At the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., this week, Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix told the Buffalo News that he’s looking for a “franchise impact player.” On most teams with losing records (the Bills were 4-12), that might mean a quarterback. On the Bills, however, it’s no necessarily so.
Although Nix said the Bills will keep their options open with the No. 3 pick in the draft, he repeated coach Chan Gailey’s recent remarks that the team can win with Ryan Fitzpatrick.
“We certainly like Fitz,” Nix told the News. “(His performance) wasn't more than we expected because I knew Chan would get him to play better. 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.”
Fitzpatrick may have taken a step forward, but it’s all relative. He still ranked 20th or lower in the NFL in passer rating, completion percentage, yards and touchdowns. But a QB isn’t necessarily the top priority in Buffalo.
Getting a quick-impact player at any position, Nix said, is his main focus. “I hope we're never in that position again,” he said of drafting third, “but since we are, we need to take advantage of it. I know when you say it's critical and there's pressure ... you're right. In that respect, it's a big deal for us. We need to do it.”
It could be a quarterback, he said, but because of the Bills’ belief in Fitzpatrick’s upside, it doesn’t have to be.
“If it's a guy that we think long-term's an impact guy, no matter what the position, we'll take him,” Nix said.