I'm well known as a critic of Buddy Nix. I may have been the first to write a fanpost calling for his job but was certainly among the first. I braced myself for a Buffalo-style bungling of the first round.
It didn't happen, as far as well can tell.
Nix wanted EJ Manuel. Nix got EJ Manuel. In the process he picked up 2nd and 7th round picks while giving up some position in the 3rd round. If Manuel turns out to be a great QB then this move will redeem Buddy Nix. If Manuel turns out to be just another in a long line of post-Kelly failed Buffalo QBs then Nix will have demonstrated that he's not GM material.
We most likely won't know which way it goes for 2-3 years. Manuel figures to sit behind Kolb, perhaps coming in a few snaps per game to run some mutated version of a wildcat/read-option. (A Spiller/Jackson direct snap leading to a short pass to Manuel out in space in front of a bewildered DE? Could happen...) If there is some kind of injury issue or if Manuel somehow tears up training camp it is possible that Manuel could start and prove himself in 2013. More likely he will spend most of the year on the bench while learning to be more consistent than he was in college--and getting a shot to win a QB battle in camp in 2014. Give him a rookie year to learn the ropes and then look at 2015 as the first year where he might seriously be evaluated. Manuel isn't a bust now, nor can anyone say that he's a bad pick. He might not be the guy you wanted but he could be the next Brees or Leaf or Fitzpatrick. It isn't possible to know which yet.
Putting aside the issue of Manuel, I give Nix high marks for both getting the guy he wanted and adding picks in the process. I would have preferred that the Bills take Eifert at 16 and trade (using a 2nd and 3rd) into the mid 20s for Manuel. Those two players and a 2nd round selection would have been a pretty sweet first 3 rounds. Just because I would have liked it to work out a little differently doesn't mean that it wasn't a good move by Nix.
We'll see tonight how it all pans out but so far I have to admit that Nix has the draft off to a good start.