Fitzpatrick fine, but Bills still watching QBs

Buffalo Bills head coach Chan Gailey has been vocal in his support of quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick.

The career backup stepped forth and produced a career year in 2010, giving Bills fans reason to think about other positions when the Bills draft third overall in three months.

Bills general manager Buddy Nix, however, won't rule out a quarterback. The obvious candidates would be Auburn's Cam Newton and Missouri's Blaine Gabbert.

"We certainly like Fitz," Nix told Buffalo News reporter Mark Gaughan during preparations for the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. The Bills are coaching the South squad.

Fitzpatrick's performance "wasn't more than we expected because I knew Chan would get him to play better," Nix said. "We counted on that and he did. I really like him. I think he's got a lot of qualities you need. We just need to keep putting good players out there."

No matter how much Nix or Gailey love Fitzpatrick as their offensive leader, Bills owner Ralph Wilson will make the final call. Wilson told Associated Press reporter John Wawrow in October that drafting a quarterback was the club's top priority.

Fitzpatrick might have won Wilson over as the season wore on, but the Hall of Fame owner has a reputation for pursuing his desires with conviction once his mind is made up.

Nix said the Bills need to come out of the draft with a quarterback. Their backups are the underwhelming Brian Brohm and second-year pro Levi Brown, a seventh-round pick last year who wasn't good enough for a practice squad spot out of training camp. The Bills brought back Brown after the Bills waived Trent Edwards.

"To answer the question of third pick, whoever is there that we think is going to be a franchise impact player for us is the guy we'll draft," Nix said. "Where anybody thinks it makes sense [in terms of position], it doesn't matter to me. If it's a guy that we think long-term's an impact guy, no matter what the position, we'll take him."