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Opinion: Jake Fromm, Buffalo Bills QB: Why not?

Fromm is a bargain with a fifth-round pick.

With their fourth pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the Buffalo Bills surprised the crowd and drafted Georgia quarterback Jake Fromm. No one expected Buffalo to take a QB this year, but when he fell as far as he did (and I’m sure general manager Brandon Beane said the same), why not take him?

Fromm, beginning with his five-star high school career and following to college, has always been a tremendous passer with winning ways. No one in FBS has won more games than him over the past three years. He’s accurate, he makes good decisions, he reads the field well, he’s a natural in the pocket... those are all ideal traits.

Matt Barkley, Buffalo’s current backup quarterback, is in the final year of his two-year, $4 million contract. He’s been a great asset to help Josh Allen grow as a professional, and he can do that same work with Fromm, but Allen’s entering his third season and arguably ready to become the veteran in the locker room. Fromm has the makeup of an ideal long-term backup for the Bills. He’s already used to stepping in off the bench—he did that in his first college season and led the Bulldogs to the National Championship Game.

There are valid concerns about Fromm’s professional upside, mostly stemming from his smaller hands (8 7/8”) and lower arm strength. Those are fair concerns, but they also applied to Barkley when he came out of school, along with Ryan Fitzpatrick when he played with the Bills. Velocity is something that can be marginally improved with better throwing mechanics, and plays can be schemed up to deal with that limitation. I can understand why his ceiling may be closer to Colt McCoy than Philip Rivers, but he has the kind of mentality I’d bet on.

This is definitely a love-hate type of pick. If you were a fan of Fromm’s college career, the way he willed his team to victory over and over, you understand the “best player available” qualities that made him the pick. If you don’t believe in his potential, this will feel like Nate Peterman redux, and I understand your trepidation.

For what it’s worth, I think this pick comes at a much better time than the Peterman choice. The roster is much better, and there’s a strong belief that the Bills have their QB of the present and future already. Fromm can enter a strong program, build his fundamentals, and grow into a valuable passer, and now the Bills have additional insurance at the position—depth you need if you’re pursuing a Super Bowl.