By Tim Graham
Two of the strongest traits EJ Manuel brings to the Buffalo Bills are intelligence and a quarterback's charisma that makes his teammates want to play with him and for him.
So did Ryan Fitzpatrick.
Bills legend Jim Kelly is aware of this. But when it comes to finally finding a franchise quarterback to replace him, Kelly sees potential in Manuel's arrival.
The Bills' opening-day quarterback will be the 11th starter since Kelly retired, and the list is ugly.
"I think I'm as hopeful as every fan in Buffalo," Kelly said today at One Bills Drive. "I live here. This is my home now. I said it earlier: You get tired of people always referring back to when I played. I don't want to do that. I want to refer somebody that is taking us to the next level now."
Manuel became the first quarterback the Bills have taken with their first pick -- in club history. Prior to Thursday night, they'd drafted three of the 191 quarterbacks taken league-wide since Kelly retired.
"I'm not only a former player, but I'm a fan, too," Kelly said. "I can feel what the fans feel. And to have somebody to come in and hopefully he can grasp not only the offense, but this city.
"And just the type of player he is, you can tell he's a good kid, but good kids always don't take you to the top. Ryan Fitzpatrick -- great friend of mine -- just couldn't get it done.
"I just hope EJ's the guy that we hope that he is."
tagged2013 draft | EJ Manuel | Jim Kelly | Ryan Fitzpatrick