The Buffalo Bills need to continue moving forward and not backward after finally ending their 17-year playoff drought this season. In this case, moving forward means coming away with a franchise quarterback in the 2018 NFL Draft. Bills general manager Brandon Beane know this too, even if he’s not willing to admit so publicly.
Beane met with the media last Monday as the Bills began offseason workouts. He spoke about his belief in the importance of having a franchise quarterback in today’s NFL but said he would still deem the Bills’ 2018 draft a success even if they didn’t land a franchise QB.
“There’s a lot of good players in this draft and that was the big thing from moving from 21 to 12,” Beane said. “The natural assumption, I get it, is [that] they’re moving up to get a quarterback, yada-yada. No, we improved our draft position... We’re excited about where that moves us on our draft board, the players that we see would be available there.”
Does Beane really expects folks to believe that he traded Cordy Glenn, arguably the Bills’ best offensive lineman, to the Cincinnati Bengals for the No. 12 pick so that Buffalo could just stand pat and draft the best available player? Yeah, right.
Here are five reasons why this year’s draft has to be the one where the Bills land their franchise signal-caller.
This year’s QB class may be the best one in the past 15 years
Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Allen (Wyoming), Josh Rosen (UCLA) and Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma) have all received high grades from Scouts Inc, ESPN’s exclusive collection of scouts. In fact, per Adam Schefter, this is the first time in 15 years that four QBs in same draft class graded out this high: And electrifying dual-threat Lamar Jackson (Louisville) and gunslinger Mason Rudolph (Oklahoma State) are nothing to scoff at, either. When it’s all said and done, it’s probable that at least four of these guys will hear their names called in the first round, with maybe even five, and perhaps even all six, winding up going within the first 32 picks. Since 2000, no more than four QBs have been taken in the first round of any draft. In 1983, six were selected, including Hall of Fame Bills quarterback Jim Kelly.
The Bills have not had a franchise signal caller since Jim Kelly retired
The Bills, over the years, have had decent stop-gaps, but truthfully, they have not had a franchise QB since Kelly last appeared for the team during the 1996 season. Like Beane told the media on Monday, having a franchise guy is essential as part of today’s “quarterback league”.
Buffalo needs a pick-me-up after parting with Tyrod Taylor
Say what you want about Taylor, but he’s arguably the best quarterback the Bills have had under center since Kelly. Taylor, at the very least, was the most consistent. In order to justify trading the now-Browns QB, the Bills have to acquire a franchise QB next week. The Recently-signed AJ McCarron didn’t have much of a market as a free agent, so chances are he’s doesn’t have it in him to be the Bills’ long-term answer at the position.
Bills fans are expecting and want a franchise QB
From being generally conservative with their spending in free agency to the trade they made with the Bengals, all signs, at least from a fan perspective, point to the Bills coming away with their next franchise quarterback. Imagine their disappointment if the Bills are unable to do so, especially given the lack of overwhelmingly sexy free-agent moves the Bills have made this offseason.
It’s time for McDermott and Beane to find a QB to marry
It’s very important for a head coach and general manager to have a quarterback that they can latch onto, for better or worse. As previously mentioned, this type of player doesn’t appear to be currently on the roster, so it makes a lot of sense for Beane and head coach Sean McDermott to find their guy now as they enter just their seconds years, respectively, with the Bills. Generally speaking, taking a young quarterback in the draft early into their tenures usually affords a coach and a GM more time from the owner to groom a young quarterback.