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Bills blew smoke for months, wanted E.J. Manuel all along

2013 NFL Draft

NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 25: E.J. Manuel of the Florida State Seminoles holds up a jersey on stage after he was picked #16 overall by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft at Radio City Music Hall on April 25, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)

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It remains to be seen whether the Buffalo Bills are finally building a good team again after a dozen years out of the playoffs. But we do know one thing: The Bills are good at blowing smoke around draft time.

Heading into the draft, we had heard reports that the Bills wanted Syracuse’s Ryan Nassib as their franchise quarterback of the future, or maybe they wanted West Virginia’s Geno Smith, and then came late word that they wanted USC’s Matt Barkley. And there was also talk that the highest-rated player on their board was wide receiver Tavon Austin.

But when Thursday night’s first round came around, the Bills traded down with the Rams (a team that really did want Austin) and then used the 16th overall pick to draft a quarterback few thought they wanted, Florida State’s E.J. Manuel. Today on Mike and Mike in the Morning, Bills coach Doug Marrone said that for all the talk about all the other players the Bills wanted, they actually knew all along that Manuel was the guy they wanted.

“Right from the beginning -- it happened a while ago,” Marrone said when asked when the Bills put Manuel atop their quarterback wish list. “It was very easy, it was very easy for all of us, we were all in it together and we were very excited about it.”

The Bills wisely masked that excitement until they turned in their card on Thursday night.