By trading away Tyrod Taylor to the Cleveland Browns and only signing veteran quarterback A.J. McCarron to a two-year deal, the Buffalo Bills are putting themselves into position to get their next potential franchise quarterback in this years’ draft. This incoming class is loaded with talent at the quarterback position.
After moving up to the 12th pick, the Bills still own the 22nd pick as well as two picks in the second round (#53 8) and two picks in the third round (#65 & #96). With them in a great position to trade up, they could trade up into either a top five pick or top three. It’s more than likely they won’t be drafting someone like Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph. Their main focus will be on Sam Darnold, Josh Rosen, Baker Mayfield and Josh Allen.
Brandon Beane can call either the New York Giants, Indianapolis Colts, possibly the Cleveland Browns at the #4 pick or the Denver Broncos to get a deal done.
There have been lots of rumors about the Bills trading up to #3 to take the Colts pick. If they can get into the top three, the Bills will be in a position to get either Darnold or Rosen. Getting to either the fourth or fifth overall pick can help them land Mayfield or Allen.
With one of these four quarterbacks within reach of the Bills, there are different scenarios for possible trades. No matter what, the Bills will have to give up their two first-round picks, both their second round picks and either one or both of their third round picks.
If the Bills are willing to make this type of move, the front office will need to scout very hard on which quarterback is their guy.
QB Sam Darnold
The only the Bills could possibly get Darnold is if they trade with the Giants to get the number two pick overall and the Browns go in a different direction at number one. At 6’3″ and 220 pounds, Darnold has the size that most teams look for in a quarterback. After redshirting in 2015, he took over the starting job in 2016 and 2017 and finished with a career 7,229 passing yards, 57 touchdowns and 22 interceptions.
As a main pocket passer, Darnold can also make plays with is feet, but it does not happen much. With Darnold, turnovers a big question. Not just interceptions, but fumbles as well. The Bills can not afford a turn-the-ball over quarterback, especially if they trade up.
Even though Darnold is a long shot for the Bills, anything is possible on draft night.
QB Josh Rosen
The Bills have a higher chance at potentially getting Rosen as compared to Darnold. It can be argued that Rosen might be the only rookie quarterback in this draft that could start from day one. Much like Darnold, Rosen has the size, standing at 6’4″. Rosen is able to play under center which fits in the Bills offensive scheme with them being a run-first team.
In his three years at UCLA, Rosen finished with 9,340 passing yards, 59 touchdowns and 26 interceptions. Even with the talent that he has, his character when it comes to leadership is in question. He can develop that type of help under the culture that is being built by Sean McDermott, but it may take some time.
QB Baker Mayfield
When thinking of Mayfield, it’s easy to go straight to the character issues that he faces. When it comes to his talent that he possesses, there can be argument as to why Mayfield is the most talented quarterback in this draft class. Yes, he’s smaller than all the other three quarterbacks coming in, standing at 6’1″ but both Drew Brees and Russell Wilson are shorter than Mayfield and both of them have a Super Bowl ring.
After transferring from Texas Tech, the Oklahoma Sooner finished his collegiate career with 14,607 passing yards, 131 touchdowns and 30 interceptions. He was the Heisman Trophy winner this past season and shows the type of passion he has for the game.
The biggest red flag is what type of person he’ll be in the NFL. With some of his antics that he has pulled in college, it hurt his draft stock. Mock drafts have him as high as the number one overall pick to falling down to as far as #21.
It’s very unlikely he goes in the top three, but he’ll be someone to watch once the Browns are on the clock at number four.
QB Josh Allen
Coming as the biggest prospect at 6’5″ and in the 230 range, Allen has the strongest arm out of every other quarterback. He had a breakout season in 2016 when he won the starting job. Throwing for 3,203 yards and 28 touchdowns, Allen put his name out for the college football world.
His two years as the starter at Wyoming, Allen threw for 5,066 yards, 44 touchdowns and 21 interceptions. With his size that he has and the throwing power he possesses, an NFL team that is in need for a quarterback could benefit having him.
The biggest downfall about Allen? His accuracy needs major improvement. He may need to work on his mechanics his first year as a rookie, if he does not start but which ever team picks him will make that decision.
Which QB’s Will Be Available At What Spot?
The likely scenario for the Bills on draft night is that if they can get up to the number two or three pick, they have a higher chance at getting Rosen more than Darnold, but we’ve seen the surprising draft picks over the years’ so Darnold might be available. If the Bills get to number four or five, Mayfield or Allen are the biggest possibilities.
With the NFL draft coming up next month, Beane will need to find a trading partner if he does indeed want to trade up to get a quarterback. They have a couple weeks to prepare, but time is going by fast. Stay tuned.
-Brandon Ray is a Managing Editor for Full Press Coverage and covers the Buffalo Bills. Follow him on Twitter at @brandon_ray79 and @FPC_Bills for Buffalo Bills coverage.