Buddy Nix: Bills hope to draft QB

Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix has said his team plans to pick a quarterback in this year's draft, and he kept consistent with that message Thursday in an interview with WGR 550-AM in Buffalo.

Nix said Thursday there are at least two quarterbacks in this draft class he would label as "franchise"-caliber and said the Bills' "intent sometime during this draft is to get that guy."

"I think there's two or three and probably more that you can win with in this league and they can play for a long time," Nix said. "I believe that. I think there's more if you use them right. You got to do what they do best. All of them do some really good things. All of them got some negatives just like everybody else. You got to play to their strength."

Nix was asked to describe what it takes for him to consider a prospect a franchise quarterback.

"A guy that has enough talent to get to the big dance. And I'm not talking about the playoffs, I'm talking about the Super Bowl," he said, adding that a player has to have the "upside to take you all the way" to be considered a franchise quarterback.

Nix said he believes the Bills are "close everywhere else" except for the quarterback position. The Bills hold the No. 8 overall pick, and Nix said it will be "scary" waiting for the teams above Buffalo to pick, hoping they don't pick quarterbacks the team has targeted.

He said if the Bills had 10 selections "it wouldn't be as bad," but Buffalo owns only six selections, and the Bills "don't want to have to move and wind up with four" if they are forced to trade later in the draft to pick a quarterback.

Among the quarterback prospects often linked to Buffalo are West Virginia's Geno Smith, Southern California's Matt Barkley and Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, who played under Bills rookie coach Doug Marrone.

In addition to Smith, Barkley and Nassib, quarterbacks EJ Manuel of Florida State and Mike Glennon of NC State also made pre-draft visits with the team.

Nix first mentioned the need to draft and develop a quarterback in November, when the Bills were bumbling toward their eighth consecutive losing season. Very little has since changed, with the team in the midst of another start-from-scratch rebuilding plan.

And it makes no difference to Nix that this year's crop of prospects is filled with question marks.

"I've said this from day one, this quarterback class is better than everybody thinks it is," Nix said last week.

Quarterback has been an unsettled position in Buffalo since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season, and it's one of the main reasons the Bills are now on their fifth coach and fourth general manager in 12 years.

Ryan Fitzpatrick was the latest in failing to secure the job. He was cut last month to free up salary and after two-plus inconsistent seasons as the starter.

The Bills have since signed six-year veteran Kevin Kolb to a two-year contract, but he's regarded as a stopgap to allow a younger candidate time to develop.

Nix has made it clear that Kolb's addition doesn't change the team's approach to the draft.

"It doesn't, but it makes me sleep a little better at night," he has said, noting how Kolb at least provides insurance. "You never know what's going to happen in the draft. You can do all the planning you want to do, but it's still a crapshoot some."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.