NFL Bible: This Nassib Candidate or Why the Bills are Going to F*ck up the Draft
I’m not going to be the asshole who predicts it, but the Buffalo Bills may just draft Syracuse Quarterback Ryan Nassib in the top 10 selections of the 2013 NFL Draft. And they’re going to fuck up the entire draft.
The Bills suffered through yet again another subpar season as the team finished with a 6-10 record. Though it would be unfair to label their problems solely on their starting quarterback, Ryan Fitzpatrick (60% completions, 3,400 passing yards, 24:16 TD-to-INT radio), but he certainly did not help the team win games. Since the former Harvard grad took over the starting reigns in Buffalo, the Bills are an abysmal 16 games under .500 and only reaching six wins twice.
Fitzpatrick was born to be a backup, and that’s exactly what he’ll do for the foreseeable future in Tennessee. However, his “replacement” in Buffalo is former Eagles and Cardinals QB Kevin Kolb, who’s been nothing but inconsistent since being drafted in the 2nd round of the 2007 draft. Kolb was traded to the Cardinals after the lockout of 2011, but failed to capitalize on his opportunity as he struggled by completing under 60% of his passes and ending with a 6-8 record as Arizona’s starting quarterback. If the season were to start today, the Bills would be in the same situation they entered the 2012 season: having a career backup as your starting quarterback.
At the end of the 2012 season, Bills’ general manager Buddy Nix fired head coach Chan Gailey and rehauled the coaching staff. After striking out on Oregon’s Chip Kelly, Nix found his new head coach in former Syracuse head honcho Doug Marrone, who also happened to be the Saints’ former offensive coordinator. Marrone runs a similar style of offense as seen down in the Big Easy; he likes to spread the field and give his quarterback tons of options. It’s one of the reasons why Drew Brees has dominated opposing defenses and has broken numerous passing records in the process.Nix has made it a point to find their next Jim Kelly, their next star quarterback. Even off the record, as this humorous exchange between Nix and Buccaneer’s GM Mark Dominik showed, Nix is well aware the Bills are in a dire situation. A situation which, if they fail to improve the team’s most important position, could spell the end of his tenure as the Bills’ general manager.
Through this draft process, Nix has scouted every elite college quarterback in preparation of making him their 1st round pick. Only one, West Virginia’s Geno Smith, seems to be worthy of a 1st round pick. Smith has also been universally hailed as this class’ best prospect at the position despite analysts poking holes in his skill set. However, it appears as though the Bills would pass on the opportunity to draft Smith in favor of another prospect: Nassib.
Hailing from Western Pennsylvania, Nassib was an unknown product heading to college. While he posted respectable stats in high school, he had few schools to choose from. He eventually chose Syracuse, where he redshirted his freshman year and eventually won the Orange’s starting position during their 2009 Spring Practices. However, former Duke basketball player and former New York State Football Player of the Year, Greg Paulus, transferred and claimed the starting job for Nassib’s redshirt sophomore campaign.
Nassib was finally handed the reigns in 2010 and failed to disappoint. The former unheralded recruit surprised many by guiding the team to a 2011 Pinstripe Bowl victory, finishing the season with a 56.4 completion percentage, 2,330+ passing yards, and a respectable 19-8 TD-to-INT ratio. The team regressed in 2011 as the school failed to become bowl eligible, yet Nassib improved his stats to a 62.4%/2,685/22-9 stat line.
Heading into his senior season, few predicted a future for Nassib on Sundays. Though he had a solid physical tool set, Nassib failed to impress scouts and his stats weren’t outstanding considering the offense he played in. However, Nassib kept his same completion percentage in 2012 but increased his passing yards by over a 1,000 and improved his TD-to-INT ratio (26-10). He also led the Orange to an upset victory in the Pinstripe Bowl as Syracuse beat the Smith-led Mountaineers behind a solid performance by Nassib.
Outside of football, Nassib was an exceptionally bright student. He finished his undergraduate degree after the 2011 season and is currently pursuing a MBA in accounting from Syracuse. Reportedly, Nassib came off as highly intellectual during his Combine interviews, wowing scouts with his quick thinking and understanding of complicated concepts.
As a football player, Nassib brings a particular set of tools to his positions. While he’s not quick footed (5.09 40-yard), he has above average mobility and a solid athletic build for a quarterback. He also has large hands (10’), which would be useful in cold weather climates where it’s difficult to grip the ball.
Nassib has solid pocket awareness. He’s shown that he can buy time in the pocket and not force bad passes as reflected by his TD-to-INT ratio. He’s also demonstrated the ability to shake off safeties with his eyes, a quality few college quarterbacks master before entering the NFL.
Nassib has a strong, but unspectacular arm. His quick delivery allows him to put a lot of zip on the ball, especially for his short passes. He’s also fairly accurate on intermediate passes. When not rushed, he’s exhibited his arm strength and accuracy better than when forced out of the pocket.
However, when compared to his weaknesses, is Nassib worthy of a high grade? Nassib is on the shorter side of quarterback at 6’2, and his lack of speed will hurt him while trying to avoid pressure.
There are also problems with his mechanics; he has a noticeable hitch in his throwing motion. Nassib tends to loft deep balls, which may work in college but NFL safeties won’t allow it. They’ll capitalize on these mistakes and take would be touchdowns into turnovers. He’s also demonstrated poor touch on his passes as he doesn’t know how to control his ball speed.
Nassib relies too much on his physical tools, often relying too much on his arm and forcing bad balls. When he’s out of rhythm, he’s demonstrated inconsistent footwork which led to poor accuracy. Outside of the pocket, he’s shown below average elusiveness and he probably won’t be able to escape NFL defenders. Though he would continue to hone his skills if drafted by the Bills and his former coach Marrone, one has to wonder if he even passes the eye test for a 1st round quarterback.
However, it appears as though Nassib is the Bills’ man. And why shouldn’t he? He’ll have continuation in that his old coach would be his professional coach. He also may be afforded to sit in 2013 while Kolb starts, a strategy that has worked with the 49ers and Packers recently. After my evaluation, I graded him as a 2nd day prospect: potentially a starter but far from a franchise quarterback.
But it doesn’t matter how I or any other draft analyst feels about Nassib, all it takes is one team to draft him to validate the prospect. So while it’s almost unanimously agreed that Nassib at the eighth overall selection (where the Bills presently are slotted) would be a reach, will it happen?
Assuming they want Nassib, I would understand a trade down to the mid to late 1st round to secure this prospect. While the top, elite prospects may have been taken by their pick, there should be interest in Buffalo’s current pick as teams could aim to draft “their” guy before the tenth pick.
For instance, if the Bills were to trade with the Falcons (who aim to draft a cornerback like Alabama’s Dee Milliner), they could end up with a later 1st round pick with several promising, later selections. Nassib should still be available at the end of the 1st round; other team’s haven’t shown a strong interest in the Syracuse prospect and there seems to be a flurry of interest in several other quarterbacks. Geno Smith could even fall out of the 1st round if ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr is correct in his prediction.
What if the Bills decide to pass on Nassib at 8 and select a prospect like North Carolina’s guard Jon Cooper? Would their quarterback be available at their 2nd round pick, 41st overall? Not likely as several teams (Jacksonville, NY Jets, Arizona, Cleveland) are interested in investing a 2nd day pick on a quarterback, thus allowing him more time to grow without being forced into action too early. There’s a chance that Smith, EJ Manuel, Matt Barkley, Tyler Wilson, Landry Jones and even Mike Glennon could be selected before Nassib, so it is possible he’d still available.
However, the unspoken rule of the draft is that if a GM is fascinated with a prospect, unless it’s out of his control, he’ll do anything to acquire him. If the Bills aren’t confident they wouldn’t be able to get him later in the 1st or early in the 2nd round, Nix may pull the trigger and draft his next franchise quarterback.
Which leads me to my point, the Bills are going to fuck up the draft and select Nassib at 8. It won’t be a sexy pick by all means, but they’ll get their guy and pay the price of a top choice on a quarterback with a 2nd round grade.
But how will the Bills drafting Nassib fuck up the rest of the draft? Well, a number of things could happen.
After selecting Nassib, a top prospect like Oklahoma’s Lane Johnson or Utah’s Star Lotulelei would fall, causing interested teams to trade up. A flurry of trades could arise as teams scramble to get into better position for their ideal choice.
Selecting Nassib could also cause a run of quarterbacks as those aforementioned teams (Jags, Jets, Cards, Browns) could get impatient and give up important, future picks to ensure they land their prospect. If this theorem is proven correct, we could see quality prospects drop from the 1st to the 2nd, from the 2nd to the 3rd and so on. The wiser drafting teams will now be afforded the luxury of landing better prospects for a cheaper price than the foolish ones who gamble on this suspect quarterback class.
That, or the Bills’ interest could be a smokescreen and Nix is more than happy to start his season with Kevin Kolb as his starting quarterback. This IS the same GM who ended up in a game of phone tag with a few internet pranksters and in turn revealed his offseason plans.