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2023 NFL Combine positional review: QB targets for Buffalo Bills

Is this the year One Bills Drive selects a developmental prospect to back up Josh Allen?

NFL: MAR 03 Scouting Combine Photo by Zach Bolinger/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Scouting Combine positional review series makes a quick pit stop to review the quarterback position. Remember, if you missed any of the previous articles in this series find them here:

The Buffalo Bills have superstar quarterback Josh Allen at the helm of their offense, so I won’t spend too much time reviewing this position. At the time of writing this article Buffalo’s 2022 backup QB, Case Keenum left in free agency. That means the Bills will need to find a new QB2 for the 2023 season. I would expect Buffalo to fill that spot via free agency with a veteran. But could this be the year they look to the NFL Draft to find a young QB to backup Allen? Let’s take a look at some options the Bills might have in this year’s draft. Spoiler alert, this list won’t be long.

For reference:

  • Day 1 = Round 1
  • Day 2 = Rounds 2 & 3
  • Day 3 = Rounds 4-7

Day 1 Considerations

None. What a relief that we’re no longer trying to project what QB the Bills could get in Round 1.

Day 2 Considerations

As with Day 1, none. Zero. Zilch.

Day 3 Considerations

All of these players should only be considered late on Day 3.

Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB (UCLA)

DTR is a mobile quarterback who has shown growth at the position during his college career. He is 6’2” and weighs 203 pounds. He showed above-average speed for a QB, clocking in at 4.56 seconds in the 40-yard dash. Thompson-Robinson shows enough arm strength to throw the sideline hole shot in Cover 2 and isn’t afraid to give it a rip over the middle. He actually recorded the fastest throw at the combine (62 mph), which ties Josh Allen’s combine record and shows the type of arm strength Thompson-Robinson has. He is at his best in a system that puts him on time and in rhythm — in those situations he can be accurate. When he gets off schedule he makes bad decisions. DTR has some traits that match up better with Allen’s than previous backup QBs for the Bills had in recent seasons. If needed offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey could keep the team in a similar type of offense (obviously not exactly the same) if DTR had to enter the game. He could come in as a backup QB and continue his development under Josh Allen.

Max Duggan, QB (TCU)

Duggan led the TCU Horned Frogs to the College Football National Championship game in 2022, but fell short in a blowout loss to Georgia. Duggan offers some sneaky athleticism (4.52-second 40-yard dash) and proved to be a threat running the football. His best attributes are his leadership and the toughness that he brings to the position. I loved the way he fought through adversity in the National Championship game and showed the grit and determination to still give it his all even though the game was over by halftime. I think Buffalo would love to have a guy with these characteristics in their QB room. As a passer, he can extend plays with his legs, is comfortable outside the pocket, and is capable of making improvisational throws. He isn’t afraid to take chances, but sometimes passes up better options to do so. He has below-average size (6’1 1/2”) and has some accuracy issues as a passer. His intangibles and toughness make him a prospect I can see the Bills considering in the late rounds.

Malik Cunningham, QB (Louisville)

Cunningham is a dual-threat QB who is an effective runner but needs improvement in the passing game. He ran a solid 40-yard dash at the combine, posting a 4.53-second time. He has big-play ability with his legs and is a menace in the zone read. He has a slender build at 6’ and 192 pounds, which could be a concern with how much he runs the ball. Cunningham is best when he can make throws on the move. He has some accuracy issues but has shown the potential to be more consistent when he can throw in rhythm. Overall, Cunningham is a dynamic runner and a threat to take it to the house anytime he touches the ball, but his passing game is lacking. It would be an intriguing option for the Bills, as it would still give them big-play potential if he had to come in the game as a backup QB.

In summary

These late-round QBs are fun to think about as backup QB options for the Buffalo Bills. Even if the Bills do select a QB late in the draft, I would expect them to bring in a veteran free agent for competition. Thankfully for One Bills Drive, it’s Josh Allen before everyone else.

The next positional feature in this series is running back, so stay locked in to see my thoughts.