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2015 NFL DRAFT

2013 NFL Draft: Marrone won't let needs, heart steer Bills' QB decision

By Derek Harper | The Sports Xchange/CBSSports.com

The Buffalo Bills have two quarterbacks under contract, and no one strongly believes Tarvaris Jackson or Aaron Corp will be taking the first snap of the Doug Marrone era in Week 1 come September.

Jackson could potentially be in the mix if for no other reason than there is little in the way of starting-caliber quarterbacks on the open market. The Bills are almost certain to draft a quarterback among the three picks they hold in the first 71 overall selections in next month's draft.

"There are a lot of situations, whether it's free agency, trades, draft -- I mean, there are still a lot of [options] out there," Marrone said at the owners meetings in Phoenix on Tuesday. "And on a daily basis you talk about what's going on, and you have communication and discussions and you go through the whole process."

Vague, at best, from Marrone, but Buffalo is almost certain to target a quarterback early in the draft. The franchise has muddled through Kelly Holcomb, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, Brian Brohm and Ryan Fitzpatrick since Drew Bledsoe's three-year tenure with the team ended in 2004.

Still, Marrone questions what a "franchise" quarterback is.

"What's the definition of that? I was fortunate to be on a team with Dan Marino. Was Dan a franchise quarterback? And then I was in New Orleans with Drew [Brees]. In New York, we had Vinny Testaverde and Chad (Pennington). What are they? Are they franchise quarterbacks?

"I'm only asking. We're going to have somebody back there playing that position for us. I don't know what tag we're going to put on him. But I'm excited to work with the players we have there now."

Reading between the lines, Marrone could be indicating the Bills won't "reach" for a quarterback if they don't believe the value is there with their No. 8 overall pick. NFLDraftScout.com rates West Virginia's Geno Smith as the No. 9 overall prospect and Southern Cal's Matt Barkley (No. 22) as the only other first-round talent.

The Bills pick again at No. 41 overall -- the ninth selection in the second round. That could bring them into play for one of the second-tier quarterbacks -- Marrone's former quarterback at Syracuse, Ryan Nassib, is rated No. 45 by NFLDraftScout.com. Some scouts love the size and potential of Florida State's EJ Manuel, and Tyler Wilson (Arkansas), Mike Glennon (NC State) and Tyler Bray (Tennessee) are all Top 100 prospects who only need one team to believe in their skill-sets to get drafted in the late-first, early-second rounds.

Marrone knows Nassib's strengths and weaknesses -- as he does with all of Syracuse's five prospects who currently have draftable grades. But he won't let that familiarity cloud his judgment.

"I like a lot of people, and yet I haven't hired them to work on our staffs as football coaches," Marrone said. "It's business at the end of the day, in what we do ... we draw (that line) all the time. I have a lot of relatives that would like to work for the Bills, but we can't hire them."

 
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