Draft review: Buffalo Bills


After analyzing the draft needs of all 32 teams, PFT will review how well each team addressed those needs. Up next: The Buffalo Bills.

What they needed: Quarterback, wide receiver, linebacker, guard

Who they got:
Round 1: E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
Round 2: Robert Woods, WR, USC; Kiko Alonso, LB, Oregon
Round 3: Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
Round 4: Duke Williams, S, Nevada
Round 5: Jonathan Meeks, S, Clemson
Round 6: Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State
Round 7: Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas

Where they hit: General Manager Buddy Nix wasn’t lying when he said he liked the makeup of this year’s quarterback class more than most observers. Manuel was the first and only quarterback to go in the first round and the Bills were able to add two extra picks while moving down the draft board to pick him. Woods and Alonso both have good shots at being in the starting lineup from day one and Goodwin should be a factor out of the slot right away, which makes this a good job by the Bills of recognizing and addressing their biggest needs.

Where they missed: The offensive line need wasn’t great, although it would have been nice to see the Bills grab some depth there instead of doubling up at safety. Even with Jairus Byrd likely to stay away for a while because of the franchise tag, Williams would have been enough. When only three quarterbacks went in the first three rounds, you have to wonder if the Bills needed to pull the trigger on Manuel with the 16th overall pick. Another trade down would have been ideal from a value standpoint.

Impact rookies: The Bills have needed an outside receiver other than Stevie Johnson for a long time and Woods is the best option they’ve come up with yet. His arrival gives Manuel (or Kevin Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson) a much better chance at succeeding next season. Williams is a good bet to replace George Wilson at strong safety. Hopkins will get every opportunity to unseat Rian Lindell.

Long-term prospects: They all pretty much begin and end with Manuel. If he’s a hit, no one will care about whether the Bills took him higher than they needed to take him because Buffalo will finally have a post-Jim Kelly answer at quarterback. His varied skill set certainly opens the door to some creativity from new coach Doug Marrone. They hit their other needs pretty well, but the final word on this draft will have everything to do with how Manuel progresses.

27 responses to “Draft review: Buffalo Bills

  1. ROD: Reach of the draft

    However Woods is interesting.
    I read a Bills fan calling him their #1 WR.
    Sorry, rookies drafted in the 2nd round don’t become #1’s immediately, but he could contribute. This kid needs polishing but could easily be one of the top 5 WR of the draft.

  2. Not sure about the Meeks pick, but the rest look good. Hopefully, everyone will stop talking about Manuel’s supporting cast, Maybe in a year. It will be Kolb’s supporting cast this year and it looks like a big improvement.

  3. that’s quite laughable. Kolb’s supporting cast for all of maybe 4 games. the fans will be calling for manuel in the darn preseason games to start. it won’t take many losses before the team makes the switch, they did take the guy in the mid first round afterall

  4. The Bills were frustrated because they haven’t been able to solve the QB mistery. That’s why they so desperately went after Manuel..they couldn’t afford to mess up and not get their guy. With that said, if he pans out, then it was a great pick.

    On the other selections, I actually think that the guys they got will contribute this season. It was a very servicable draft for the Bills.

  5. If Manuel outplays Kolb and Jackson before the season, there is no doubt in my mind he will be the starter. Neither one of those guys is guaranteed to be starter. Most of Kolb’s contract is based on performance incentives.

  6. Yes, the fans will call for Manuel. Hopefully, the coaches don’t throw him into the fire to early. Let him learn, from the other QB’s, the coaches, and even the opposing QB’s. Just because he was a first rounder doesn’t mean he starts. Ask Farve or Brady if some bench time helped or hurt……….

  7. No one predicted all of those other signal callers would fall to the 3 rd or 4 th rd and beyond. You get your guy, and they are gonna run a spread / read option style offense. Kid will be deadly

  8. I can’t say that I agree with the Manuel pick. But that was the decision the new coach made, might as well let them build it the way they want. I hope it was the right pick!! Not just because I’m a Bills fan but just because I am sick of everyone looking to the ” Draft experts”… Most of these guys( Kiper, and McShay) never played a down in their lives!!! They always miss even though they have ” cant miss” prospects, and guarantees!!
    I’m pretty sure these guys are bought and paid for by agents. Especially after hearing them say how good Teo is and what a steal of a pick he is.. Even though the first time he saw top level talent in his face he got washed out like a chump.

  9. People who say Manuel was a terrible pick haven’t lived through 13 years of missing the playoffs. No one thought anything of Russell Wilson last year either. Manuel has a unique skill set and a higher ceiling than any of the other QB’s in this draft.

    With the signing of Da’Rick Rogers today, along with Woods, Goodwin and Graham (last year) they have upgraded the WR position immensely. Team them with Stevie, Spiller and Jackson and in one year Nix has transformed this offense into what could be a very explosive unit.

    They addressed LB with Kiko Alonzo, who is a big, aggressive player with a mean streak. He has good cover skills in a division with TE’s that can hurt you.

    The safety’s they took are a risk but it was position they needed some depth at with Byrd’s status uncertain. Overall I’m pretty pleased with this draft.

  10. i didnt think it was possible but “inyofaceagain” is giving “logicalvoicesays” a run for his money for biggest took on this site

  11. Overall: B+
    Manuel B-
    Woods: A-
    Alonso B+
    Goodwin C (track star doesn’t mean football player)
    Williams B
    Meeks B
    Hopkins C (Could have gotten him as a UDFA)
    Gragg B-

  12. I am glad Buffalo used their first round pick on a QB. That gives them a five year rookie deal at a premium position. If someone picked, any QB before Buffalo, then the controversey would be, did they truly get their guy?

    For those that wanted them to trade down…. who wanted to trade down? Probably a team with a QB need. Perhaps a team that wanted Manuel? You don’t know.

  13. No question that this draft will be defined by whether the EJ Manuel pick is a hit or a miss. And it will take some time for that determination to become clear.

    I don’t believe that the Bills brought in Kevin Kolb or that Kolb signed with Buffalo with the idea of having the rookie that they drafted start this season. In a lot of other situations the fans would be screaming for Manuel to be starting by Game 4, at the latest, but most of the posts that I’ve seen on Bills fan sites are almost unanimous in saying that they DON’T want Manuel to start this season. Bills fans know that the team isn’t good enough overall to make a playoff run this season and that Manuel needs time to improve on the weaknesses in his game. And, while they’d like to see him compete with Kolb and Jackson–mainly to see where he’s at–in the preseason, they don’t want to see him “thrown to the wolves” prematurely. They know that some of the best QBs in the game–Rodgers, Brady, Eli, Kaepernick, etc.–sat for at least half a season or more before they were allowed to start. In fact, many comparisons that I’ve read have been to how SF handled Kaepernick.

    While Manuel’s success or failure will define this Bills draft, one thing is for sure: the Bills got much faster. And more dangerous offensively. In addition to adding WRs Woods and Goodwin in the draft and Da’rick Rogers as a UDFA, they also drafted the fastest TE in the draft in Chris Gragg. Combine them with CJ Spiller, Fred Jackson and Stevie Johnson (and Scott Chandler when he returns from injury) and the Bills have a lot of weapons and a nice blend of size and speed now. That will make things easier for whoever starts at QB for them the next couple of seasons.

  14. The steal of the draft was Da’ R. Rogers. Bills look like the 1999 Rams, watchout world.

  15. Has anyone ever read sabanissatan’s comments? It seems like he is mentally defective. EJ Manuel hasn’t even had the chance to suck at the NFL level and you are already judging him. You sound like those idiots McShay and Kiper Jr. who never played football in their lives. Remember you can’t teach big and you can teach someone with a cannon for an arm. Watch out what you say….

  16. One thing I have learned in watching this draft is the draft experts no nothing about the Bills they automatically assumed they were drafting Nassib or a guard in the first round when most local writers had Manuel or Barkley. Kiper had the Bills taking an RB in the second round ( has he even looked at our roster?). If they are that out of touch with the Bills, I wonder if any of there information is relevant. Gil Brandt envited Manuel to the draft which means he heard rumors that one or more teams were interested in drafting him in the first round. I remember thinking Joe Flacco was a reach based on what I read about him, but I was misguided. I am stoked about the pick. To me a reach is drafting a guard in the first round.

  17. I really hope the Manuel pick works out for the Bills; their fans deserve some hope. Also have to love the move of grabbing Rogers post draft; the physical potential is their.

    That being said, I will never fully understand why this team passed on Arthur Brown to take Alonso. That is absolutely crazy. Irrespective of scheme, Brown is as close to a Pro Bowl caliber lock of a pick as an inside linebacker can be. Once again, the Ravens demonstrate nearly inimitable personnel savvy.

  18. My favorite thing about the Manuel pick is how much Todd “Russell Wilson is a fifth-rounder at best” McShay hates it.

  19. The reality is all of this is always a gamble. Who knows how Manuel will turn out. Hopefully for the Bills they got it right. The only thing I really don’t like about this draft is that they didn’t address the O-line. Who really cares about Todd McShays opinion. If he was such a genius and had such a great eye for talent he would be a GM. Obviously NFL front office jobs are made or destroyed on the 1st round picks. As a Bills fan all you can do is hope for the best. Manuel has a ton of upside; let’s see if he can pan out. I do believe that he will knock out Kobb as the starter at some point next season. It’s been a long dozen years. Lets go Bills!

  20. Not sure if Manuel will be a success or not. But what a former coach says about a player speaks volumes.

    Miami, with Sherman running the offense: took Tannehill.

    Chip Kelly admits he would have taken Dion Jordan.

    With that in mind:

    Manuel > Chopped Liver > Ryan Nassib

    Seriously. Ouch.

  21. The only ones saying we reached for Manuel are the so called “experts” (that includes you Florio) who weren’t expecting this move. They all thought that Nassib would be the pick and now they look foolish for saying that. I think it was a great move by the Bills and I’m looking forward to watching Manuel progress.

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