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How much sense does QB make for Bills in first round?

Sean McDermott's predecessor didn't even make it through two full seasons, so it's debatable whether McDermott feels he has the luxury of waiting for a rookie to develop into his franchise quarterback.

Others around the NFL, however, think McDermott's first-year status is exactly why the Buffalo Bills should seriously consider using the 10th overall pick in the draft Thursday on a QB.

"He doesn't have the gun to his head to win," says Greg Gabriel, NFL draft analyst for Pro Football Weekly and the former director of college scouting for the Chicago Bears. "Where you get another team that they have to win and so you've got the quarterback and you put him in to play, and you could be asking for trouble, especially if he's not ready. So I think it's less pressure on a guy like McDermott and if I'm reading all the tea leaves right, the Pegulas really like this guy. He's got an awful lot of power for a rookie head coach."

"If I'm a first-year coach, I grab a quarterback because I've got some years on my contract," former Dallas Cowboys player personnel director Gil Brandt says. "If I'm a fourth-year coach, going into my last year, I'd grab a position player."

McDermott could be having such thoughts. Then, again, he could also be pondering the fact Terry Pegula stood before reporters barely a week ago to announce the firings of Sabres coach Dan Bylsma and GM Tim Murray. At least Bylsma stuck around for a full two seasons, which was one game longer than the man who guided Pegula's football team, Rex Ryan.

The Bills still have Tyrod Taylor as their starter, but his future after this year is anyone's guess. His restructured contract essentially gives the Bills one season to determine if they want to stick with him for 2018 or longer.

That, alone, could be reason enough to see the Bills going quarterback with their first pick. And they might very well have the best that the draft has to offer at their disposal.

The presumptive top four at the position are North Carolina's Mitchell Trubisky, Clemson's Deshaun Watson, Texas Tech's Patrick Mahomes, and Notre Dame's DeShone Kizer. By most accounts, each is flawed enough to discourage the perpetually QB-needy Cleveland Browns from making one the top overall selection over the consensus projected pick at the spot, Texas A&M edge rusher Myles Garrett.

Mitchell Trubisky of North Carolina throws during a passing drill at the NFL Combine. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

As far as ESPN NFL analyst and former Tampa Bay Buccaneers General Manager Mark Dominik is concerned, there is only one surefire franchise talent at quarterback: Watson.

"I like Deshaun Watson," Dominik says. "I'm going to bet with a player that really believes in himself and when I watch the tape, I say he's got arm talent, he's got athletic ability, he's got movement ability, he's got pocket awareness, he's got all those different traits. I know that he hasn't played in a pro system completely, but I'm going to bet with the young man. He's just a special kid.

"After that, if you tell me that DeShone Kizer or Patrick Mahomes or if it's going to be (Miami's) Brad Kaaya or (Pittsburgh's) Nathan Peterman or (Cal's) Davis Webb, or maybe it's (Tennessee's) Josh Dobbs, I can't tell you who I feel really comfortable it's going to be, the next best quarterback. All I can tell you is that those six quarterbacks, after Trubisky and Watson, you can line them up one to six or six to one, they all have attributes you've got to like but attributes you worry about."

There's a very real possibility that this could be one of those rare drafts when no quarterback is chosen within the top three picks. That has happened only once since 2001, when the when the Bills made EJ Manuel the 16th overall choice in 2013.

But how bad is this quarterback class, really? Is there no hope that more than one member could eventually, if not immediately, become elite?

Gabriel, for one, doesn't agree with the bashing the quarterback prospects have received the past few months. "I'm of the belief that this class is better than a lot of the analysts are giving it credit for," he says.

Brandt, chief architect of the Dallas Cowboys' dynasty of the 1970s and an analyst for NFL.com and SiriusXM NFL Radio, is also bullish on the position. He thinks there's a lot of short-sightedness involved with criticism of the more recent quarterbacks to emerge from the college ranks.

The most common complaint by coaches and player-personnel types in the league is the proliferation of spread offenses in high school and college that don't sufficiently prepare quarterbacks for more traditional schemes in the pros. Most of the time, their first exposure to working under center is with an NFL club.

"We hear every year that the guy can't take the ball under center and he's never called plays, and he turned out to be pretty good," Brandt says. "Quarterbacks are so much more advanced than ever before. And it starts with high school teams, which throw the ball 50 times a game. They have the seven-on-seven games in the summer time. It's a huge thing. The day school is out, the next Monday they start seven-on-seven. And they play it right up until the first of August. It's pitch and catch.

"So all these guys now have passed so many more times. They've played against defenses so many more times and even though most states don't allow a (high school) coaching staff to coach the guys in these (seven-on-seven) games, fathers can coach them. There's a lot of very capable of fathers that played college football and played high school football, so I think that the quarterback we take today is so much more ready to play than ever before."

Whether the Bills will feel comfortable enough to invest a first-round pick in a quarterback remains to be seen.

They could also wait until the middle rounds, although Gabriel doesn't think that would be wise.

"There's a dozen teams, including Buffalo, that have a legitimate need at the position," he says. "There's a lot of people that think two are going in the top 10. Chicago (at No. 3) could very well take a quarterback. The Jets (at No. 6) could take a quarterback. San Francisco could take a quarterback (at No. 2). Cleveland could trade up (from No. 13) to take a quarterback, especially if one quarterback is already off the board.

"There are some teams that need a guy to come in and end up being No. 1, if not as a rookie by his second year, and then there's others -- Kansas City, the Giants, San Diego -- looking to get someone in place behind veteran starters. How much is left in the tank for (the Giants') Eli (Manning), (the Chargers') Philip Rivers, (the Chiefs') Alex Smith -- and the same with Houston. If you're going to address quarterback, when you look at all the teams that have a need at the position, you have to address it sooner rather than later."

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