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2020 NFL Draft: Exploring options at backup quarterback for the Buffalo Bills

Should the Bills look to draft another QB?

Signed by the Buffalo Bills in October of 2018, journeyman quarterback Matt Barkley was immediately pressed into service during a November game against the New York Jets, because of an injured Josh Allen and ineffective Nathan Peterman. Despite the limited preparation time Barkley somehow made it work, to the tune of 232 yards and two touchdown passes resulting in a 41-10 smackdown of Gang Green. Thanks to that performance and the quarterbacks rapport with starter Josh Allen, Barkley was signed to a two-year extension.

Since that 2018 Jets game, however, Barkley has been much more pedestrian in his limited time of the field. As such, it may be the perfect time to either find some immediate competition at the backup position in the draft, or simply a developmental prospect who could replace him after a period of time. Below are some second- and third-day players who might fit the bill in either regard.

Tier I

Jalen Hurts (Oklahoma)
Jake Fromm (Georgia)

The former Alabama transfer is an athletically gifted quarterback, but struggles reading the whole field and has an awkward throwing motion that creates scattershot accuracy. Hurts needs development. Fromm, the former Georgia signal caller, is the polar opposite: His weak arm and movement skills force him to get back on accuracy and timing. That may be enough for some teams around the third or fourth round.

Tier II

Anthony Gordon (Washington State)
Steven Montez (Colorado)
Nate Stanley (Iowa)

Thanks to the (relative) success of Gardner Minshew II, teams are looking towards his successor at Washington in Gordon. Gordon is a statute in the pocket but has the intellect and quick release necessary for a west-coast type offense. Montez is a lump of athletic clay at this point: If you’re willing to break his bad habits, you’re getting a player with great size, arm talent, and a gunslinger attitude on the field. Despite his pro-ready credentials and decent arm strength, Stanley was never the focal point of the Hawkeyes’ offense when his number was called.

Tier III

Cole McDonald (Hawaii)
Shea Patterson (Michigan)
Kelly Bryant (Missouri)

McDonald has an ideal frame and certainly threw the ball more than any other quarterback in the country thanks to Hawaii’s air raid system, but that system is also incredibly simplistic. Patterson received every chance to become a better pocket passer, but really only looks good when using his feet on bootlegs or just straight up running the ball. Like the two players listed before him, Bryant has the necessary size and speed for the position, but his accuracy can be hit-or-miss thanks to his mechanics, and he struggled reading the field even in college.