Let me start by saying that about this time last year I posted that we should wait until this draft to get our franchise QB. The logic was that last years draft after Bradford was painfully thin at the top and that this years draft would provide much better availability of elite talent. I was told that it does not work that way and you cant draft on what you think will happen next year. They were right and I was wrong. Luck did not declare, Locker had a disastrous year, and Mallet added some red flags to his resume. So with that out of the way lets look at what we should and should not do this year with the even thinner than last year top talent, and the deep second tier prospects.
The should do's:
Draft Newton, or Gabbert at #3 if they think either one can become that franchise guy. I will trust there judgment on this one. Fitz has only got one more year and I dont like the idea of having to resign him for the type of money he could command in a QB deprived league. I would love to have him on our team for the long term, but not for more then 3 Mil.@ year and for that he might walk. So time is running out to train a prospect.
If Newton and Gabbert are not available or deemed franchise QB's then get one later in the draft. there are plenty of second tier guys that could become at least quality starting QB's. Chan has a reputation for doing a lot with a little at the position, so even a second tier guy could do some good things if the chemistry and tools are right. we will need a #2 QB for the future should our second tier selection not turn out to be a starter. I think it is safe to say that Brohm is done here and Brown is close to it also.
Move forward or back with our second and third round picks to get a QB in the second round. A lot of really smart draft guys have all these second tier guys jumping all over the place from #34 to # 79 in the second and third rounds, but most of the early second round placements are due to need not talent. I would be much happier getting one of these guys in the last half of the second round then at #34.
Bring in an exp. veteran in FA if and when that happens. It is clear that if Fitz had gone down last year for any length of time we would be drafting #1. We were not ready with a solid #2 QB. I was fine with giving Brohm and Brown a shot last year (throwaway year) but this team needs a solid proven backup. They dont have to be great, just some what proven. If Brohm, and Brown can beat him out for this years #2 guy great, but lets try to bring in some outside talent that is better then what we had at #2 last year.
The do not's:
Take Newton or Gabbert with the #3 pick because of all the hype. It happens almost every year. QB's rising up the mock drafts after the playing has long since ended. Players jumping whole rounds based on measurables, and athletic ability. These things have a place in evaluation, but it scares me when guys jump so high and a lot of it is just hype, and need at certain positions. I might add that Newton, Gabbert, and V. Miller were not even in the first rounds of a lot of mocks at the end of colegiate play. Pause, pause, pause. Nix has been clear and constant that if we take a guy it will be because they liked what they saw on tape during games, not because they can run through a set of cones fast. Please don't get caught up in all the hype.
Reach for a QB in the second just because they will not be there in the third. IMO there will be three QB's gone in the first round, and another four taken in the second(early). With our pick so early in the second it will be tempting to get a QB before all the good ones are gone. #34 is a little early for all of these guys except Kaepernick. I have Locker going in the first. A reach is a reach no matter what round you are in.
Start any QB taken in this years draft before 2012. Whoever the Bills get for their new prospect they should be given one year on the roster to learn period. They should be #3 on the depth chart.
Lets look at some of the players and how they fit into this plan.
C. Newton The Bills take him at #3 if they think he can be their man, because of his huge upside and proven(one year) on the field ability's. He is a major boom or bust project, but worth the risk if he pans out. He has the size and athletic ability's that are worth a gamble. Considering he will be signing under a new CBA with a reduced rookie pay scale I am a lot more willing to take this gamble now then even a month ago. They will play the hype for all it is worth even if they have decided against him because it is their only real shot for a trade down. (drafted in the top 5)
B. Gabbert The Bills see him for what he is a solid QB with some upside, but no where near worth the #3 pick. The Bills passed on the pickle last year and they will get this one right also. More smokescreen's. (drafted in the first round #3- #5)
J. Locker If the Bills pass on Newton, Locker could be their first target, and they will have to trade up into the first to get him. The question in my mind is how high are they willing to go? IMO they will not be willing to go high enough. It would take our second, and both fourth rounds to get above Seattle at #25. They might do that, if he is there, at #24, but I think Locker will likely go higher then that. (drafted in the first round #10- #17)
C. Kaepernick This is the only second tier QB, that I might would be OK taking at #34. He will be a project, but I think he will make it in the NFL. He will come off the board early in day two of the draft with NE being in that prime trade down position #33. (drafted in the second round #33- #41)
C. Ponder The Bills get a lot of talk with him and his connections with Gailey. It is just that IMO. He does not have the arm to make it in the Ralph. I like his accuracy, and that will help him off the board early in the second round also. (drafted in the second round #33- #41)
The rest of the second tier QB's can be had latter in the second round without as much reach factor and at almost no risk with the contracts being small.
Let me know hat you guys think!!