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A calculated risk paid off for Bills general manager Buddy Nix in the first round of the NFL draft on Thursday. Not only did he acquire more draft picks by trading back eight spots in the first round, Nix was still able to fill the Bills biggest need by drafting Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel with the 16th overall selection.
Manuel was the first quarterback selected during an offensive-line heavy first round.
And he landed in Buffalo after the Bills took a gamble by swapping their first pick, at eighth overall, in a deal with St. Louis. It was a trade in which Buffalo acquired additional second- and seventh-round selections (46th and 222nd overall).
Manuel becomes only the third quarterback Buffalo has ever selected in the first round, and fills a need that's been unsettled since Hall of Famer Jim Kelly retired after the 1996 season.
He becomes the new face of a franchise that hasn't made the playoffs in 13 seasons -- the NFL's longest active drought. And it's a team in the midst of rebuilding from scratch under new head coach Doug Marrone.
In selecting Manuel, the Bills passed over another quarterback prospect in Ryan Nassib, who spent the past four seasons playing under Marrone at Syracuse.