Bills GM Buddy Nix has stated more than once that the team would like to draft a quarterback of the future. Naturally the ideal situation would be to land the kind of signal caller that could be a franchise type player. The obvious conclusion that most outsiders are drawing with the Bills is Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib is part of this year's draft class. If drafted by the Bills he'd walk in the door knowing the offense better than any other player on the roster. But even the men that know Nassib best are fully aware that the draft evaluation process simply doesn't work that way.
Doug Marrone's coaching staff is still working their way through video of players currently on the roster to make personnel evaluations and determine what they have and what they feel they need to add. After that process is complete they'll begin to spend more time with the college and pro personnel departments to see what's available in the draft and free agency.
"I'm trying to get a good feel for the roster along with the other coaches," said Marrone. "We're just going to continue that, and we'll get together, Buddy (Nix) and I, and we'll talk about it. I want to hear the input from the coaches and see what they see. I have to watch all three phases. It's not something that's done just overnight."
Knowing that the quarterback position is a priority with just one under contract for 2013 in Ryan Fitzpatrick, most outside observers believe one will be drafted by the Bills. In the next breath Ryan Nassib's name is often mentioned knowing Marrone and offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett have a healthy familiarity with the quarterback prospect.
It can't be debated that Marrone and Hackett know Nassib better than any other NFL head coach or coordinator in the league. They worked with him on a daily basis for the last three years. But NFL clubs do not base their preferences at any position on just one player they happen to know the most.
That's why Marrone and Hackett will be leaning heavily on Buffalo's college scouts as they get closer to draft weekend.
"The good thing about being in the NFL is you have a great scouting department," said Hackett. "I've only seen Ryan the past three years. They've seen the whole spectrum. They've seen everybody so they have a good feel of where he fits. So that's critical for me to get around them and talk with them and see about that."
Hackett has no measuring stick for where Nassib fits in the 2013 draft class of quarterbacks. Does Buffalo's scouting staff believe there are prospects better than Nassib? Does he rank in the middle of the pack?
"The last three years I was isolated on one guy and put all my effort into making him the best he could be," Hackett explained. "So I think that right now I don't know where he fits in any of that because I don't know who else is out there. Once I get a better feel of that I can get a more educated opinion on it."
It's much the same for the free agent class of quarterbacks. Nix said last month that they may also add a quarterback in free agency, so again the process for the offensive staff is to sit with Pro Personnel Director Tom Gibbons and assess the free agent market.
"It's being able to look at all the free agents out there, the other guys that are out there," Hackett said. "I think right now I have to continue to evaluate because I have to see what everything is across the board."
Marrone was asked about specific players during his introductory press conference, but made it abundantly clear he was not going to make public assessments.
"I do not talk about players in the press," he said. "I'm looking forward to evaluating this time with our great scouting staff, getting to know them, and starting that process."
So while Nassib might be pegged as an obvious choice to some, the process undertaken by the Bills scouting staff digs far deeper than familiarity.
"Watching (Ryan Fitzpatrick), watching all the other quarterbacks out there, watching all the draft guys, that's really what I'm doing right now," said Hackett. "I'm trying to get the best evaluation on everybody and see where everybody fits."
The one plus regarding the quarterback position as it pertains to Buffalo's offense is Hackett believes just about any type of signal caller could fit.
"I'm one of those guys that I think for the way that I teach, everybody could have a chance in a system like this because I could tailor it to them," he said. "Figuring out everybody across the board and who it is and then trying to fit that person into the system is the biggest critical factor."