The NFL draft is rapidly approaching. Since you’ve probably been left unsatisfied with the lack of rumors, speculation and mock drafts in recent weeks, we thought we’d help fill the void with a good, old-fashioned NFL draft roundtable. Here, our contributors have outlined two outcomes: what they want the Bills’ front office to do and what they believe will actually happen. Join the roundtable by giving us your predictions in the comments below.
What I want to happen: I’m a “whatever it takes” guy. We need a franchise QB and anything less is unacceptable. I want either Darnold, Mayfield or Rosen (in that order) and I’m willing to part ways with several high picks to do it. Obviously the less we have to give up to get our guy, the better, but if we need to sell the farm, let’s bite the bullet and get it done. We can worry about getting him weapons will all that cap room next year, Rams-style. And if we find ourselves in the enviable position of getting one of those three without having to sell the farm, sign me up for the best linebacker available at 22.
What I think will happen: I have a sinking feeling in my gut that we’re going to end up with Josh Allen, and I think we’ll trade up to somewhere around 6 to do it. Potentially with Rosen still on the board. Triple puke. Hopefully this is just residual drought negativity and I’m completely off-base.
Skarekrow aka Jeff Kantrowski
What I want to happen: I’m in the “trade up and get your guy” camp. For me it’s QB first and BPA thereafter. While a QB should slip, I can’t get behind that as a strategy. Thursday night’s QB pick is almost certain to define the Sean McDermott/Brandon Beane era in Buffalo. I don’t know who the “right” guy is, but the scouts are sure to have an opinion. There’ll be plenty of reasons to regret a wrong pick soon enough, so do everything in your power to make the right one.
What I think will happen: I’m a data guy so I gotta follow that. The Bills’ QB visits look like they have Plans A-C ready to roll. I think Rosen/Allen are consolation prizes, with Rudolph the emergency fall back. That said, the front office has no qualms with big moves. After trading up to one or two, Baker Mayfield becomes the next face of the franchise.
What I want to happen: If you have followed me on Twitter leading up to the draft, you already know that I want the Bills to select Lamar Jackson with their first pick. He is the most dynamic prospect out of the group, and does things on the field that remind me of Michael Vick and Randall Cunningham. The fact that the Bills would not have to trade up for Jackson is an added bonus which allows the team to keep the rest of their picks.
What I think will happen: The Bills will stay put at 12, or make a minor trade to leapfrog the Dolphins at 11. Should Josh Rosen slide in the draft I think the Bills would make that minor trade to select him. If he does not slide then I see them staying at 12 for Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph.
What I want to happen: I would love for the Bills to retain all of their picks in this and future drafts and for their number one quarterback to fall to them at 12. That is not realistic though — no matter how many mock drafts we’ve seen with that occurring. Since I’m ruling that possibility out, I want the Bills to do whatever it takes to have the chance to land a franchise-changing quarterback. I don’t want to watch one (or multiple) of these quarterbacks succeeding while the Bills have some nice linebackers or defensive ends and a big ole question mark at quarterback. We’ve seen that movie; and the 16 sequels. As for who I want Beane & Co. to select, I want Baker Mayfield or Josh Rosen. I’ve done considerably less research that Beane though, so I’ll defer to his decision, as long as he gets the one he wants.
What I think will happen: I think Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane are not afraid to make bold moves. We’ve seen that with Sammy Watkins, Ronald Darby, Marcell Dareus, Tyrod Taylor, and Cordy Glenn. This leads me to believe that Beane will do what I want him to do and get into position to draft his guy. I think he gets the Bills into the top 5 of the draft and uses that selection on...Josh...Allen. One year of playoffs hasn’t drained me of my drought pessimism.
What I want to happen: Is for the Bills to find a way to come out of the first round with either Sam Darnold, Baker Mayfield, or Josh Rosen. My preferred QB is Mayfield, but I’d be content with the Bills taking either Darnold or Rosen, as well. Seems like majority of moves the Bills have made so far this offseason – or haven’t made – have been geared towards hopes of them getting their hands on of the three aforementioned names. Not coming away one of these guys would be a major letdown for the fan base, and a misstep that would otherwise diminish what appears to be a bright future for the Bills.
What I think will happen: Desperate for a franchise quarterback, the Bills will trade up for either the fifth or sixth pick and select either Rosen or Josh Allen – my money on them taking Allen. I think Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott feel comfortable taking on the project of a prospect that Allen is because of their confidence in AJ McCarron.
What I want to happen: I would love to see GM Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott roll the dice and swap with the Broncos for the 5 spot in exchange for the 12th, 22nd, 53rd, and 56th picks. It’s obvious that nobody is a sure bet, but I’d hate to see a repeat of the 2004 draft where the Bills took Lee Evans and JP Losman at 13 and 22, respectively, while allowing Philip Rivers, Eli Manning, and Ben Roethlisberger to all be selected ahead of them. Ideally, the Browns, Giants, and Jets will take Josh Allen, Baker Mayfield, Saquon Barkley, and Sam Darnold leaving Josh Rosen for the taking. I think the notion that Rosen is too smart for his own good and has his sights set on life after football is a load of steaming hot garbage. That’s just realizing you’re mortal. Quarterback is supposed to be the position that necessitates the highest football IQ, so why not take the guy who is supposedly the smartest prospect?
What I think will happen: Despite previously making a series of bold moves, I can totally see Beane and McDermott pumping the brakes a bit and staying at 12 in order to maintain the capital to address the needs at offensive line, receiver, and linebacker with later picks. However, as Beane has expressed his belief that you need a franchise quarterback to be successful in the NFL, I think he bites the bullet and takes Lamar Jackson with the first pick fearing he’ll be gone by 22. Mason Rudolph could very well still be around at 22, but I think Jackson is the more coveted player. With the right play calling and tools around him, I think he can become the ultimate offensive threat.
What I want to happen: Obviously, we all want the Bills to pick the guy that will lead the team for the next 10-plus seasons. Who do I think that is? I think it’s Louisville QB Lamar Jackson. Realistically, Jackson should still be on the board at or near 12, so Buffalo won’t have to give up the farm to get him. Jackson was a dynamic playmaker and with the way the NFL is moving could be just as dynamic in the professional ranks. I would also be fine if the Bills don’t take a QB in the first round and address other needs. Then they could take a shot on a late rounder like South Florida QB Quinton Flowers, who’s nearly as dynamic as Jackson.
......Although if Rosen does fall, I wouldn’t be upset taking him either.
What I think will happen: I think the Bills will try to trade up to take whoever their number 1 is. Since in my lifetime the Bills have never drafted an above average quarterback, I’m inclined to say this trend continues. The Bills probably give up way too much and draft Josh Allen or Sam Darnold.
What I want to happen: Everything breaks beautifully for Buffalo on Thursday night. It starts a bit rocky, as Cleveland takes Sam Darnold first, leaving Josh Allen for the taking. Will the Bills trade with the Giants? Dave Gettleman saves Brandon Beane from himself by standing pat at number two and selecting Saquon Barkley. The Jets take Baker Mayfield, and then the Browns take Bradley Chubb, leaving Denver to select...Josh Allen. A huge sigh of relief for the Bills, who watch the Colts take Quenton Nelson, the Buccaneers take Minkah Fitzpatrick, and the Bears take Marcus Davenport. Buffalo then sends picks 12 and 65 in this year’s draft to the 49ers in order to select Josh Rosen. Don’t think that’s enough to move the three spots? Both the Jimmy Johnson trade chart and the Rich Hill version suggest that it is (and hey, this is what I want to happen, not what I think will happen...right?). Brandon Beane thinks about trading up again with the Raiders at number 10 (in a package that would cost Buffalo picks 22, 53, and 56 for the right to select linebacker Roquan Smith), but ultimately stands pat at 22 to select Leighton Vander Esch.
What I think will happen: Something similar to what I’m wishing for, but not quite the same. The Bills will trade up in the first round, but it will probably be with the Broncos or the Colts. They’ll end up giving up pick 12, one of the second round selections, and a future choice in order to do so. I also believe that the team will select Josh Allen as their quarterback of the future. Again, that’s not what I’m hoping will happen, but it’s what I’m beginning to think will happen. At 22, the Bills will stand pat to select the best available player.
What I want to happen: I would love to see the Bills stand pat, or make a cheap move (12 + 53) into the top ten, and take a falling Josh Rosen. His fundamentals and understanding of the game are far-and-away the most advanced of the rookie prospects, and he’s a no-brainer in my book. More than that, though, I have a massive fear that the Bills will make the same mistake as a previous regime and draft a 6’5” 237 quarterback with limited evidence of passing fundamentals because they think they can develop him into something better. Could Josh Allen eventually reach a higher ceiling than the other prospects? Sure. Now name me the project quarterbacks who developed into successful starters since Brett Favre.
With the second overall pick, if they could land an impact linebacker, after starting with Rosen, I’d be all-in on trusting that process.
What I think will happen: I think that, given the tendencies we’ve seen from this regime so far (adding semi-mobile pocket passers), Buffalo’s top tier of quarterbacks features three names - Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Josh Rosen. My feeling is that their order of preference maps to the order I listed them in.
I expect that the Bills are going to make a move into the top six picks of the draft, using something like 12, 53, 65, and possibly a 2019 second rounder. I also think, if Darnold is available at the second overall pick, Beane is going to try awfully hard to sweeten the deal and get the Giants to trade down, but Dave Gettleman has never been interested in moving down from his spots in the past.
So my most likely feeling is that the Bills are going to watch Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold come off the board in the first three picks of the draft. I think they’ll then make a move into the 4-6 range and select Josh Allen. Into the breach we go.
With their second pick, I expect the team to add an impact interior offensive lineman or linebacker. Frank Ragnow and Rashaan Evans are the two names I’m paying attention to.
What I want to happen: I rarely know enough about all the NFL Draft prospects in a year to advocate for them. This year feels different as we’ve waded into the quarterback position so far. I want general manager Brandon Beane to do whatever it takes to get the guy he wants to be the 10-year starter for this team. Maybe it doesn’t work out or he picks the wrong guy or whatever, but he’s got to take his shot. It doesn’t matter much to me which guy he shoots for. He knows them way better than I do.
What I think will happen: With two or three quarterbacks off the board by the time Buffalo picks, we’ll never know who Beane really had at the top of his board despite what Beane and Sean McDermott say. Bills fans will second-guess the decision for a long time but most of us will come around to the selection by July.