Mel Kiper doesn't view Bills as team that needs a QB in the first round - The Buffalo News

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Mel Kiper doesn't view Bills as team that needs a QB in the first round

A handful of us local media types advocate the Buffalo Bills consider something unusual this year and draft another quarterback in the first round.

ESPN draft monger Mel Kiper apparently doesn't agree with Jay Skurski, Joe Buscaglia and me.

Kiper, when breaking down quarterbacks in May's draft, doesn't consider the Bills a team in need of a quarterback. But he projects a quality quarterback prospect could be available when the Bills pick ninth.

"It's going to be an interesting first round, particularly the early portion, because you have five of the top eight teams picking overall needing quarterbacks," Kiper said.

Kiper's Big Board is a ranking of players based on how he views their ability, not necessarily what order they'll be selected. Teams have different needs, after all.

Kiper's latest ratings were posted Wednesday. He listed Louisville quarterback Teddy Bridgewater eighth, Central Florida quarterback Blake Bortles ninth and Texas A&M star Johnny Manziel 12th.

All three could be gone before the Bills are on the draft clock.

"They get an automatic bump because they're quarterbacks," Kiper said. "But be careful. These are not Andrew Luck, RGIII-type quarterbacks coming out. They're up there, but they're not one, two, three, four, and that's where the teams that are picking need quarterbacks."

The Bills had their pick of the entire QB draft class last year and traded back for Florida State's EJ Manuel. His rookie season was a disappointment, with three different knee injuries and erratic performances.

My stance is the Bills can't move forward as a franchise until they have a quarterback, and ignoring the very real possibility that Manuel won't pan out would be wasting another precious season of the organization's overall development.

Double down. Get it right.

So what if "It's just not done" in the NFL?

The Baltimore Colts were the last to draft quarterbacks in the first round in consecutive seasons. They picked Art Schlichter fourth overall in 1982 and John Elway first overall in 1983. But even that situation comes with an asterisk because the Colts knew they'd have to trade Elway eventually.

The Los Angeles Rams were the last team to do it with the intention of moving forward with both (or, in this case, all of them). They went QB in the first round three straight years: Roman Gabriel second overall in 1962, Terry Baker first overall in 1963 and Bill Munson seventh overall in 1964.

In NFL history, first-round quarterbacks in consecutive seasons has happened six times.

A local note on Kiper's Big Board: University at Buffalo pass-rusher Khalil Mack is fifth, down one spot from Kiper's previous rankings.

"The Senior Bowl will be big for Mack, who really only gets knocked on competition level," Kiper wrote. "But I've said before you really have to watch him play and see how he lines up all over the field and can do everything.

"He is versatile and capable of rushing the passer with quickness and power, dropping into coverage, shedding tackles and making plays in the open field. He uses proper leverage to take on blocks and drive people back and uses quickness and strong hands to shed. Plays with a great motor, but smart."

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