The Buffalo Bills and head coach Doug Marrone bypassed former Syracuse quarterback Ryan Nassib in favor of Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel with the 16th pick in the NFL draft.
Buffalo had the opportunity to draft Nassib with the 8th overall pick, but ended up trading that to the Saint Louis Rams for the 16th pick. The two teams also swapped third round picks and the Bills also received the 46th and 222nd picks in the draft.
Still, even with a second opportunity to draft Nassib at 16, the Bills went in a different direction.
The pick came as a surprise, with Marrone’s obvious ties with Nassib from Syracuse and Manuel being listed as the No. 4 quarterback available. Many expected Buffalo to select Nassib, especially after Marrone hired offensive coordinator Nathaniel Hackett away from the Orange. Nassib was a three-year starter under Marrone.
Other quarterbacks on the board, USC’s Matt Barkley and West Virginia’s Geno Smith, were also rated higher. None of those players were selected in the first round.
The Bills cut incumbent starting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick last month, although they did sign Kevin Kolb to a multi-year deal earlier in April. Manuel is expected to compete for the starting job in his rookie season.
Manuel threw for 3,397 yards and 23 touchdowns in his senior year at FSU. For his career, he threw 47 touchdowns in 41 games.
At Syracuse, Nassib was an All-Big East Second Team selection, and a 2012 Pro Football Weekly All-American. He was ranked 17th nationally and led the Big East with 288.4 yards per game. Nassib led SU to an 8-5 (5-2 Big East) record overall and a 38-14 win over West Virginia in the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl.