Niagara Gazette

Sports

April 26, 2013

Bills take Manuel with 1st round pick

(Continued)

Niagara Gazette — Manuel becomes only the third quarterback Buffalo has selected in the first round, and first since the Bills took J.P. Losman with the 22nd pick in 2004. The other quarterback selected in the first round by the Bills was Hall of Famer Jim Kelly, taken 14th in 1983.

Quarterback is a position that has been unsettled in Buffalo ever since Kelly retired following the 1996 season. No player has lasted more than three seasons as starter since.

The Bills are once again rebuilding from scratch. They haven't had a winning season since a 9-7 finish in 2004. And Buffalo hasn't made the playoffs in 13 seasons, the NFL's longest active drought. Over that stretch, the Bills are now on their sixth head coach and fifth general manager.

The trade with the Rams gives the Bills two second-round picks, including their own at 41.

The trade did not come as a surprise because Nix had expressed a desire to add selections after the Bills entered the draft with only six picks. That was not deemed to be enough to rebuild a team coming off a 6-10 seasons and with needs at numerous positions.

This marked the first time since 2001 in which the Bills have traded down in the first round. That's when Buffalo swapped first-round picks with Tampa Bay, dropping from 14th to 21st, and added a second-rounder.

The Bills have not shown any signs of improvement despite selecting no higher than 12th in each of the previous seven drafts.

Buffalo regressed on offense last season, finishing 19th in the NFL in yards gained. The offense scored two or fewer touchdowns eight times.

And their high-priced defense was even worse, despite the free-agent addition of defensive end Mario Williams, who signed a six-year, $100 million contract. Buffalo allowed 150-plus yards rushing seven times. The 435 points allowed were the second-most in team history, while the 5,806 yards allowed were the fourth-most given up by Buffalo.

Barring more trades, the Bills have seven picks left.

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