NFL Draft 2011: Why Colin Kaepernick Is the Answer for the Buffalo Bills

Robert Quinn@@RQuinn619Correspondent IMarch 26, 2011

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - JANUARY 09:  Colin Kaepernick #10 of the Nevada Wolf Pack looks to pass the ball against Boston College during the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl at AT&T Park on January 9, 2011 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Throughout the week, several reports have surfaced that Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix and head coach Chan Gailey are highly interested in selecting Auburn quarterback Cam Newton with the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

The Bills reportedly treated both Newton and fellow top-ranked quarterback, Blaine Gabbert of Missouri, to dinner, leading to further speculation on the direction of their first draft pick.

But is selecting Newton or Gabbert the quick-fix solution for the Bills?

Last season, the 4-12 Bills ranked 24th in the league in passing, averaging 197 yards per game through the air with Ryan Fitzpatrick throwing for 3,000 yards and 23 touchdowns to just 15 interceptions.

Clearly Fitzpatrick isn't the long-term answer at quarterback, as the Harvard graduate has been a journeyman throughout his career, but he definitely has the ability to be a stop-gap at the position for a season or two.

With the No. 3 overall pick, the Bills should opt to solidify the defensive side of the ball by selecting Marcell Dareus, defensive tackle/end out of Alabama, or LSU's shutdown cornerback Patrick Peterson before going after a quarterback.

Newton is the sexy name this year, after the Heisman Trophy winner led the Auburn Tigers to a National Championship over the Oregon Ducks.  Newton passed for 2,854 yards, 30 touchdowns and just seven interceptions, adding another 1,473 yards and 20 touchdowns on the ground.

Those eye-boggling numbers are impressive, but with all the red flags surrounding him, can Newton be the Bills' savior?

To me, the answer at quarterback lies in the No. 34 overall selection, where Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick will likely be available.

Kaepernick isn't a day-one starter, but he fits the mold of quarterbacks such as Kordell Stewart and Tyler Thigpen, whom Gailey has used in the past.

Kaepernick is coming off a stellar career at Nevada and is the only player in the history of Division I football to pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 4,000 yards, while leading his team to 32 victories.

At 6'4" and 220 pounds, he still has room to add some bulk to his frame, but Kaepernick has the elusiveness and arm strength that will be needed behind the Bills' shoddy offensive line and windy Buffalo weather.

The kid is a great athlete, being a three-sport, all-pro in high school where he excelled in football, basketball and baseball.  He received several scholarships to be a pitcher before choosing Nevada to play football.

Kaepernick received a multitude of awards in his collegiate career, including becoming the first sophomore since Marshall Faulk to win the WAC Offensive Player of the Year, an award he won twice.

His touchdown to interception ratio was more than 2:1 in each of his four years, and he was never sacked more than 18 times in a season, which is a testament to his consistency and elusiveness.

While Kaepernick isn't an instant starter, the Bills should definitely address the defensive side of the ball with the first pick, and allow Kaepernick to sit for a season or two behind Fitzpatrick to develop into the quarterback of the future.