Amid the flurry of wheeling and dealing done by general manager Brandon Beane, the Buffalo Bills find themselves in an unfamiliar position heading into the annual NFL draft: the Bills have the trade assets in place to move up and use a top 10 pick to select one of the top college quarterbacks for the first time in franchise history.
Since the NFL merger in 1970, the Bills are one of three teams to never have used a top-10 draft pick at the most important position in the game. Buffalo is joined on this list by the Minnesota Vikings and Baltimore Ravens.
Buffalo has only used a first-round draft pick on a quarterback three times, with one winding up as a Hall of Famer, and the other two leaving Buffalo after disappointing tenures. The last two times the Bills picked a quarterback in the first round, they missed badly on their quarterback of the future.
In 2004, Buffalo parted ways with their 2005 first-round pick, along with a 2004 second- and fifth-round pick to jump back into the first round and select Tulane University’s J.P. Losman with the 22nd overall pick. In 2013, the Bills reached for Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel with the 16th pick.
The only other time in franchise history the Bills used a first-round pick on a QB was in 1983, when Jim Kelly was selected with the 14th pick out of the University of Miami (Fla.).
Buffalo owns six top-100 selections, a king’s ransom of draft capital this year, with two picks each in the first round (12 and 22 overall), second round (53 and 56 overall), and third round (65 and 96 overall).
The Bills will have to give up a lot to move into the top 10, but Buffalo does have the draft picks to pull off such a deal.
Let’s just hope whoever is drafted by Beane and head coach Sean McDermott ends up with a career resembling Kelly more than Losman and Manuel.