Every time I'm certain that Buffalo Bills GM Buddy Nix has made his last public comments prior to the 2011 NFL Draft, he comes back for one more interview. That was the case on Tuesday night, when he appeared on Fan 590 in Toronto to answer a few more questions.
As he usually does, Nix gave us a few quality quotes to work with. Some require a bit of reading between the lines, while others are more cut and dried. We'll break down a few of the more noteworthy items one by one.
Don't expect a trade down. As he's done in the past, Nix made it very clear that it's highly unlikely the team will move down from No. 3. "We pick No. 3 in the first round, and that's pretty high, and we're going to use it," Nix said. "I think we earned it. We suffered through some pretty hard Sundays. We're going to take advantage of picking that high and try to get us a really good player."
Much more after the jump, including some interesting talk about - what else? - quarterbacks. We've saved the best for last.
Expect more player-stacking. Another common theme of Nix's interviews this off-season has been to mention the team's lack of overall depth, particularly on the defensive side of the football. ""We've got a lot of needs," Nix said Tuesday. "We've got better players than people think we have, but we're not as deep as we'd like to be. We're very thin on defense, and we need some impact players over there." Just as they did in 2010, expect them to really emphasize depth, particularly at building-block positions.
They're not going wide receiver. To close the interview, Nix was urged not to take a wide receiver. "That's not in the plan, I promise you," Nix said while laughing. "How about that?"
A (potentially) revealing comment about quarterbacks. Much has been made about the idea that the Bills are ideally suited to take a quarterback because of the development time Ryan Fitzpatrick affords a rookie. It's an idea that Nix himself has promoted, and he did so again yesterday. "You've got to give a guy time to get ready," Nix said. "We sat Philip Rivers for two years. He never took a snap, and he was chomping at the bit and ready to play. I think that's what makes those guys successful, plus good coaches that can teach them."
Here's the more interesting Nix observation, however: when Rivers was drafted, the team had a pretty good guy that hadn't don a ton yet in Drew Brees. Nix likened the situation with Fitzpatrick to that same situation in San Diego.
"At the time that we drafted Philip Rivers, we weren't sure what Drew was," Nix said. "Drew struggled early. We didn't have a very good team. I'm not so sure we felt any different then than we feel now about Ryan."
Nix has done a masterful job of keeping people guessing regarding the team's intentions at quarterback all off-season. My assumption all along has been that Nix would take a quarterback at No. 3 if he had conviction in a guy available at that position. We won't know if that's the case until tomorrow night, but his likening Fitzpatrick to Brees - at least in terms of situation - only serves to re-affirm my assumption. Assuming Cam Newton is off the board, the question isn't whether or not the Bills will take Blaine Gabbert, but whether or not they're convinced he'll be a franchise-type guy at any point in his career. I firmly believe that if they believe that, they won't hesitate to take Gabbert.
I just don't believe that they believe that.