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To any fan watching the 2012 NFL playoffs, there was one common factor: Every team had a quality passer at the quarterback position. The Bills rewarded Ryan Fitzpatrick with a six-year, $59 million contract early in the 2011 season.
This deal was incredibly premature, as the deal was signed after the team jumped out to a 4-2 start last year, before losing eight of its last 10 games.
While Fitzpatrick is a great leader of the Bills, he is far from being the franchise quarterback needed to consistently win games in the National Football League. Fitzpatrick ranked 17th in passer rating, 16th in completion percentage, 18th in yards, 24th in yards per attempt and 23rd in yards per game.
General manager Buddy Nix has made it clear that he fully intends on drafting a quarterback for the future before he leaves the team. Nix told WGR-AM in Buffalo:
Listen, we have said from Day 1, that we want to draft a good young quarterback. I don't want to leave here without a franchise guy for the future in place. I have not said that before, but I'm saying it now because it's a fact.
However, he's been chastised by the fanbase for passing on talent such as Andy Dalton, Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson, all quarterbacks who led their teams to the postseason, in favor of players like Aaron Williams and T.J. Graham who haven't panned out.
Fitzpatrick is an average quarterback, and at 30 years old, there's not much room for growth in his game.
He lacks ideal arm strength and ranked in the lower half of the league in completion percentage, despite playing in an offense based on quick, short passes to maximize his limited talent.
The Bills are in a division with one of the best quarterbacks to ever play the game in Tom Brady, and a highly touted draft pick, seen as a quarterback of the future, in Ryan Tannehill. If Buffalo wants to keep pace in the AFC East, it must address the quarterback position, and fast.
There aren't any starting-caliber quarterbacks in free agency, but Syracuse's Ryan Nassib, N.C. State's Mike Glennon and West Virginia's Geno Smith could all be had with a first-round draft pick.