As of this moment, the Buffalo Bills only have two quarterbacks under contract on their roster: Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel (third stringer Josh Johnson is a free agent). Both players become free agents following the 2016 season, and Bills management has made it clear that they need to add a quarterback this offseason, if nothing else to have depth on the roster.
With that in mind, we have our first significant information about Buffalo's priorities, courtesy of NFL Draft insider Tony Pauline. In Pauline's latest roundup of draft news, he shared this nugget about the Bills:
If the Buffalo Bills don’t grab a quarterback in the first frame one player at the position they will consider later is Kevin Hogan. I was informed the team came away from the Senior Bowl very impressed with the Stanford quarterbacks athleticism and arm strength and really like his next level potential.
Hogan is the type of player that plenty of NFL staffs could fall in love with. A three-year starter at Stanford (who also played significant time as a redshirt freshman), he led the Cardinal to a 31-10 record in the last three seasons, capping his career with a win in the Rose Bowl. He passes the quarterback selection criteria used by Bill Parcells, and as a Stanford graduate with a career completion rate of 65.9 percent, he looks likely to pass John Lopez's 26-27-60 test as well.
Hogan has size, arm strength, and efficient play (8.5 yards per attempt, 75 career touchdowns versus 29 interceptions) on his side. He also plays in an offense with many similarities to Buffalo's - head coach David Shaw was previously the offensive coordinator for Jim Harbaugh, and Bills offensive coordinator Greg Roman was the tight ends coach and offensive tackles coach on the same staff.
What might make NFL evaluators worry? Hogan's long and slow throwing motion, which is often reminiscent of Byron Leftwich, and his tendency to sometimes come out flat and have a terrible game. Want to read more? Here's an excerpt from my scouting notebook, where he is my eighth-ranked quarterback right now:
6 foot 3¼ inches, 217 pounds, 10⅛ inch hands, 32 inch arms
Watched: Northwestern 15, USC 15, Cal 15, Notre Dame 15
Hogan flashes some serious pro-style competencies to go with a good arm that would make many franchises take notice. He goes through progressions, takes snaps under center, can find a hot read under duress, and has a good feel for playing aggressively when it's appropriate.
Mechanically, he's a bit of a mess. He has a loopy throwing motion, and it's slow enough that it helps defenders key in on the pass. I've seen him make faster throws, but they're rare. He can also break down mechanically, as he did in the Northwestern game, and once that happened all of his accuracy basically went out the window. Bad footwork, inconsistent arm motion, etc. He's also not quite as advanced or talented as Philip Rivers (who I kind of see here) was coming out of college.
So what it all comes down to is, I see some Philip Rivers, but a worse throwing motion and an occasional tendency to play awful for a whole game. Landry Jones? I don't know. In my mind, he's a backup you pick in the middle rounds and hope he improves his bad tendencies before the contract runs out.