Doug Marrone on Syracuse QB: 'I love him'

One of the first things media and fans did when the Buffalo Bills announced the hire of Doug Marrone was link him to his college quarterback.

Syracuse University's Ryan Nassib is projected to be one of the top-five quarterbacks in April's NFL draft. The Bills are in need of a quarterback after starter Ryan Fitzpatrick flopped again in 2012. Fitzpatrick is due a $3 million roster bonus in March and a non-guaranteed salary $4.45 million that Buffalo is not expected to pay.

Therefore, Buffalo will be looking in free agency and the draft to find its long-term solution. No one knows Marrone's offense better than Nassib, a three-year starter at Syracuse. Nassib is currently projected to be a second-round pick, although a lot can change during the pre-draft process.

"I'll tell you what, I love him," Marrone said Monday in an interview with the NFL Network. "He did an outstanding job for our football team. He's really grown the last couple of years. He put an emphasis on the leadership role and really took over the team. ... He's going to be playing in this league."

But will Nassib land in Buffalo?

With Marrone on board, no NFL team has better intel on the Syracuse quarterback than the Bills. Nassib threw for 3,749 yards, 26 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in 2012. He also beat fellow quarterback prospect Geno Smith of West Virginia a few weeks ago in the New Era Pinstripe Bowl.

Marrone hasn't had the chance to examine the draft with the Bills' front office. But Marrone will have glowing reviews on Nassib, and that could increase the chances of Buffalo's coach reuniting with his college quarterback.