Most people here agree Ryan Fitzpatrick will never be an elite QB in this league. He isn't going to carry this team deep into the playoffs, yet alone to a Superbowl. I like Fitz- he is a good leader and is capable of playing at a high level. The problem is that when the run game isn't clicking and the defense shuts down the short stuff he falls apart. He hasn't shown the ability to put a team on his back and make things happen like championship caliber QB's do.
Many are calling for the Bills to draft a pass rusher, corner, or receiver. They believe that that, with a better supporting cast, this team can make the big game with Fitz behind center. I think passing on a QB, even if we aren't 100% sold, would be the wrong move.
Teams that make the playoffs consistently and win Superbowl's don't have average QB's. Think about the last 10 seasons- the teams that are always there have elite QB's. Patriots with Brady. Colts with Manning. Saints with Brees. Eagles with McNabb. Packers will continue to be strong as long as Rodgers is there. The list goes on. Yes- there are exceptions. The Ravens seem to make playoffs every year with a dominant defense. The Jets made consecutive championship games with Sanchez. Bears rode Urlacher and company to the big game with Grossman under center. Problem is the season always seems to end because that QB is holding them back when the games matter most.
To win a SB like the Ravens did you don't just need a top 8 defense- you need the best one. The Bills are at the very least 3 players away from having that. We need a guy like Suggs to rush the passer, a top 15 CB, and at least one more impact player at minimum while keeping the rest of the team in tact. This franchise isn't going to make big splashes in FA, so the chances of landing an elite pass rusher outside the draft are minimal.
Let's say we sign Tracey Porter and Robert Meachem like a lot of people want. I think it's unlikely, but for we'll go with it. That's a great start. Then we draft a guy like Aldon Smith. Sure, that would make our defense much better and maybe even good enough to make a playoff spot. But could we stop teams like NO, GB, NE, or SD? Slow them down a little maybe, but there still putting up 30 on us. You trust Fitz to match those numbers? I don't.
Now were stuck in the position were we need to go get a new QB... Good ones don't exactly fall into your lap very often, so then you have to draft one. You think one will be sitting there at the end of the first round that will be a franchise guy? Now your stuck in a spot where you have a solid team everywhere except the most important position.
Now picture the same FA acquisitions, but we draft a QB in the first then an Akeem Ayers type in the second. The team may be good enough for playoffs next season, but probably not. Either way you have another year to add pieces and you have a QB who can be ready to step in when the time comes that the team is ready to make a run.
I know what your worried about- what if the QB is a bust? Yea, it's a 50:50 chance. But it's no riskier than taking the gamble on a pass rusher, and a good QB can do far much for your team. With a run game like ours a QB that can consistently complete passes over 10 yards this offense could be dangerous. It would also help the D out. Our defense ranked very poorly and certainly had their share of poor performances; But how many times during the losing streak did the offense leave them out to dry by not sustaining drives and giving them time to rest? In the Bills 6 wins, we averaged 22 first downs and 30:30 TOP. In the 10 losses, 16 first downs and 26:20 TOP. Not to say the D wasn't playing at a lower level, but the offense certainly wasn't helping them out much.
People also argue that there won't be a QB worthy of taking at #10 on the board. Problem is that if you wait until the 2nd round for a signal caller the chance you draft a bust more than doubles. People reach on QB's- it's the nature of the draft. If the Bills like a guy and don't see any major red flags than they need to go for it. He doesn't need to be Luck or RG3- if Gailey can get productivity out of Fitz imagine what he can do with a guy who has some real talent and a year on the bench. Even if he is a Joe Flacco or Josh Freeman type I think Gailey could get him playing at a higher level than Fitz could consistently achieve. It's worth the risk.
I get the arguments. We need a pass rusher desperately. We need another legitimate talent at WR. We need to improve our secondary. I can't argue with any of that. Problem is, it's what the Bills have been doing for almost a decade with the same result. Since Losman was drafted every year we pass on "risky" QB's and settle for mediocrity despite having talented players. It takes a lot of good drafting to build up a supporting cast. You can't draft a defense in one pick. You can, however, draft a QB that can carry an entire team on his back. I won't pretend I'm a scout, I don't know exactly how good Tannenhill or Jones will be. I can only promise you that this team needs to find a long term solution at QB and until we take our chances on a guy we will always be 2-3 years from being a serious contender.