One week from now, the Buffalo Bills will be on the clock. It's another critical draft for a Bills team in win-now mode.
A few thoughts this Thursday...
1. The QB conundrum. One reason you're seeing the L.A. Rams and Philadelphia Eagles act out of such desperation in trading up for Jared Goff and Carson Wentz? Finding quarterbacks in the later rounds is close to impossible. If teams identify first-round talents, they're going to keep giving up a ton for that quarterback. Look around the NFL: Twenty-seven of the 34 potential starters in 2016 are first- or second-round picks. Only 15 percent were taken Rounds 3-7. More on this dynamic as we get closer to the draft but it'll make Doug Whaley's job a lot more difficult in trying to add a QB this year.
Considering the Bills need instant playmakers on defense, it's still hard to see this team taking anyone at quarterback 19th overall.
So then, it's on the scouts to wade through the pros and cons of everyone else.
Why was Cardale Jones benched? Why was Connor Cook not voted a captain? Is Kevin Hogan's release a problem? The Bills must figure out what's coachable, what's not and who's worth developing as a potential answer down the road. This was the primary topic of this week's podcast.
"Will we find the next Tom Brady? We hope so," Whaley said. "Or could we find the next Andy Dalton? We hope so. So that’s where we come in and it might be a first round guy. You just never know. But we’re just going to be prepared for any scenario and how the draft comes to us and make the best decision on the player that we think is the value and the right fit for us at the time.
2. I like Boise State's Kamalei Correa. If Georgia outside linebacker Leonard Floyd goes before 19, the Bills should consider Correa in the first round. He's armed with a quick first step, a nonstop motor and can move around in a defense.
That's what Rex Ryan needs.
No, there's not a lot of high-level edge rushers to choose from in this year's group, but the Bills absolutely must find someone who can get after the quarterback after a 21-sack season. Floyd's measurables are off the charts. Very rarely do you ever see a 6-foot-6, 244-pound man with 4.6 speed and a 39.5-inch vert --- he'd be an ideal weapon for the Ryan twins to mold. But considering Floyd is likely gone by No. 19, Correa could enter the equation. He displayed the speed and relentlessness needed out of an edge rusher in totaling 19 sacks and five forced fumbles he last two years.
“When I step on the field," Correa said, "I’m going to bring a team somebody who’s so passionate about the game and who’s going to leave everything out there and just give them effort and fight and be a dog out there and make plays.”
3. So... was Stephon Gilmore was right? The Carolina Panthers basically told Josh Norman he's replaceable this week in making him an unrestricted free agent. The news sent a tremor through social media, but Bills cornerback Stephon Gilmore probably wasn't too surprised.
Earlier this off-season, Gilmore broke down how his job in Buffalo differs from Norman. Whereas Ryan puts his corners on an island in man -to-man coverage, that's not the case in Carolina. Despite Norman's theatrics --- and, yes, he's a solid cornerback in his own right --- he wasn't used in a lockdown role.
"They run a lot of zone. A lot of help,” Gilmore said. “When guys go under, you let them go. In our system, you’ve got that guy wherever he goes. You’re on an island. If you mess up one little bit, you’re beat. In his system, he makes plays, he has his eyes on the quarterback, he runs more zone.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with that.
“Two different systems, two different players, two great players.”
As for Gilmore, he's entering the final year of his rookie deal at $11 million. Whaley maintained this week that the Bills are still "actively" pursuing extensions for Gilmore, Taylor and Cordy Glenn. And after seeing all the money thrown around at his position this past March, why wouldn't Gilmore want to see what he could get on the open market?
Considering just how important the cornerback position is in Buffalo, it wouldn't be a surprise if Ryan and the Bills drafted another cornerback reasonably high. As Whaley noted, all teams in the Bills' division go predominantly three-wide.