It may be 150 miles from Syracuse to Buffalo down the New York State thruway, but the people who inhabit those two cities are often clumped under the upstate New York bubble, dooming them to sharing the same values, thinking the same things, eating the same foods, and essentially being the same people.
This makes the winter exodus of football coaches from the hill of Syracuse University to Orchard Park seem almost meant to be, as the Syracuse Orange and the Buffalo Bills are the two most polarizing sports entities in upstate New York. The first was Doug Marrone, and if he will make a difference only time will tell. Nathanial Hackett (who sounds more like a 18th century English philosopher than a offensive coordinator) followed Marrone along with three other assistants. Buffalo has been looking a lot more Orange these days.
It is possible; however, for Buffalo to make the full turnover and turn into “little Syracuse.” The “wouldn’t that be kind of cool” whispers about former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib joining the Buffalo Bills has turned into an extremely viable possibility. Maybe even with the 8th pick overall.
Much like the hire of Marrone, this idea is intriguing, but not in a good or bad way. I can already see the Ryan Nassib bandwagon filling up. Every year there is a player that starts to climb early in the draft process and eventually soars to near the top of every draft board. Joe Flacco did it, to a degree Robert Griffin III did it. Mark my words, Nassib is a projected 2nd rounder right now. He will not be 2nd round pick. The question is: will he be able to climb all the way up to number eight? If he does, is he worth the high pick?
It is hard to project the flight of a draft prospect, especially someone who is coming into the process with a full head of steam like Nassib. National Football Post analyst Russell Lande says that Nassib could climb all the way to number one. He seems to be going off the theory that Andy Reid likes Quarterbacks from Syracuse, and if he is best Quarterback available the Chiefs will use him to fill their need at that position. That idea seems unrealistic, and again, it is early. But it does appear that there are limits to how far Nassib can climb.
The Nassib saga has intrigue because there are so many factors. Ever since Marrone was hired Nassib has been practically begging the Bills to draft him. He has gone on multiple radio and television shows basking in the apparent glory of the Buffalo Bills and their incredible quarterback history of Jim Kelly and no one else. He can’t stop talking the innovation of Hackett’s offense at Syracuse that looked quite a bit like a lot of the offenses run in the NFL today. The problem is that as the Senior Bowl shines light on the imperfections of the nations top seniors, the microscope appears to be brightly on the touted Nassib. Todd McShay tweeted yesterday that Nassib’s arm strength was: “vastly overrated.” And that he: “struggles delivering deep ball on tape.” This while North Carolina State quarterback Mike Glennon appears to be pulling away from the quarterback field.
But of course, no one has forgotten about Ryan Fitzpatrick, have they? I mean, catfish or not Mel Kiper Jr. had Manti Te’o going to the Bills at number 8 in his first mock draft for a reason. Quarterback might not be the position the Bills need to address first round pressure, and money, on in the draft. There has been a lot made of how this quarterback class is much weaker than last years, and in case we all forgot the Bills owe Ryan Fitzpatrick another $41 Million until 2017, so he is too expensive to trade. The following is an unpopular thought, and I admit I may be seeing this through bearded glasses here, but is another year with Ryan Fitzpatrick so bad? A solid linebacker at number 8, a Ryan Nassib who won’t have the pressure to start in year one in the second round. Is that so bad? Will Ralph Wilson Stadium self destruct if that happens? I will never understand why if a Quarterback is taken in the first round he must start from day one of training camp. There is some guy in Green Bay named Aaron Rodgers who sat and watched for a little bit and seems to be doing fine. I also don’t understand why a franchise quarterback has to be a first round pick. Ryan Fitzpatrick was a 7th rounder (that was a bad joke, I’m sorry), or remember when Russell Wilson made the Bills look like the Indiana Hoosiers in Toronto? I don’t remember seeing him in New York City.
So would Ryan Nassib or Mike Glennon be the sexy pick at number eight? Yes, of course. Are they the best options moving forward? Your guess is as good as mine. One thing is for sure is that the Ryan Nassib saga is in it’s infantile stages with more names and scenarios to emerge along the way. The only thing I can for sure is that Bills fans should fasten their seat belts, because if there is one (and I do mean one) good thing about being a Bills fan it is this: come April, the draft is always filled with if nothing else, intrigue.