Bills general manager Buddy Nix in addressing the select season ticket holders and other distinguished guests on hand at the State of the Bills event in downtown Buffalo Monday night cautioned fans about comments made by NFL personnel people this time of year.
"It's not a sin to tell a lie pre-draft," he said with a wry smile. "Everybody does it. It's accepted. So everything you hear or read or see, you need to keep in mind that about 10 percent of it's the truth."
Nix, to his credit, made it clear that he wasn't trying to mislead those media in attendance with whom he spoke after his address to the fans was over. While the Bills personnel boss did not say what their biggest positional need was, he did say that the quarterback position is not their most glaring area in need of help.
"Let me just say this to you, and don't read anything into it. Try not to connect the dots. If you wait until you do not have a quarterback to draft one, you're too late. Our greatest need is not quarterback," Nix said. "It's definitely not quarterback. If there is a franchise guy there and one we deem as a guy that can go eight or 10 years and be the face of this organization and take us to the playoffs and win every year, you can't pass him up. But as far as need? No, it's not the number one need."
Their number one positional need more likely lies on the defensive side of the ball where the team finished last in the league against the run and 27th in sacks. And while the Bills appear to be blessed with good timing with one of the deepest crops of defensive linemen in the draft's modern era, Buffalo's decision makers know they have to weigh that against the potential opportunity to land a franchise quarterback. The due diligence they're performing now is to determine if there is such a signal caller in this year's class.
"I think that evaluation process will work itself out as we get closer to the draft," said head coach Chan Gailey. "I think that's still something to be talked about. That's something still to be evaluated. Once all the evaluations are done then you sit down and weight risk, rewards, strengths and weaknesses and you make a decision that's best for the Bills, this year and for the future. You can't just have tunnel vision for this year. You have to look at the broad spectrum of where we're headed as a franchise."
"What we try to do is look at the big picture and I keep saying that and that's what you've got to do," said Nix. "You've got to look at down the road. If you want to get instant gratification then you go sign a 37-year old veteran and pay him 12 and a half million and see how that works out."
Nix did reiterate that the club likes Ryan Fitzpatrick and that they feel the team can win with him, but there was an addendum to that statement.
"There's nothing wrong with having two (quarterbacks)," Nix said. "All that is is doing your job, having a second guy that can come in and help you if necessary… finding out about guys to help get you there."
Buffalo's GM reiterated the team's commitment to building the roster up through the draft Monday night. He also stated that he feels they need another offensive tackle whether it's acquired through the draft or in free agency if and when that comes about this offseason.
"We've got four picks in the top 100," he said. "We're going to add some good players to the mix. We've got nine picks and we've got to make them all count."