Over the few years I've been following blogs and message boards, I've noticed that draft night is, for the most part, a time when fans like to drink the company Kool-Aid and do their best to hope for better things to come. That's what I want to do. Tonight, I was ready to get behind Barkley or Nassib, or even Geno Smith as the guy who'd take the Bills to the promised land. I was a big advocate of QB in round one, but I could have gotten wrapped up in a wide out like Patterson or a TE like Eifert, or even a pass-rusher like Jones after the trade-down. I want to feel that way about the Manuel pick, but it's just not working.
What I keep coming back to is this: After all the failures at QB over the past decade...after three years of neglecting the game's most important position in the Nix regime...that this is what I've been waiting for? A pure project who has never been asked to make multiple reads...whose accuracy is spotty and inconsistent...whose decision-making skills are highly questionable...THAT's what I've been waiting for? A guy who, in all likelihood, is going to sit for a year...a year and a half maybe?
What bothers me the most is that for the fourth straight year, I just don't see the plan. The time for taking a project QB was 2, 3 years ago...when the Bills were at rock bottom, with a roster pretty much devoid of top-end talent. But now...what have we been building for three years if we're basically starting over? More importantly, if we ARE starting over...if we're expected to wait 2 or 3 MORE years for a solution at QB to develop, why is Nix still employed? What happens if we're drafting in the top 10 again next year and there's a better QB available? Do we pass because we have Manuel who probably hasn't played a down for us yet?
I feel like the Bills are always late to the party. 3-4 defenses were all the rage circa 2010, and we switched despite not having the personnel to pull it off. Now we're jumping on the read-option bandwagon, despite the fact that the read-option QB's in this draft weren't ready to play. Ultimately...accuracy, good decision-making under pressure...these are the traits of successful NFL QB's. I'm in no way saying Manuel will never be able to do these things, but right now he can't, or at least he hasn't.
I hope I'm wrong...that this guy bursts onto the scene and silences the critics...I like his intelligence, at least off the field. I like that he's not coming into the league with a sense of entitlement, thinking he doesn't need to get better, a la Losman or Tim Tebow. But this pie-in-the-sky, 2 years down the road stuff isn't the kind of hope I was looking for this time around. My hope right now is the Bills go QB again in the 3rd or 4th to at least give ourselves another option, since Kolb's never done anything consistently and T-Jax just isn't any good. I'd love for someone to give me a good reason to be excited right now that doesn't include "2015."