So far, this offseason has been all about the relocations of many well known quarterbacks in the NFL. Some quarterbacks that have either been traded or released include Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Carson Palmer, and Ryan Fitzpatrick, the Harvard grad who has been the face of the Buffalo franchise for quite sometime. This offseason the Bills decided to start a new chapter in their legacy by releasing Fitzpatrick. To fill the void at quarterback, the Bills signed former Cardinal’s quarterback Kevin Kolb, who came in determined to win a Super Bowl.
But is he the long-term quarterback solution for the Bills? If not Kolb, then who?
It has been rumored that the Bills have considered several quarterbacks in this year’s draft class, and it’s a shame that there is no sure thing like Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III, or Cam Newton. The best quarterback in this year’s draft is arguably the West Virginia product Geno Smith, who has been critiqued in the past for his lack of pure quarterback ability. It is likely that Smith will be available at the time of the Bill’s pick, and they are going to have quite a decision on their hands. Buffalo can either address their greatest concern or draft the best available talent. Although they desperately need a quarterback, is Geno Smith really the answer? Geno is definitely a reach at the eighth overall pick, and it would make more sense to wait and draft a quarterback with just as much potential in the second or third round. Although it is hard to ignore Smith’s athleticism (he was the top quarterback at the combine in the 40 yard dash, vertical jump, and broad jump) Smith mostly runs a spread offense and is not well at operating from under center, which will be a major problem in the NFL.
Kevin Kolb is almost definitely not the long term answer. Although his confidence and determination is admirable, he lacks the necessary talent to be an elite quarterback in the NFL. During his regime at Arizona, he had a 6-8 record, averaged just over 200 yards a game and he was sacked 57 times in 14 starts. Whether the issue is his pocket presence, awareness, or lack of ability, having a starting quarterback that is on average getting sacked 4 times a game is a major issue. Because of this, he was never able to fully develop into the star he was expected to be despite the fact that he was throwing to arguably one of the best receivers in the game.
If not Kolb or Smith, then who is the long-term solution for the Bills? The answer may lie in a probable second round gem, Ryan Nassib out of Syracuse University. A new member of the Bills coaching staff, Doug Marrone, was previously Nassib’s college head coach and already has a pretty good idea on how to play to his strengths. Nassib has one of the strongest arms in the draft class, and his accuracy is definitely one of his strong suits. Although his decision making could use some improvement, that can easily be learned and his uncanny ability to get the ball off before he is sacked could make up for some of the miscues from the Bills’ sub-par offensive line.
Essentially, Ryan Nassib is the likely candidate to be the Bills’ starter in the future. They may give Kolb the start for a few weeks, but expect Buffalo to have a short leash on Kolb and as soon as he makes a few mistakes expect them to put in whichever quarterback is the backup at the time, who will most likely be Nassib. Although Nassib may be a little bit of project if the Bills want him to become an elite quarterback, he is definitely worth it and will play a lot better if he is coached under Marrone’s scheme which he is already used to.