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Passing on quarterbacks in the draft nothing new for Bills

Doug Whaley said the team gave “serious consideration” to selecting a quarterback last week during the NFL Draft.

“Obviously we talked to some guys and then we went to see Bryce Petty,” the Buffalo Bills’ general manager said. “It just didn’t fall the way we wanted it to. We were a little hamstrung without some of the picks.”

That the Bills came out of a draft without a quarterback is nothing new. In fact, since 2001, only two teams in the NFL have drafted fewer quarterbacks than the Bills. During that stretch, which coincides with the team’s playoff drought, the Bills have drafted four quarterbacks. Dallas, with two, and Kansas City, with three, are the only franchises to have selected fewer.

Before the draft, Whaley was asked about the philosophy of drafting a quarterback every year until a franchise cornerstone is found.

“It’s a definite possibility,” he said at the team’s pre-draft luncheon. “I don’t like to corner myself into something and say we have to do this because that limits your possibilities. It kind of curtails some other options that you feel you may set yourself out of by saying that. It’s definitely something between quarterbacks and cornerbacks, since it’s a pass-heavy league, that we would definitely lean heavily to considering every year.”

The Bills have stayed true to that philosophy at cornerback, taking 16 players at the position in the past 15 years. Obviously, more cornerbacks than quarterbacks are needed on the roster, but the lack of selections at the game’s most important position is surprising.

It’s not entirely out of line with the groupthink that permeates the NFL, though. New Orleans, Jacksonville and Indianapolis have taken the same number of quarterbacks as the Bills (although one could make a good argument the Saints and Colts have had much less of a need at the position because of the presence of Drew Brees and Peyton Manning/Andrew Luck, respectively).

More than half the league has selected five or six quarterbacks. If the Bills’ trade of a 2003 first-round draft pick to the New England Patriots for quarterback Drew Bledsoe is factored in, they would join that group.

The Patriots, for what it’s worth, have taken seven quarterbacks in the same time span, despite the presence of Tom Brady.

Whaley was asked whether not taking a quarterback this year was a vote of confidence for the four players currently on the roster – Matt Cassel, EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor and Jeff Tuel.

“I’ll let you debate that,” he said. “We put value on guys and the value and where we were picking just didn’t match up.”

Team

QBs drafted since 2001
Washington

8

Denver

8

N.Y. Jets

8

Baltimore

8

San Francisco

7

New England

7

Green Bay

7

Houston

7

Arizona

6

St. Louis

6

Tampa Bay

6

Chicago

6

Minnestoa

6

Cleveland

6

Atlanta

6

San Diego

6

Oakland

6

Carolina

6

Seattle

6

Philadelphia

6

Miami

5

Detroit

5

N.Y. Giants

5

Pittsburgh

5

Cincinnati

5

Tennessee

5

New Orleans

4

Jacksonville

4

Indianapolis

4

Buffalo

4

Kansas City

3

Dallas

2

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