At one point earlier this off-season, Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib was being talked about as a first-round pick and, in some corners, as the best prospect available in the 2013 NFL Draft. (To his credit, Russ Lande hasn't changed his stance on Nassib in nearly two months.)
After a number of weeks (largely following a poor Senior Bowl performance) that saw Nassib's stock calm down a bit, the three-year starter under Doug Marrone and Nathaniel Hackett in college is starting to generate some buzz again - this time propagated by Jon Gruden.
"I'd be surprised if (Nassib) doesn't sneak into the first round," Gruden said on ESPN Radio this morning (via Syracuse.com). "He has good size, this is a man who benched pressed over 400 pounds. He can run the read option. I have seen him execute pro-style passing concepts under Doug Marrone. He's a very good kid. He is smart, passionate about the game. I think he is the sleeper of this year's class."
In a mock draft published on NFL.com today, former league scout Daniel Jeremiah projected Geno Smith to the Bills, but included this line in his analysis: "If they stay (at No. 8), I think it will be Geno. If they bail out of the pick, all signs point to Ryan Nassib."
This is a projection that will be made countless times over the next month-and-change thanks to Nassib's obvious ties to Buffalo's coaching staff. At the same time, as draft evaluators have each chosen their favorites amongst a very divided class of quarterbacks, Nassib appears to be a name trending upward at the moment.
Has your opinion changed at all on the idea of Nassib quarterbacking the Bills since the release of Ryan Fitzpatrick? Remember, too, that all signs point to a rookie starter in Buffalo next season.