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Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

2013 NFL Mock Draft: Buffalo Bills take Matt Barkley

The Buffalo Bills are gunning for a franchise quarterback, and they have worked out every 2013 NFL Draft prospect at the position with franchise potential; Geno Smith, E.J. Manuel, you name it, the Bills have left no stone unturned. During the regular season, General Manager Buddy Nix repeatedly stated that Ryan Fitzpatrick wasn’t the answer, and now Fitzpatrick is a backup for the Tennessee Titans after receiving walking papers from the Bills. Nix and the Bills know they have to do better and find a legitimate franchise QB in this draft, because I doubt they want to move forward with Tarvaris Jackson as their best quarterback.

In Don Banks’s 2013 NFL Mock Draft published on Sports Illustrated, the Buffalo Bills select USC Trojans standout Matt Barkley to be the next franchise QB-hopeful in Buffalo. Geno Smith is regarded as the best quarterback in this draft class for good reason, but he was not available for the Bills; Banks had the Jacksonville Jaguars yanking Smith off the board with the second pick.

Barkley is an interesting consolation prize, and he has worked his way back into being viewed as the second-best QB in this draft class. The Bills would have to morph their offense into a West Coast Offense by selecting Barkley, but it’s worth the switch in scheme if they believe Barkley can be “the guy”. Barkley and Smith are the only two safe selections at the quarterback position in this draft class, and Barkley has terrific short-range accuracy to combat arm strength deficiencies and other criticisms of his game.

The Bills will almost certainly take a quarterback in one of the first two rounds of the 2013 NFL Draft with the intention of making that QB “the guy”, because their biggest need comes at the biggest position. Ryan Nassib and Doug Marrone have the strongest links, but Nassib tends to get overrated. But if the Bills do believe that Nassib can be the guy, then he’s worth a second (maybe even a first) round choice spent.

Barkley’s big question is arm strength, and Banks notes that his draft stock will rise if the QB quells those concerns with a big pro day performance at USC today.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter for more NFL updates and analysis @SorianoJoe.

Tags: Buffalo Bills Football Geno Smith Matt Barkley Ryan Nassib Usc Trojans

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