Buffalo Bills General Manager Buddy Nix has many years of experience in NFL personnel, and prior to his gig with Buffalo, the most prominent position he'd held was Assistant GM in San Diego. Nix went to San Diego in 2001 with late former Bills GM John Butler, and in their first draft out west, the team traded out of the No. 1 overall pick, passing on a quarterback they weren't interested in - Michael Vick - to slide down to No. 5. With that pick, the Chargers took TCU running back LaDainian Tomlinson.
Last night, Nix's Bills passed on a highly-touted quarerback they weren't overly interested in - Jimmy Clausen - in order to take Clemson running back C.J. Spiller.
After taking Tomlinson, San Diego, with the top overall pick in the second round, took a shot on Purdue quarterback Drew Brees. Buffalo could have a similar opportunity in this evening's second round, with both Clausen and Texas' Colt McCoy still on the board.
In 2001, instead of throwing Brees into the fire, the Chargers signed a 39-year-old journeyman quarterback by the name of Doug Flutie. He started all 16 games that season, threw 15 touchdowns and 18 interceptions, completed 56.4% of his passes, and sported a quarterback rating of 72. The Chargers, largely behind Tomlinson's outstanding rookie season (1,236 yards, 59 receptions, 10 touchdowns), finished 5-11.
Earlier this week, Pat Moran at BuffaloSportsDaily.com relayed comments from Bills head coach Chan Gailey regarding 40-year-old free agent quarterback Jeff Garcia, using the word "quality" to describe the veteran. Though he didn't play much in 2009, Garcia sported a quarterback rating of 90.2 in leading the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to a playoff berth in 2008. Garcia was coached by current Bills quarterbacks coach George Cortez when the two were together in the CFL.
The similarities are eerie. We're not making any claim other than that.