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Bills are overdue to invest in franchise QB

Combine

No team in the NFL has invested less in the quarterback position over the last 14 years than the Buffalo Bills. In 2013 they selected Erik Rodriguez (EJ) Manuel in the first round. That is the only time they have used either a first or second round pick in the draft on a quarterback during those nearly two decades. How rare is that? In that same time frame only 7 other NFL teams have also not taken a quarterback in the first two rounds. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out why those teams have stayed away from a pick. The Giants (Eli) Ravens (Flacco) Chargers (Rivers) Saints (Brees) have the long time starters. The outliers? The Cowboys who hit a home run with free agent Tony Romo and may have one with 4th rounder Dak Prescott and the Seahawks who broke all the rules by finding Russell Wilson in the 3rd. I think it is well past time for the Bills to stop bargain shopping and go in on a quarterback to lead this franchise. After a trip to the NFL Scouting Combine, here are my 10 thoughts on the Bills search and the Process.

1)Tyrod Taylor is not going to return: Don’t be fooled by Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane commenting on seeing Tyrod being on the roster. For the 89th time Sean McDermott said Tyrod Taylor is a hard worker. (He could have added nice man, great dresser, good teammate and safe driver). Beane said they aren’t afraid of giving him the roster bonus. Not afraid? If Tyrod was in their plans this would be a blip not a thing. They are polling GM’s around the league to find out what the market would be for a trade for Tyrod. If it doesn’t justify the $6 mil to buy that draft pick, Tyrod will be cut.

2) Nothing is off the table: Could the Bills “mortgage the future” and trade up for quarterback? Absolutely. But that will only happen if they fall in love with one of the highest ranked quarterbacks. And that move likely would not happen until Round one is beginning. Unless you talk the Browns out of the top pick, you can not control what other teams do (either making picks or making trades) It will cost the Bills a fortune in draft capital. Start with 21 and 22 from this year, add in the 2019 first round pick and add another high pick or a player. You ready to make that move? If you got Carson Wentz you would be. But then again if everyone knew how good Wentz was going to be there would be no way to make that trade. (Insert Browns joke here)

3) Bills have passed on passers: I joke about the Browns, but the Bills could have taken Deshaun Watson and he has shown real signs of superstardom. They traded with the Chiefs and Kansas City people talk like Patrick Mahomes is the next Brett Favre. As good as Tre White has been (and the potential of the 22nd pick this year) you would run to Houston to trade them for Watson.

4) Of course all top prospects have flaws: Let me count the ways. Josh Rosen (too smart, too slow) Josh Allen (too inaccurate, too Wyoming) Baker Mayfield (too short, too cocky) Lamar Jackson (too shotgun, too athletic) Sam Darold (too many turnovers, too USC). Please. Nearly every current quarterback, including the stars, has flaws. The key is to identify what they do well and determine if what they struggle with can be fixed or minimized. Nick Foles has very apparent flaws, but coaching, confidence and playmakers sure made him play like a star.

5) No question Lamar Jackson is a quarterback, but…..Don’t be fooled by the run of support for Jackson and the rush to call Bill Polian old and out of touch. Polian is wrong to say Jackson should switch to WR. But…..just because I believe Lamar will play in the NFL does not mean I would draft him with my first round pick. Choosing a quarterback is not dating, it’s marrying. You don’t use the pick, you gear your entire franchise to that player. Everything you do is built upon making it work with that quarterback. I like Lamar Jackson (I voted for him for the Heisman last year and had him 4th this year) but I would not make him my franchise quarterback.

6) Josh Rosen is not a Buffalo guy: I like his smarts. I like that he has a thought out opinion on life. I like that he is comfortable in his own skin. I just think the kid from Manhattan Beach fits more in Manhattan than Buffalo. This is not a slight on Rosen who is compared to Matt Ryan and Jared Goff as a player. That is really good company. But we are talking face of the franchise stuff here folks. To me that is live in Buffalo year round and make this your town. I don’t see Rosen buying into Buffalo.

7) Josh Allen is a McDermott type: 10 minutes into his Combine interview our Toby Motyka texted me from his spot at the news conference and said “McDermott will love this guy” Wyoming. Worked on a farm. Big, strong and athletic with very limited choices going into college. He is built and moves like Carson Wentz. Accuracy is a flaw that scouts will tell you is very difficult to improve. But something tells me that he will be the one they love (and then have to determine if he is worth the draft picks for a trade)

8) Baker Mayfield will be a star: He’s cocky, he’s arrogant and he thinks he is the best quarterback in the draft. Of course I am talking about 1983 Jim Kelly in Miami. Thank goodness there was no social media when the Bills Hall of Famer and toughest dude around JK was coming out of school. Hold off on your email right now. I am not saying Mayfield is Jim Kelly. I am saying cockiness and arrogance can play to a quarterback’s advantage. Mayfield’s teammates and coaches seem to love him. That is what separates him from the silly comparisons to Johnny Manziel. I say he goes to the Jets and the Bills see him twice a year.

9) Sam Darold is a hard pass for me: USC quarterbacks have a terrible recent NFL history. Darold turns the ball over way too much. I don’t like that he did not throw at the Combine. Could the guy become a very good NFL player? Sure. But he seems more Matt Barkley than Matt Ryan to me.

10) Sit and Wait is dangerous: Over the next 6 weeks everyone and their brother will tell me about their sleeper QB the Bills should take late in round 1 or 2 or 3. Sure it can work, but we are talking outliers again. (Russell Wilson) Aaron Rodgers might be the most talented quarterback in NFL history, but who knows how he would have played if he was drafted by a bad Browns team and thrown on the field week 1 instead of year 3 in Green Bay. Maybe Mason Rudolph or Luke Falk or Kyle Lauretta is the next surprise superstar. But again it is the exception and not the rule and are you prepared to let him sit and learn?

Free agency will have a massive impact on the draft. Once we know where Kirk Cousins is going (Denver appears to be the favorite) the draft picture will become much clearer. I think we will get a real indication of the Bills plan once we see if they make a play for any of the potential starters (Bridgewater, Keenum, McCarron). Is it possible they still have real faith in Nate Peterman? Email me MCatalana@13wham.com or catch me on Twitter @MikeCatalana and we can discuss.

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