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Vic Carucci's 3 Bills draft thoughts after Day Three: Ryan's relief, Manuel's survival & O-line neglect

Here are my three Bills thoughts after the third and final day of the NFL Draft:

> Rex Ryan did his best bobbing and weaving as he faced predictable questions from reporters Saturday about his fingerprints being all over the Bills' draft. The coach wanted us to believe that the choices were made by the organization, that he was merely working in concert with General Manager Doug Whaley to do what was best for the entire team rather than dictating the obvious focus on making the defense better. It was Ryan's way of doing what he has done for the past several months -- deflecting attention from the defensive embarrassment of 2015. Only no one was buying it. This draft was always going to be a referendum on making the greatest disappointment of the 2015 Bills -- allowing offenses to routinely shred them -- disappear. And that was exactly what Ryan hoped was achieved by finding two and possibly three defensive starters within the first three picks. As usual, he expressed disdain for the media's appearing to forget his long history of successful defenses before he arrived in Buffalo. He gave his typical "we'll see" response to thorny queries about last year's struggles. But you know he has to feel relieved that he was able to come away from the first two rounds with a couple of players expected to be out of the Bills' reach: Shaq Lawson and Reggie Ragland. At least Ryan acknowledged that, including Adolphus Washington, he now has the bigger and more physical components that defined those dominant defenses he ran with the Ravens and Jets. This season is a prove-it year for Ryan. He wants a pass for not having the right fits for his scheme last season and a less-than-ideal coaching staff to make it work. Thanks largely to what took place over the past few days, those excuses are gone.

> Count EJ Manuel as arguably the biggest winner from the Bills' draft. By not selecting a quarterback until the fourth round, the Bills effectively assured Manuel that he will spend another season as Tyrod Taylor's backup. Cardale Jones will spend his rookie year in the No. 3 role, taking the first steps in a development process that, for now at least, has no real timetable. If the Bills get the kind of year they hope to get out of Taylor, he'll either receive a long-term extension or a franchise-tag placeholder until a long-term deal gets done. Meanwhile, Manuel has the full support of Whaley, the man who was part of the Bills' decision to make him a first-round draft pick in 2013, and is probably going to get at least another year on a deal that is due to expire after this season. The GM went so far as to call Manuel the best backup quarterback in the NFL, a sentiment that Whaley no doubt felt more emboldened to make with no obvious challenger joining the team from the draft. Whaley even went to the would-have/could-have defense for Manuel's disastrous showing against Jacksonville last season, pointing out that had he pulled off the comeback victory that he threatened to lead, it would have been the greatest since Frank Reich's miraculous playoff effort against Houston. That's a bit of a stretch.

> The problem with using the draft to focus so heavily on one aspect of the team -- in the Bills' case, the front seven -- is that other areas can get neglected. For Buffalo, that was the offensive line. Naturally, the Bills feel good about the left side, which they kept intact by placing a franchise tag on Cordy Glenn and extending Richie Incognito's contract. But I'm not so sure how good they should feel about the right side. The tackle spot is a mystery, thanks to Seantrel Henderson's battle with Crohn's Disease and less-than-surefire alternatives in Jordan Mills and Cyrus Kouandjio. Rookie guard John Miller had a tough time staying healthy and weathering the longer, more difficult NFL season. Whaley pretty much shrugged off the fact the Bills failed to address the line, saying the opportunity didn't present itself. But could the Bills have been more proactive by, for instance, going with Texas Tech tackle Le'Raven Clark, whom the Colts selected two spots below Washington, rather than making a third consecutive front-seven pick? Just a thought.

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