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EJ Manuel versus Geno Smith could be juicy AFC East rivalry

By Tim Graham

EJ Manuel not only will need to be great to justify the Buffalo Bills' decision to draft him 16th overall Thursday night.

He also must be better than the other quarterbacks in this year's class.

The Bills weren't backed into a corner when they took Manuel. They had their choice of every quarterback on the board and made Manuel the only one selected in this year's first round.

Continue reading "EJ Manuel versus Geno Smith could be juicy AFC East rivalry" »

Will new Bills QB be moribund organization's Manuel ignition?

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills know something nobody else does?

That idea alone is fascinating.

The chance of it being true is small based on the organization's track record. But maybe -- just maybe -- the Bills were smart to name EJ Manuel their franchise quarterback.

And if that decision is proven to be correct, while gathering two additional draft picks, then the possibilities are endless.

Continue reading "Will new Bills QB be moribund organization's Manuel ignition?" »

Jim Kelly suggests Bills draft a WR first, omits Ryan Nassib

By Tim Graham

Jim Kelly has a two-step draft plan for the Buffalo Bills.

With the caveat Buffalo is comfortable enough with Kevin Kolb winning the quarterback job, Kelly advises his former team to take a wide receiver first, a quarterback second.

"Here's what I would do: If I know enough about Kevin Kolb and I know he can be the guy to start my season, I would take a wide receiver," Kelly said Wednesday night on a preview edition of his new SiriusXM NFL Radio show "No Huddle" with Andre Reed and Steve Tasker.

Continue reading "Jim Kelly suggests Bills draft a WR first, omits Ryan Nassib" »

You know what's going to happen in the draft? Want to bet?

By Tim Graham

I pass along this information only to, ahem, enhance your viewing pleasure of the draft tonight.

Online sportsbook has posted an array of proposition bets -- many of which will be influenced by what the Buffalo Bills do with their eighth overall pick -- on various positions and prospects. sets the over-under total on quarterbacks drafted in the first round at 1.5, safeties at 2.5 and receivers at 3.5.

Continue reading "You know what's going to happen in the draft? Want to bet?" »

Buddy Nix: Bills wouldn't be reaching if they take QB at No. 8

By Tim Graham

The Buffalo Bills claim, contrary to popular belief, they won't be overextending for a quarterback if they draft one eighth overall next week.

"This quarterback class is better than everybody thinks it is," Bills General Manager Buddy Nix said today at the club's annual pre-draft press luncheon. "It's better than the publicity they get.

"Five or six of those guys -- maybe seven -- do a lot of things good and do them good enough to win. This is not a standard answer. I've said this from the start, that two or three of these guys will be franchise quarterbacks. I believe that."

Continue reading "Buddy Nix: Bills wouldn't be reaching if they take QB at No. 8" »

More fun than a box of mocks: Soothsayers say Bills taking QB

By Tim Graham

West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith remains the most popular projection for the Buffalo Bills' eighth overall draft choice in a canvassing of prominent analysts.

And of those who aren't predicting Smith to the Bills, most still have them taking a quarterback.

But some new names and positions still pop up here and there.

These are the latest projections from The Buffalo News' Jay Skurski, WGR reporter Joe Buscaglia, ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, an foursome of Gil Brandt, Charley Casserly, Akbar Gbajabiamila and Daniel Jeremiah, Russ Lande of the National Football Post, quartet Dane Brugler, Pat Kirwan, Pete Prisco and Rob Rang and's computer simulator.

  • • Brandt's pick: Geno Smith, West Virginia quarterback
  • • Brugler's pick: Ryan Nassib, Syracuse quarterback
  • • Buscaglia's pick: Bills trade down for Matt Barkley, USC quarterback
  • • Casserly's pick: Geno Smith, West Virginia quarterback
  • • Draft Tek's pick: Chance Warmack, Alabama guard
  • • Gbajabiamila's pick: Geno Smith, West Virginia quarterback
  • • Jeremiah's pick: Geno Smith, West Virginia quarterback
  • • Kiper's pick: Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina guard
  • • Kirwan pick: Matt Barkley, USC quarterback
  • • Lande's pick: Ryan Nassib, Syracuse quarterback
  • • McShay's pick: Barkevious Mingo, Louisiana State defensive end
  • • Prisco's pick: Geno Smith, West Virginia quarterback
  • • Rang's pick: Matt Barkley, USC quarterback
  • • Skurski's pick: Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee wide receiver

West Virginia QB Geno Smith among Bills' visitors

By Mark Gaughan

The Buffalo Bills are getting one more up-close look at West Virginia University quarterback Geno Smith, who is visiting One Bills Drive today.

Smith is among four draft-eligible players at Bills headquarters, the team said. The others are Louisiana State linebacker Kevin Minter, Texas A&M receiver Ryan Swope and Texas safety Kenny Vaccaro.

The Bills watched Smith at his WVU pro-day workout and also traveled to the Morgantown campus to conduct a private workout with him. When draft prospects visit NFL team facilities, they meet with coaches and staff but do not take part in any on-field practice work.

Smith passed for 98 touchdowns and posted a 21-13 record for West Virginia. He's considered by many draft analysts the top QB in the draft.

Minter is considered a late first or early second-round prospect. He was a two-year starter at inside linebacker.

Swope is a slot receiver who could be taken in the third round. He caught 89 passes in 2011 and 72 in 2012.

Vaccaro is one of the top safeties in the draft. He could be taken later in the first round or in the second. He's a versatile safety -- a free safety with size and hitting ability. He started for 2 1/2 seasons for the Longhorns.

Road to the Draft: Geno Smith

By Mark Gaughan

Geno Smith

Position: Quarterback
School: West Virginia

Measurements: 6-foot-2, 218 pounds
2012 stats: 4,205 yards, 71.2 percent completions, 42 TDs, 6 INTs.

Draft projection: First round

Continue reading "Road to the Draft: Geno Smith" »

Let's scratch that mock itch

By Tim Graham

We're due for our periodic roundup of what the draftmeisters think the Buffalo Bills will do with the eighth pick in April's draft.

So whaddawe gots this week?

The latest from Buffalo News reporter Jay Skurski, WGR reporter Joe Buscaglia, ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, an quartet of Bucky Brooks, Charles Davis, Daniel Jeremiah and Josh Norris, Russ Lande of the National Football Post,'s crew of Pat Kirwan, Pete Prisco, Rob Rang and Dane Brugler and's computer simulator.

Continue reading "Let's scratch that mock itch" »

Buffalo's better QB option: Geno Smith or adding a veteran?

By Tim Graham

The quarterback-needy Buffalo Bills were among the teams that went to West Virginia University today to watch Geno Smith work out. Afterward, Smith announced he will visit the Bills on March 22.

Smith is considered the best quarterback in this year's draft. When the Bills are on the clock with the No. 8 pick, there's a decent chance Smith still will be on the board.

Given the Bills' decision to release Ryan Fitzpatrick on Tuesday, leaving them with no quarterbacks who wore an NFL uniform last season, analysts are scrutinizing Smith as the Bills' franchise guy.

NFL Network analyst Bucky Brooks and ESPN Insider columnist Chris Sprow (in separate pieces) examined the Bills' best options: draft Smith; wait until the late first round or early second round; pick up a veteran via trade or in free agency.

Continue reading "Buffalo's better QB option: Geno Smith or adding a veteran?" »

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About Press Coverage

Tim Graham

Tim Graham

Tim Graham returned to The Buffalo News in 2011 after covering the NFL for three years at ESPN and for one year at the Palm Beach Post. Before that, the Cleveland native spent seven seasons on the Buffalo Sabres beat for The News and was president of the Boxing Writers Association of America.

@ByTimGraham |

Mark Gaughan

Mark Gaughan

Buffalo native Mark Gaughan started working at The News in 1980 and has been covering the Bills exclusively since 1992. He is a former president of the Pro Football Writers of America, and he is a member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame selection committee.

@gggaughan |

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski

Jay Skurski joined The News in January 2009. The Lewiston native attended St. Francis High School before graduating from the University of South Florida. He writes a weekly Fantasy column in addition to his beat writing duties.

@JaySkurski |