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Sully's Mailbag: Bills can't be afraid to move up for QB

News of Eric Wood's retirement was devastating from a human standpoint. It's also an unexpected blow to the Bills' rebuilding plans. Now, in addition to all their other needs, they have to find a starting center — unless you believe Ryan Groy is the long-term solution.

The more holes on the roster, the less inclined Brandon Beane might be to package draft picks to move up for a quarterback. That's a big worry among the Mailbag crowd, that they'll waste draft capital and pick the wrong quarterback.

On to this week's mail:

@ZBIV42 asks: Can we all agree we want a franchise QB but even at the top of the draft it’s a coin flip, so maybe we shouldn’t trade away our whole draft for fool’s gold?

@patreale7 asks: Should the Bills move or stand pat at 21 & 22?

Sully: This will be the raging question among Bills fans until the NFL draft begins on the night of April 26. Should they use both of their first-round picks, and likely even more, to move up for one of the top-rated quarterbacks?

It sounds as if there are a lot of fans having second thoughts. It kills me how people gushed when the Bills collected extra picks, presumably to get a quarterback, but are now afraid they'll squander draft currency by going up to get one.

You need to be bold sometimes. It's an inexact science, but if they love a guy, they should definitely spend what it takes to get him. It's Beane's job to get it right, and if he identifies the right quarterback, it'll be worth the price.

If you don't think it's worth spending major draft currency on a franchise quarterback, ask the Rams and Eagles, who traded two first-round picks and more to move up for Jared Goff and Carson Wentz. Or Houston, which traded a couple of first-rounders to get Deshaun Watson in last year's draft.

Sure, there are risks. It's also dangerous to sit back and hope one of the lesser-regarded quarterbacks falls to you and becomes a steal. The Bills have lots of holes, but the hole at quarterback supersedes all others. Get the franchise QB, and the rest has a way of falling into place.
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@sci_ops asks: The Eagles have 6 former bills on their roster. Do the Bills get some kind of redemption if the Eagles beat the Patriots in the Super Bowl?

Sully: When you say six, I assume you include offensive coordinator Frank Reich and defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz. Unless I'm missing someone, the other former Bills are Nigel Bradham, Ronald Darby, Corey Graham and Jason Peters, who's on injured reserve.

Redemption? Hardly. It's no secret that the Bills have employed capable players and coaches over the years. It's no revelation that former players can go on to bigger things. Bill Belichick has been poaching former Bills during his Super Bowl run, from Stephon Gilmore and Chris Hogan back to Antowain Smith and Sammy Morris.

Those players went to more competent organization, with better coaching and, perhaps most of all, a franchise quarterback. It's not redemption for the Bills when they win elsewhere, but a reflection on years of dysfunction in Buffalo.
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Joe Tauriello asks: This seems like one of the stronger years for local college hoops. Is this an anomaly or are these programs now stabilized and rising?

Robert Goodwin asks: Who’s in who’s out of NCAA tourney: UB men, UB women, Canisius, Niagara, Bona?

Sully: This could be the strongest year for local college basketball in more than a quarter century. All four men's teams are at least four games over .500. They haven't all finished over .500 in the same year since UB went back to Division I in the 1991-92 season.

The UB men and women are both deeper and more talented than the teams that won the MAC Tournament two years ago. The women are 20th in the recent RPIs and received votes in the AP Top 25 this week. The men are 28th in the power rankings. So they could both be in line for an at-large NCAA berth if they lose in the MAC tourney.

The  Niagara and Canisius men, who play in a sold-out Koessler on Saturday, should be contenders in the MAAC Tournament. St. Bonaventure has struggled lately, but is a threat in the A-10. Those three would all need to win the conference tournament to reach the NCAAs.

The UB programs are on the rise, though you always worry about the coaches being lured to bigger programs. Canisius seems solid with Reggie Witherspoon. Niagara could regress after losing its seniors, so Chris Casey needs to rebuild there.
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@moegavin1 asks: Vlad Guerrero and Chipper Jones were slam dunks for the baseball HOF. How do you feel about Edgar Martinez missing, and the roid guys? I just don't like Curt Schilling no matter what he did on the mound.

Sully: I agree on Vlad and Chipper. Jim Thome was a deserving choice, too. I wouldn't have voted for Trevor Hoffman. Saves can be overrated and he was bad in the playoffs. I would vote for Edgar Martinez, a truly great hitter, and it looks like he'll get in the Hall eventually.

Schilling's politics are reprehensible, but he was one of the best clutch pitchers ever and I'd vote for him. I also think Larry Walker and Fred McGriff should be in. As for Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds, I'm glad I don't vote because that's an excruciating call.

I can see the point that Bonds and Clemens were Hall of Famer-worthy before they took steroids. But it's a shaky argument. If a guy cheats on his wife repeatedly after five years of marriage, does she give him a pass because he was faithful for all those years?
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Bill Sullivan asks: I'm counting down the days to the Winter Olympics. Mikaela Shiffrin is poised to become the “Michael Phelps” of women’s alpine skiing. Is the USA a lock to win the medal count?

Sully: I'm not going, but I'm looking forward to watching the Games, if only to avoid the incessant NFL draft talk. The Opening Ceremonies are two weeks from Friday in Pyeongchang, and will take place at 6 a.m. EST that day.

The U.S. is no lock to win the medal count, which it won narrowly in 2010 and 2014. Germany and Norway are seen as the favorites. They'll profit most from the fact that Russia has been banned and only selected Russian athletes will be allowed to compete as independents.

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