Disclaimer: This is not a mock draft. I have little ability to competently render one so early in the process.
We're a divided bunch here lately. Some of us are happy - perhaps simply relieved - that the Bills will not go 0-fer on the season (waving my hand here). The rest of you in the crowd likely let out a bit of a guilty groan when the Lions failed to dine on the previously winless feast laid out by the Buffalo Bills.
Why the divide? The draft. We're all looking waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay ahead to the draft this year. I've seen myriad comments and articles laying out who'd pick where should the season end today. Folks, let's face it. The Bills are not the worst team in the league. They're simply one of a few very bad teams with inconsistent, often uninspired play. One that could likely use a true face of the franchise at QB.
Yes, Fitzpatrick is a great story. He's been given an opportunity where most of us felt one wasn't previously deserved or available. He's found statistical success within his limitations. But he's been unable to beat teams into submission with his play. While hardly his fault alone, he seems to lack the "it" that elite QBs have when the game is on the line. That "it" is something most of us feel will be found when the Bills finally draft a QB, specifically Andrew Luck.
I don't see Buffalo finishing last in the league, so it's they likely won't control their own draft destiny, being granted the first pick overall. The way the season has played out thus far, I see them finishing just low enough to be near the top, but not far enough back for them to swing a substantial trade to move to #1.
That's dangerous to the fanbase. Everyone seems concerned with the teams that could finish "ahead" of Buffalo in the draft. But I think more attention needs to be paid to the teams that pick after Buffalo, teams who have QB situations as bad as, if not worse than Buffalo.
Who aside from Buffalo needs a QB? Well, I'd argue that Carolina most certainly would take Luck if he was there for them.
But don't forget about teams like:
- San Francisco: I'm a fan of Troy Smith, but he's likely no Luck.
- Minnesota: Yeah, they're gonna need a guy - T-Jax has an uphill battle.
- Arizona? You bet. ("Derek Hall" as I refer to them seem a better fit as the unknown twin brother to Daryl Hall.)
- Cincinnati? Palmer's not going to play forever.
- Jacksonville: Remember, they picked up Trent Edwards and Garrard is likely to fall back to Earth soon.
- Miami: Chad Henne is not getting it done and that team could contend with strong play at QB.
- The Raiders, where Al Davis might not be able to resist moving up to grab him some Luck.
- The Seahawks, who desperately need a solution to life without Hasselbeck.
- The Redskins because, well, they're the Redskins.
So while a team like Dallas could finish worse than Buffalo and not feel a need to draft Luck, they could still ruin the fans' hopes of Buffalo landing him by trading the pick away. It's likely any of the teams i've just mentioned above could try and move up to grab him.
So what do I think they need to do, should Luck enter the Draft?
They need to draft him! While I understand the sentiment behind tanking to secure that (hopeful) selection of Luck, it's not a lock to happen. If this is true, I think the Bills' best hope is to finish somewhere in the neighborhood of mediocrity, say the familiar territory of 6-10 or 7-9. That's going to be tough for this team, i'd say. I know i'll be rooting for them to win as many games as possible. That way, if Luck declares they may have more leverage to move up in the draft, as Ralph Wilson made it clear QB is a top priority.
Besides, if they start winning games, isn't that what we're all after, anyway?
I think it's important to remember that if the Bills do not get their guy at QB, namely Andrew Luck, there are going to be plenty of other players available who should help improve the team's fortunes.