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2021 NFL Draft: Backing up Josh Allen on the Buffalo Bills

Replacing Matt Barkley through the draft

Originally joining the Buffalo Bills in October of 2018, quarterback Matt Barkley has performed admirably as the team’s backup for the past two seasons. In the 2020 season, he saw limited time in Buffalo’s 38-9 win against the New England Patriots, as well as the season finale against the Miami Dolphins.

Set to become a free agent this offseason however, and with the team looking to save salary cap space however they can, Buffalo could be on the lookout for a cheaper backup option at quarterback. Of note, the current Bills regime has drafted a quarterback in almost every draft they have been involved in. It may be the perfect time to either find some immediate competition at the backup position for Jake Fromm, or simply a developmental prospect. Below are some second- and third-day players who might fit the bill in either regard.


Tier I

Kyle Trask (Florida)
Jamie Newman (Georgia)

A tall, statuesque quarterback, Trask has the body-type and character of Josh Allen but lacks the arm strength and athleticism. He would be a fit for a passing offense that asks him to make quick reads and get the ball out of his hands immediately. Opting out of the season after transferring to Georgia, Newman is a raw player who has some elite tools and can run some of the popular read-option and RPO plays. He would be a great candidate to stash on a roster and slowly develop.


Tier II

Kellen Mond (Texas A&M)
Feleipe Franks (Arkansas)
Davis Mills (Stanford)

With some similarities to Dak Prescott coming out of college, Mond has pin-point accuracy on the shorter throws and throws a very catchable ball, but his post-snap decision-making leaves a lot to be desired. Looking much more comfortable in the Arkansas offense, Franks is a former five-star recruit who has starting-level talent. His ability to process what’s happening on the field, along with his handful of putrid showings on the field for Florida, will keep teams from drafting him before the fourth round. Mills, a four-star prospect and highly recruited by prestigious schools, never lived up to his potential at Stanford.


Tier III

Sam Ehlinger (Texas)
Ian Book (Notre Dame)

With all the talent in the world, Ehlinger didn’t evolve much during his time at Texas. He’s still kind of a back-yard quarterback who excels on deep shots and unscripted plays, but might never develop the more technical aspects of his play. The definition of a gamer, Book isn’t the biggest and doesn’t have the best arm, but he’s tough and has decent mobility. His athletic limitations should keep him from ever being anything more than a backup at best.

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