For Buffalo Bills fans, many have had no choice but to start thinking about the 2013 NFL Draft months ago. It was apparent from early on that the league's 2012 off-season champion would conclude another disappointing season without playing in the postseason.
The only solace for losing often in the NFL is being able to bring in a blue-chip prospect that can be the cornerstone of a franchise. Bills fans have been looking for good quarterback play since Jim Kelly retired. How many times do you hear that during the broadcast during this playoff-less streak?
Unfortunately, this is not the year to have a high draft pick. Many of the "elite" prospects have question marks, especially at the quarterback position. Couple that with General Manager Buddy Nix's fixation on getting one this year and the Bills will have to walk gingerly through a minefield of potential busts to unearth the best candidate for the job. One could make the argument that, regardless of need, this isn't the year for the Bills to take a signal caller early. However, that doesn't mean the prospects shouldn't be heavily analyzed.
The following is my grading of the quarterback prospects for the 2013 NFL Draft.
While the quarterback premium in the NFL will cause many of the following players to be over-drafted, I assign value to them based on their value at their respective position:
10.0-9.5 (Top Five):
The player demonstrates the ability to become one of the league’s best at his respective position. He is a cornerstone for the franchise that the team can build around.
9.4-9.0 (1st Round):
The player demonstrates the ability to develop into a Pro Bowl-caliber player at the next level and should be one of the upper-tier players at his respective position. He should be able to come in and start early in his career.
8.9-8.5 (2nd Round):
The player demonstrates the ability to develop into an above-average-to-solid starter. He should be able to make an impact on the roster early. [The 8.5-8.6 range indicates a dirty starter that can start, but has issues that will limit him]
8.4-8.0 (3rd Round):
The player shows the potential of becoming a starter, but needs some polishing to get to that point. Usually, this will mean they need to find a little more consistency in their game. They may also be a valuable contributor.
7.9-7.5 (4th Round):
Flashes ability, but needs improvement if he’s ever going to break into a starting lineup. The prospect has upside, but is a few years off from potentially starting (if ever). These players should at least be valuable contributors and provide depth to a roster.
7.4-7.0 (5th Round):
The player has limited upside. He is mostly a contributor that provides depth. Their impact will primarily be on special teams and filling out the 2nd or 3rd strings of the roster.
6.9-6.5 (6th Round):
This player is a project. He may lack production or the measurables, but has redeeming qualities that could equate to him developing into something more.
6.4-6.0 (7th Round):
This is a player that hasn’t produced a lot of good tape at this stage in his development. He is a flier that you hope can be coached into something more.
For each prospect, I'll explain their grade, scouting report, summary and potential fit with the Bills.