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Bills reportedly eyeing Matt Barkley, not Ryan Nassib

Opinions on Ryan Nassib's talent and NFL landing spot are all over the map.


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Some national analysts view Nassib as the top quarterback in the 2013 NFL Draft while others don't consider him a first-rounder at all. Several recent reports suggest Nassib will be in play for the Buffalo Bills at No. 8 overall due to his Syracuse ties and the perceived threat that the New York Jets could swoop in for the first-round steal.

Could the Bills be using Nassib's ties with former Syracuse head coach Doug Marrone as a smokescreen for their legitimate interest in a different quarterback?

SI.com's Peter King is hearing the Bills are "seriously targeting" USC's Matt Barkley. NFL.com's Albert Breer has also heard the Bills might have a higher grade on Barkley than Nassib.

Although Barkley's arm-strength concerns would be amplified in the inclement Buffalo weather, Marrone is an avowed fan of the quarterback's game.

After Barkley diced up Syracuse's defense with 324 yards and five touchdowns in a 2011 meeting, Marrone intimated that he would have rivaled Robert Griffin III as the second quarterback drafted last April had he not opted to stay in school.

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"I was one of a couple people that was hoping he'd go on to the NFL," Marrone said last October according to CBSSports.com. "I'm not going to sit here and tell you that I'm happy he's back."

Marrone went on to rave about Barkley's intangibles, pocket presence, patience and football IQ.

That high praise doesn't necessarily mean Marrone prefers Barkley to Nassib, but it does lend credence to the reports of King and Breer.

Don't be surprised if the Bills reach for Barkley or Nassib with the eighth pick. Breer believes they are not in love with any player that will fall to them, and they don't want to surrender their 2014 first-rounder to move back into the latter part of this year's first round for a quarterback.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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