The Buffalo Bills announced Monday that 73-year-old Buddy Nix would “step away” from his role as general manager, with assistant GM Doug Whaley expected to inherit the job. Nix will remain with the franchise as a “special assistant.”
“I’ve made this decision to step away from the general manager’s position because I feel it is the right time,” Nix said in a statement released by the team. “By the ‘right time’ I mean I think we have a good young roster, an excellent head coach with a good staff, and it’s time to let someone else handle these responsibilities and move forward together.”
That move comes a little more than two weeks after Buffalo made waves during Round 1 of the 2013 NFL Draft by trading down and then selecting QB E.J. Manuel from Florida State. The timing of Nix’s decision (perhaps a forced one) to adjust his responsibilities indicates that Whaley likely played a significant part in the Bills’ draft-day dealings.
Tyler Wilson threw for 7,765 yards and 52 touchdowns during his college career, exactly 24 yards and five touchdowns more than E.J. Manuel at Florida State. Obviously, NFL prospect analysis goes well beyond stats — Manuel also rushed for 827 yards to Wilson’s -44, and Florida State won five more games than Arkansas from 2009-12.
Still, there was a 96-pick gap between when Manuel came off the board at No. 16 overall in this year’s draft and when the Raiders nabbed Wilson at 112. Considering that Wilson could wind up with just as much of a shot to start in Week 1 as Manuel (or the four other QBs taken in the top 115), Oakland might reap a pretty nice return on its investment.
Wilson took a very tiny step toward that possibility over the weekend, when he opened some eyes at the Raiders’ rookie camp.
He was so impressive, in fact, that Steve Corkran of the Contra Costa Times wrote that ”Wilson is on track to push Matt Flynn for the starting job right away and certainly push (Terrelle) Pryor for the backup spot held by Matt Leinart last season.”
Minus a few tweaks here and there, either via trade or by picking through what’s left in free agency, NFL rosters are somewhat set for minicamps. With that in mind, we take a look at a dozen of the more fascinating position battles set to unfold before the regular season kicks off …
And now, we wait.
There are a little more than four months between the end of the NFL Draft and start of the regular season, so we’re left with plenty of time to analyze rosters. That is essentially where all the teams are, too — they’ll use the upcoming OTAs and camps to decipher their strengths and weaknesses, before trying to figure out how to address the latter.
Here is a breakdown of the most pressing question facing each team as the NFL heads into the summer:
The Patriots created a minor stir last offseason when they nabbed Jake Ballard off waivers from the Giants, a move that left New York coach Tom Coughlin feeling “very disappointed” and sparked discussions over the merits of an unwritten NFL rule that frowns upon claiming injured players.
About a year later, New England might be about to hit big on its gamble.
Aaron Hernandez is already in the midst of rehabbing a shoulder that required surgery in April, after he missed six games last season. And now, it appears that Rob Gronkowski will require a fourth, and possibly fifth, surgery on the forearm he broke in 2012. So, the Patriots again find themselves scrambling at tight end, a position that they’ve utilized heavily in reinventing their offense.