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New Bills GM Doug Whaley integral in EJ Manuel pick

The Buffalo Bills raised plenty of eyebrows after taking EJ Manuel with the No. 16 pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, making him the first quarterback to go off the board. New general manager Doug Whaley isn't shy about taking ownership of the pick, even if he was second-in-command to Buddy Nix at the time.

"I was an integral part in the drafting process of EJ Manuel," Whaley said on NFL Network's "NFL Total Access" on Thursday. "I was the person that handled the draft process and setting up the board."

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Whaley did allow that it was a "collaborative effort" between area scouts, cross-checkers, coach Doug Marrone and Nix, but the new front-office boss is comfortable with hanging his hat on Manuel after vetting the quarterback in the pre-draft process.

"We have a philosophy that the information makes the decision," Whaley explained. "We think that we did enough due diligence, and the information pointed us all to this point that EJ would be the guy we feel will take the Buffalo Bills into the future."

Whaley's confidence is refreshing after Nix seemed to be in over his head while running the show for three and a half years. According to's Ian Rapoport, Whaley is a "bright young star" who has impressed colleagues with his smarts and personnel acumen in his time with the Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers.

The Bills finally seem pointed in the right direction. It now falls on Whaley's hand-picked franchise quarterback to end the longest active playoff drought in the NFL.

Follow Chris Wesseling on Twitter @ChrisWesseling.

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