If you want to know who the Bills should take with their first pick in Thursday’s NFL Draft, who better to talk to than the architect of some of the franchise’s best ever drafts? Former Bills General Manager Bill Polian is working for ESPN these days and he was a guest on the WGR morning show on Tuesday.
As far as having the tenth overall selection, Polian said it provides a bit of a challenge for the Bills. “Its right on the cusp of impact guys. It’s a tough position to be in. You can’t always get the guy you want and you can’t always get an impact guy” Polian told WGR. “I don’t know if it will be a difference maker like (Marcell) Dareus but it will be a very good player.”
From a philosophical standpoint, the former Indianapolis Colts President has 4 tenets about what you should be looking for from a top 10 draft pick. “You want to draft a guy who can score touchdowns” Polian said. “You want to draft a guy who can sack quarterbacks, you want to draft a guy who turns the ball over or get a cornerstone position on defense.”
After having said that Polian then pointed out the Bills might want to take care of a spot that doesn’t fit into one of those tenets. “The Bills clearly, clearly have a need at left tackle” Polian said. “If they took a left tackle at that position I wouldn’t quarrel with it at all. I think it would be the right pick in fact. All 3 guys that are there would be fine players at that pick.” Polian was referring to Jonathan Martin, Riley Reiff and Cordy Glenn.
As far as the number one pick in the draft, Polian(who did extensive work on Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III while still working for the Colts) said he has the two quarterbacks in a dead heat but Indianapolis is taking Luck because he is the proper system fit for the Colts. As opposed to the year he took Peyton Manning over Ryan Leaf, Polian is convinced both Luck and RG3 will have very successful careers because they have all of the intangibles you need in a quarterback like intelligence, leadership and character.
As far as his former franchise qb is concerned, Polian said Manning will do fine in Denver and that his recovery is right on schedule and moving along exactly as the doctors had predicted. Polian added he was told by a very reliable source that Manning was healthy enough to have played a game by mid March.
We also spoke to Polian about the Bills blockbuster signing of Mario Williams who Polian used to see twice a season when the Texans faced the Colts. “He was a handful for us” Polian said. “He’s a problem for any offensive tackle but particularly for speed tackles like D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Nate Solder and people like that in the division because he can turn speed into power instantly. He’s as powerful as he is fast. It’s the best move of free agency. The only cautionary note is he was injured the last couple of years so you have to worry a little bit about that. If he stays healthy and is playing well, they’ll(Bills) have some people on defense that can now cause some problems for people in that division.”
Polian also spoke highly of the new Defensive Coordinator Dave Wannstedt and thinks Williams, among others, will flourish in his system. “He plays a style that players like to play. He plays a style that gets a lot of people to the football. Most Important its easy to learn and easy to play therefore players can cut it loose, use their abilities and not have to worry about this, that and other things before you make a move.”
We closed the interview by asking him when the Bills will end their NFL long playoff drought and Polian said they are “as close as keeping (Ryan) Fitzpatrick healthy. He’s a good quarterback but he has to stay healthy.” He added they need to take a step forward defensively and are on the right path to do that with Wannstedt. Polian concluded by saying he’ll always have a special place in his heart for Bills fans and Western New York.