monger" but since when does he know anything? He's never worked for any amateur or professional football organization in any capacity. He's a glorified fantasy football player. Come on, man!

  • Paul Bruhns

    Kiper may be the draft "monger" but since when does he know anything? He's never worked for any amateur or professional football organization in any capacity. He's a glorified fantasy football player. Come on, man!

  • Sean Mahoney

    Mel Kiper seems to have a rigid belief system on how he thinks things need to be done in the draft and he doesn't like it when someone goes outside of that framework. He didn't like the EJ Manuel pick last year and now that some people think the Bills should consider taking a QB, he thinks they should ignore the current QB class because they did take him. Not only is there still a question mark on how EJ Manuel will pan out, but the Bills had a shortage at the QB position last year that hurt them. At the very least, taking a good QB in the draft hedges the position for the Bills and provides a back up if Manuel does pan out. It's hard to find the right QB and there usually isn't a great crop out there on any given year. When there is, the Bills may not be in a position to grab one, as in the year that Luck and RGIII went. They should consider taking one if they have the chance. They have other needs but they aren't as hard to fill.

    Mel Kiper also doesn't seem to have a high opinion of the Bills and his mediocre draft projections for them over the years reflects that bias more than reality does. He will often project the Bills to take a lesser player at a needs position when his board will show a better one going to another team later in the draft. So Bills fans shouldn't buy into his opinion when it comes to their team.

    Basically, his way of thinking is becoming archaic and his opinion will eventually become irrelevant if he doesn't grow with the sport. The NFL changes and that's why the game will pass some coaches by. It can pass draft analyst by just as well.

  • chas territo

    Kiper just put the kiss of death on OUR QB and that is and will be EJ Manuel!! To the posters who think EJ is not our QB, all I will say is STFU! Simple, right? Then do it! GO BILLS!!

    • MaoSayTongue

      Jungle fever?

  • Robert McAvoy

    I would like to think that it is simply a QB that separates the Bills from the play-offs, but most know better. The biggest reason is for every hole they fill, they create another. When you have a history of not keeping your good players(Levitre, Lynch, Williams, MaGahee, Fletcher, Clements, Whitner, Peters, and soon Byrd and Stevie, and next year CJ, and the following year, Dareus...it not only creates new holes on the team, but causes other players in the league to make Buffalo a last destination.
    For one year, I would like the Buffalo fans be unified, put aside their jealousy of the players salaries, and demand that Ralph, Doug and Russ re-sign their good play ers (i.e. All Pro Byrd) and add to the team by drafting well (and they have not been too bad lately). Also, one year with EJ is not enough to judge. Ideally, he would not have started at all this year until week 12, and Kolb would have stayed healthy...but it did not happen. Draft to fix the hole on the OLine (preferably tackle) in the first, WR in the 2nd (or vice versa) and another CB would not hurt in the 3rd.

    • Sean Mahoney

      I agree with you on keeping the good players and that EJ Manuel needs more time before he can be properly evaluated (personally, I'm hoping he works out). It's one thing if a player is asking for more money than he may be worth but Byrd is worth it and so was Levitre. I'm still for them considering a QB in the draft just in case. If all goes well for Manuel, the new QB can be a back up or a trade in the making. If he doesn't work out, the Bills won't have to wait an indeterminate number of years for a new crop of good QBs to pop up that coincides with their position to draft one. I think the problems with the O-Line could be addressed through free agency. If not, go O-Line in the draft instead.

      • Robert McAvoy

        You are a smart man and a well informed football fan.

      • chas territo

        You make a good point or two, but not all are good. I agree whole heartedly on EJ and developing him. How I see it is, we get a QB coach, then a veteran QB FA or draft a QB after the 4th-5th round. No sense wasting a higher pick on a back up.1st round, Big fast TE like Ebron. Imagine this scenario, Ebron straight up the middle, 10 yds or so, he turns, the ball arrives, he catches it and from there it's all a matter of being tackled or not. Then think about the Red Zone with Ebron. 2 problems solved with one player. Now Evans is a good choice as well, but he will take passes away from our good crop of receivers. I do like Evans, but not when I think about both, I just see Ebron as the better choice. One more thing to think about. Ebron as the 1st check is quick, he's open or not then EJ looks down his choice of WR's to pass to.Just think how surprised and out of place defenders would be and add to that if the defense keys on him we go elsewhere, after all they can't cover every WR we have all the time.

        2nd round, an ILB who is good run stuffer and coverage LB. He would possibly solve the problem our defense has stopping the run.

        3rd round, O-Line help

        4th round, maybe another O-lineman or a Safety, only if we don't sign Byrd, if he signs then grab a CB. The rest of the draft, pick and choose as to who is left.

        Now I wrote that based on what "I" think we need now. What does anybody think of my "Mock" draft? Sensible and real or???? GO BILLS!!

    • ptato22

      Like your points, but let's get another LB and stop the run. Fix up Byrd's contract and the secondary is OK. Let's see if Whaley & Brandon are serious and willing to pay to keep good players and bring in other talent that's needed. Mario was a good buy (although some will still argue against him as people in Buffalo hate players making too much money for some reason) so let's see another few this off-season. They have a young team, so filling a few holes with quality veterans off free agency would help and add leadership (possibly playoff experience as well).

      • Robert McAvoy

        Good points on the LB. I could live with that, if they either sign a free agent tackle like Oher, or draft one in the 2nd.

    • Michael Amadori

      I could not agree more! The past 10 years its always the same thing. We let good players walk and create a hole and have to fill it again. No signing Levitre also hurt the QB development and RB potential. CJ was getting hit when he took the handoff sometimes. Now we have to draft an O-line man.

      We need to STOP letting good players leave.

      • chas territo

        You evidently missed the truth about Levitre?? He wanted more money and length than the Bills were to pay because HE over demanded his worth.The Bills were not, a) Cheap, b) Dumb for refusing to sign him. They showed fiscal responsibility by not signing him because his position does not get those kind f contracts!! GO BILLS!!

    • chas territo

      Everyone of the players you mentioned did 2 things wrong,1-overpriced themselves,2-refused to negotiate a fair contract! Get it right, the Bills were forced into a corner by all the players you listed! Plus a few of them had off field concerns that put the Bills in a bad public view, they did what they felt was right for the Bills. NO player should ever be put before the organization, ever!! GO BILLS!!

      • Robert McAvoy

        It is OK if you are satisfied with a cheap, perennially 5-11 team that makes the fans feel sorry for the owner. That is OK. Most Bills fans want more and expect the team to get better. But, if you want 14 more years of ineptitude, by all means, you can want that.

        • chas territo

          That's such a tired, old and incorrect statement about Ralph being cheap!! HE IS NOT AND NEVER WAS CHEAP!! Need proof, just look a little closer at the signings he agreed upon! Mario, Stevie, and many others all got good, not cheap contracts. This rumor or BS started years ago and even then it was not true< media, dude?? Do you not see how the media can distort, abuse or just plain lie in some stories they talk or write about? If a person like you says something he HEARD and then someone else passes it on, then one more passes it along, do you know what you have? Do you? You have a damn RUMOR! GO BILLS!!

          • MaoSayTongue

            Wilson was NEVER cheap?

            How do you explain-away the 70s? There was no salary cap back then and Welfare Ralphieboy kept trading/releasing some of the Bills best players (JD Hill, Ahmad Rashad, and Bob Chandler come immediately to mind) just because he didn't want to pay them.

            Wilson has always been a bad owner. In the 60s he traded-away Darryl Lamonica because of a queerish mancrush on his washed-up hometown (Detroit) hero, Jack Kemp.

            The Bills' will be good once Welfare Ralphieboy joins Ariel Sharon in HELL!

          • chas territo

            You are one really F**Ked up person!! How my comment matters is in the now, today, this year, this decade! Not what may or may not have happened in the 60's or 70's, NOW!! As for your petty name calling, a childish Remark if ever written is comically said by a dumb f**k like you!! Stop writing to me, commenting back or to make it simple enough for a dummy to understand, I will not reply to you, the dumbest pissant that can type, ever again. So bring your crap all you want, you will get nothing back other than others reading what a jack arse you are! GO BILLS!!

          • MaoSayTongue

            " HE IS NOT AND NEVER WAS CHEAP!! "--C Territo

            "How my comment matters is in the now, today, this year, this decade!"--C Teritto
            Which is it? YOU said that he "WAS NEVER CHEAP."
            NEVER cheap? See above.

  • Randy Mccloud

    All this column did for me is comfirm what I alread know...most sports columnists are idiots. Any sports writer that thinks the Bills would spend another first round pick on a QB is out of touch with reality. Any sports writer that thinks they should is just stupid. EJ Manuel missed 6 games...wait...2 preseason games, 4 weeks of training camp, 6 regular season games, and about 4-5 weeks of practice time during the regular season, and Tim Graham can't understand why he didn't play better. Yes, he was erratic...most ROOKIES are, even with a whole preseason, and 16 starts, but Tim can't understand why EJ wasn't better. Everybody said going into the draft EJ had tremendous potential, with a very high ceiling, but would need developement. That's exactly what I saw on the field...a QB with great potential, and a high ceiling, but needs more developement....but Tim Graham can't understand why he wasn't better.

    • chas territo

      Randy, Tim G. isn't the only one discrediting EJ. A lot of our impatient and misguided fans do the same thing constantly. They just don't seem to get what it takes for a rookie QB to get developed. You got it 100% correct. GO BILLS!!

  • Robert McAvoy

    I wanted to make sure my facts were correct about the Bills being too cheap to keep their good players. In 2013, the Bills had the 7th most salary cap remaining (i.e. they were the 7th Cheapest Team); this year, they have the 6th most space, with $28 mm under the cap. I can only go by the facts as presented by the NFL and not someone's apologetic rants in support of Ralph Wilson, et al. The only teams with more cap room than the Bills, in both years, were Cleveland and Jacksonville. which is not exactly the role models a team should follow. You have to spend to keep your good players. Our former good players went to: Eagles in the play-offs, 49ers: in the play-offs; Saints: in the play-offs; Seahawks: in the play-offs; Titans: not in the play-offs. Four out of 5 felt those players were worth the money and they made the play-offs.

    • chas territo

      If what you really meant was the word prudent, then you make sense, if not you make no sense because the Bills are not CHEAP, they are fiscally responsible and no one can truthfully say otherwise!! GO BILLS!!

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About the reporters

Vic Carucci returned to The Buffalo News as a Bills beat reporter in September. Carucci covered the Bills for 17 years before joining NFL.com as a columnist in 1999. Prior to rejoining The News, he spent three years as a senior editor for the Cleveland Browns.

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida.