With Ryan Nassib's Stock Rising, Is He a Lock to the Bills at No. 8 Overall?

Erik FrenzSenior Writer IMarch 22, 2013

Dec 29, 2012; Bronx, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange quarterback Ryan Nassib (12) drops back to pass during the first quarter against the West Virginia Mountaineers at the 2012 New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium.  Syracuse defeated West Virginia 38-14.  Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

The Ryan Nassib bandwagon is getting ready to leave the station, and we know how the Buffalo Bills feel about wagons. They may want to think twice before they circle this one.

Not Greg Cosell of NFL Films, though. The well-respected film guru said Thursday on NFL Network's Path to the Draft that he considers Nassib the top quarterback prospect in this year's class, ahead of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith:

I liked him overall more than Geno Smith. I think he's a much more precise intermediate thrower. I think the ball comes out with a little better velocity at the intermediate level. And I think he's a little more accurate. And I like his footwork a little bit better. 

Well, that's different, but not surprising. 

The wide-ranging opinion of Nassib have had pundits all over the map. Two months ago, Russ Lande of NationalFootballPost called Nassib "the best quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft and worth drafting with the first overall pick."

However, in conversation, Bleacher Report's Matt Miller told me he "wouldn't touch [Nassib] in the first round." Miller's most recent mock draft has the Bills taking Nassib with the 41st overall pick.

In my limited review of Nassib's game tape at DraftBreakdown.com, his accuracy came into question. In games against USC and Louisville, he was up and down. Accurate at times, inaccurate at others. Great decision one minute, bone-headed throw the next. A beautifully thrown deep pass here, an under-thrown duck there.

NFL Network's draft analyst Mike Mayock said on "The Rich Eisen Podcast" that he ultimately thinks that Nassib should be a second- or third-round pick but that his stock could rise when teams get him in the meeting room and get him on the board (30:30 mark):

Ryan Nassib is a kid I've seen play since his sophomore year in high school, because he went to Malvern Prep, the same team my son played on. So I've seen Ryan for years, and he's a sneaky athletic kid that reminds me a little bit more of the Andy Dalton-type guy than he does the Russell Wilson-type guy. He's got a good arm, he's smart as can be. Really smart kid—tough, hard-working kid. But he doesn't have a gun. He's got a good arm and he's probably a second- or third-round guy.

The whole situation smacks of Dolphins quarterback Ryan Tannehill's situation last year.

We know Nassib's former head coach Doug Marrone is now the head coach in Buffalo, much like Tannehill's Texas A&M head coach Mike Sherman left to be the offensive coordinator in Miami. Just like Tannehill, no one can seem to agree on whether Nassib is truly a first-round talent at quarterback.

The Dolphins had the eighth pick in the 2011 draft; the Bills have the eighth pick this year. 

It's easy to understand why people are making the connection of Nassib to Buffalo, but does it have to be in the first round? In a radio show confessional of sorts on WGR in November, Bills general manager Buddy Nix mentioned the possibility of a trade to "move up a round" and get a quarterback:

Let me say this: I think there's a time that in the era that you're in and the development of your team, there's a time when you can move up a round to take a quarterback. And I think the time's now for us.

I mean, if a guy's there—I keep saying that, and there'll be one out there—if the guy's there, then I think we'll target—as I've said before—drafting a good quarterback. We need a good, young quarterback, and we're going to do our best to get him.

It takes two sides to make a deal, but the Bills could trade up into the back end of the first round if they want Nassib and are afraid of another team taking him.

The stars have aligned, it seems, but the Bills would be foolish not to do their due diligence. They are already making progress on that front and have reportedly scheduled a pre-draft private workout with Geno Smith.

USC quarterback Matt Barkley is another option that's being thrown around as a first-round quarterback by most experts, and Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel is getting some pub from Mayock, as well. 

There are plenty of quarterbacks that no one can agree on, and Nassib is one of them. There's no guarantee he'll be taken in the first round, much less in the top 10.


Erik Frenz is also a Patriots/AFC East writer for Boston.comFollow Erik on Twitter and "like" the AFC East blog on Facebook to keep up with all the updates. Unless otherwise noted, all quotes obtained first-hand or via team press releases.