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2013 Buffalo Bills draft grades

Posted May 1, 2013

Media members and NFL Draft pundits grade the Bills 2013 Draft.

2013 BUFFALO BILLS DRAFT GRADES

Grade: A-
Analyst:  Alex Marvez   
OutletFox Sports
Comments
:  This grade stems from the first-round selection of E.J. Manuel, who was my favorite quarterback prospect entering the draft. Both second-round picks (Southern Cal wide receiver Robert Woods and Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso) could be Week 1 starters.

Grade: ‘Nailed it’
Analyst: Bucky Brooks  
OutletNFL.com
Comments
:  GM Buddy Nix made the most surprising move of Thursday night, with the Bills dropping from pick No. 8 to 16 and grabbing EJ Manuel as the team's new franchise quarterback. While many analysts believe Manuel is not the top quarterback in the class, his blue-chip physical traits (size, athleticism and arm talent) and an underrated football mind make him an intriguing prospect to build around. Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin add more explosiveness to the receiving corps. Kiko Alonso is a thumper who brings much-needed toughness and physicality to the middle of Buffalo's defense. Don't sleep on the Duke Williams pick, either; he is an active roamer in the back end with the grit and nastiness to be an enforcer between the hashes.

Grade: B
Analyst:  Jason Cole       
OutletYahoo Sports
Comments
:  The Bills played the right strategy game here to get the quarterback they really liked in E.J. Manuel. Buffalo traded back, picking up value in the process and still getting Manuel, who was the first passer off the board and the only one to go in the first round. The only question is whether Manuel is the right guy or not, and it's going to take two or three years to figure that out. Getting Woods in the second round is a bit of a coup. He had a bad season at USC, but many people consider him a much better talent than his numbers reflected. The rest of the group is typical of a Buddy Nix draft – solid value all the way along. 

Grade: B
Analyst: Rob Rang          
OutletCBS Sports/NFLDraftscout.com
Comments
:  The Bills will be highly criticized for the selection of EJ Manuel, but one has to wonder if general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Doug Marrone would get as many questions if they'd taken "safer" options like Matt Barkley or Ryan Nassib. Manuel wasn't asked to make complicated reads in Tallahassee and impressed coaches at the Senior Bowl when forced to do so. He's too much of a projection to warrant No. 16 overall but is the most dynamic dual-threat passer in the draft, and his upside is through the roof. Manuel will have a sure-handed receiver like he had at Florida State with the ultra-smooth Robert Woods, landed in the second round. Kiko Alonso was the guy making all of the plays that Dion Jordan (Miami, No. 3 overall) was supposed to make and could surprise, as could Texas' highly-athletic (and surprisingly tough) wideout, Marquise Goodwin. Of Buffalo's third-day selections, I'm highest on Nevada safety Duke Williams, who would've gone at least a round higher if he'd made more big plays.

Grade: B-
Analyst:  Chris Burke     
OutletSI.com
Comments
:  The best move of Buffalo’s entire weekend might turn out to be signing undrafted WR Da’Rick Rogers. That’s a low-risk gamble, one that pairs well with the selections of WR Robert Woods, LB Kiko Alonso and S Duke Williams. It’s also the opposite of using pick 16 on QB EJ Manuel. The Bills’ 2013 draft hinges on Manuel being able to shine.

Grade: B-
Analyst:  Peter Schrager              
OutletFox Sports
Comments:
  Doug Marrone is no stranger to quarterbacks and he obviously saw something in Manuel that the “pundits” didn’t if he’s willing to spend his first-round pick on him. What’d they do to support Manuel? They went out and got two exciting receivers in Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin on Day 2.

Grade: B-
Analyst:  Randy Covitz  
OutletKansas City Star
Comments
:  Manuel, who has a read-option background, will begin as a backup, but Kevin Kolb has a history of injuries. Woods, USC’s all-time receptions leader, and Goodwin, an Olympic long jumper, give Kolb and Manuel targets opposite Stevie Johnson. Alonso steps in for Nick Barnett in hopes of improving a run defense that ranked 32nd, 28th and 31st the last three years. Williams has character issues but is insurance in case club can’t strike a deal with franchise player Jairus Byrd.

Grade: C
Analyst:  Pete Prisco      
OutletCBS Sports
Comments
Best pick: I love speed. I think third-round receiver Marquise Goodwin will be a big playmaker because of his speed. He is raw, but can he run or what?
Questionable move: I just didn't see what they saw in first-round pick EJ Manuel. He has dynamic skills, but it takes a lot more than that. This is the pick that will define coach Doug Marrone.
Third-day gem: Kicker Dustin Hopkins, taken in the sixth round, is a special kicker. He has a chance to be a good one.
Analysis: I was hard on the Bills for the Manuel pick, but I think they rallied to do some good things, getting Goodwin, Robert Woods, linebacker Kiko Alonso and safety Duke Williams. But they will be defined by the Manuel pick.

Grade: C
Analyst:  Evan Silva         
OutletRotoworld
Comments
:  A high-risk, potentially high-reward draft. Top Bills personnel men Buddy Nix and Doug Whaley deserve kudos for pre-draft misdirection that convinced everyone Ryan Nassib or even perhaps Matt Barkley would be the No. 8 pick. Instead, they traded down to acquire more valuable choices and still came away with real franchise quarterback target Manuel. I'm admittedly skeptical of Manuel's NFL future, but Buffalo's execution was impressive. Woods, Alonso, Williams, and Gragg were solid value selections. The former two can help right away. The jury is out on whether Goodwin upgrades on in-house speedster T.J. Graham. Meeks and Hopkins were suspect picks

Grade: C
Analyst:  Jeff Legwold   
Outlet:  Denver Post
Comments:  Worked the third day of the draft well, but first-round QB E.J. Manuel had better be worth the 16th pick of the draft.

Grade: C
Analyst: Vinne Iyer        
OutletSporting News
Comments
:  The Bills were all about going back to the drawing board with their passing game. The centerpiece is Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel, but coach Doug Marrone and his staff have their work cut out to turn him into a polished, athletic passer. They also will try to get Manuel on the same page with the receivers they took for him, USC possession-typeRobert Woods and Texas speedster Marquise Goodwin. Their best pick for the present was on defense, Oregon inside linebacker Kiko Alonso. Offensively, there's a lot of potential but more shaky unknown. 

Grade: C
Analyst:  Ira Kaufman    
OutletTampa Tribune
Comments
:  The Bills have a lot of holes and new coach Doug Marrone focused on upgrading his offensive talent in the first three rounds, adding QB E.J. Manuel and new targets Robert Woods and Marquise Goodwin. Woods is a red-zone threat and Manuel has some intriguing upside if he's coached up.

Grade: C
Analyst:  John McMullen
OutletSports Network
Comments
:  Take away the Manuel reach and this draft isn't all that bad but how can you do that? Marrone and his staff will have to work overtime to get Manuel up to speed, otherwise receivers like Johnson, Woods and Goodwin are only going to get frustrated trying to corral balls from Kevin Kolb or Jackson.

Grade: C-
Analyst:  Mel Kiper
Outlet: ESPN.com (Insider)
Comments
: The Bills got a lot of value back when they moved down from No. 8 to No. 16 overall. That's the good. The bad is I just think the No. 16 pick was way too high forEJ Manuel. For me, there's simply too much projection here. He needs to prove that he's capable of getting through progressions quicker and getting the ball out. He was my No. 6-ranked QB. But that was a need position, and you take the guy you feel can pan out. It's just remarkable in hindsight to see the top QBs still available into Round 4. Robert Woods is a capable player and brings NFL readiness. He was an impact player for USC from the moment he stepped on campus, and he has the chance to start in Week 1. Kiko Alonso has the chance to start as a rookie, perhaps over Nigel Bradham, but that's no guarantee -- and Arthur Brown was still on the board. Marquise Goodwin is maybe the most explosive straight-line runner in the entire draft, he's just a bit of a project when it comes to the finer points being a WR. He'll be good for some big plays if he can stick. The back-to-back safety picks were a little odd, especially since that wasn't a big need. They got the best kicker in the draft in Dustin Hopkins. Getting Chris Gragg in the seventh is a good value as well. I'm surprised they didn't get a better guard prospect, given the departure of Andy Levitre. The Bills hit needs, I just think they made a major reach with the biggest need of all, so that value gained from the added picks was in some ways squandered on Manuel. Hopefully, with a year behind Kevin Kolb, Manuel can take over and prove me wrong.

Grade: C-
Analyst: Mark Maske
OutletWashington Post
Comments
: EJ Manuel might end up being a productive NFL quarterback. If so, the move of trading down and picking him 16th overall will be justified. But for now, it’s open to questioning and it has drawn some stern criticism from those who say Manuel isn’t ready to play.

Grade: D
Analyst: Nate Davis
Outlet: USA Today
Comments
: They rolled the dice in the first three rounds with QB E.J. Manuel (consistency), LB Kiko Alonso (checkered off-field background) and WR Marquise Goodwin (good speed, questionable hands and route running). And couldn't they have waited a bit longer on Manuel? Still, if two of the three are hits, applause for GM Buddy Nix and new coach Doug Marrone. Their first Round 2 pick, WR Robert Woods, should play immediately and take heat off Stevie Johnson.

Grade: D
Analyst: Jennifer Floyd Engel     
Outlet: Fox Sports
Comments
:  I read a review of them that said “aside from the questionable (E.J.) Manuel pick.” There is no aside. When your first-round pick is used on a questionable QB in a draft short on them, you failed.

Grade: D
Analyst: John McClain  
OutletHouston Chronicle
Comments
: Manuel was the biggest reach of the first round. They could have gotten him in the second. Woods should start as a rookie. Goodwin ran in the 4.2s at the combine, but he needs a lot of work. Alonso was underrated and could start as a rookie.

Other reviews ...

Pro Football Talk via Josh Alper ...
Where they hit: General Manager Buddy Nix wasn’t lying when he said he liked the makeup of this year’s quarterback class more than most observers. Manuel was the first and only quarterback to go in the first round and the Bills were able to add two extra picks while moving down the draft board to pick him. Woods and Alonso both have good shots at being in the starting lineup from day one and Goodwin should be a factor out of the slot right away, which makes this a good job by the Bills of recognizing and addressing their biggest needs.

Where they missed: The offensive line need wasn’t great, although it would have been nice to see the Bills grab some depth there instead of doubling up at safety. Even with Jairus Byrd likely to stay away for a while because of the franchise tag, Williams would have been enough. When only three quarterbacks went in the first three rounds, you have to wonder if the Bills needed to pull the trigger on Manuel with the 16th overall pick. Another trade down would have been ideal from a value standpoint.

Impact rookies: The Bills have needed an outside receiver other than Stevie Johnson for a long time and Woods is the best option they’ve come up with yet. His arrival gives Manuel (or Kevin Kolb or Tarvaris Jackson) a much better chance at succeeding next season. Williams is a good bet to replace George Wilsonat strong safety. Hopkins will get every opportunity to unseat Rian Lindell.

Long-term prospects: They all pretty much begin and end with Manuel. If he’s a hit, no one will care about whether the Bills took him higher than they needed to take him because Buffalo will finally have a post-Jim Kelly answer at quarterback. His varied skill set certainly opens the door to some creativity from new coach Doug Marrone. They hit their other needs pretty well, but the final word on this draft will have everything to do with how Manuel progresses.

USA Today via Mike Garafalo ...
Most stealth: Buffalo Bills - The only quarterbacks anybody had connected to them in the first round were Geno Smith and Ryan Nassib. So what do they do? Slide down to 16th and take Florida State's E.J. Manuel, which caught the everybody but Bills management and Manuel's representation by surprise. Props to the Bills' front office and coach Doug Marrone for keeping that one quiet.