Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix will turn 74 in early-December and has made little secret about his desire to land a franchise quarterback before he enters retirement.
With few options remaining at quarterback in free agency, the Bills could target one in the first round with the No. 8 pick in next month's NFL Draft. Following meetings with West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith and Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel last week, the Bills are scheduled to workout USC quarterback Matt Barkley on Monday, James Walker of ESPN.com reported.
After facing Barkley twice over the last two seasons while at Syracuse, Bills first-year coach Doug Marrone raved about the former Trojans' quarterback's comfort-level within a pro-style system. In the two wins, Barkley went 49 of 69 (71.0 percent) for 511 yards with 11 touchdowns and only one interception. In a 38-17 win in September of 2011, Barkley checked down to his running backs four times when the Orange eliminated his deep option downfield.
“If he doesn't like what's going on when they (take away) the deep vertical threats, he can come right back to the backs,” said Marrone, days before the Orange's 42-29 loss to the Trojans in September. “That's one of the things you see with the top guys in the NFL.”
Marrone even indicated that Barkley could have been the first quarterback selected behind Andrew Luck if he entered the Draft last season. If selected by the Bills, Barkley's experience with a short-passing game and his proficiency in making pre-snap adjustments could help him fit within Marrone's West Coast offense.
At last Wednesday's Trojans' Pro Day, Barkley reportedly completed 56 of 62 attempts with two dropped passes, according to USA Today Sports. Barkley (6-2, 230) skipped workouts at last month's NFL Scouting Combine to rest his injured right shoulder. The former Trojans quarterback finished his final collegiate season with 36 touchdowns and 15 interceptions when he suffered a season-ending separated shoulder in mid-November against UCLA.
Browns offensive coordinator Norv Turner, Jaguars coach Gus Bradley, Raiders general manager Reggie McKenzie and Jets quarterback coach David Lee were among the contingent of NFL personnel at the workout. While Barkley's ability to throw the deep ball accurately has been questioned since he injured his shoulder, Turner left the session impressed with Barkley's arm strength. Questions also remain on Barkley's footwork on five and seven-step drops.
"If you watch the tape, you'll see he's got a strong arm and he can throw the ball deep," Turner told USA Today Sports. "I think he showed that in this wor
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