Here are my three Buffalo Bills thoughts on the eve of the NFL Draft:
> Let's face it. The best/smartest/safest thing the Bills can do with the 19th overall pick of the draft is use it on a defensive lineman. They might be tempted to select a quarterback if Paxton Lynch is still available, as more than a few analysts believe will be the case. They might be tempted to trade down if they're convinced they can get THE guy or at least a guy they want lower in the first while picking up, say, an extra third-round choice. But the Bills are built to win now. Last year's free-agent spending and trade for LeSean McCoy, and this year's moves to keep Cordy Glenn and Richie Incognito, say that loud and clear. The Bills need a first-rounder who falls into the plug-and-play category, and that is definitely not Lynch or any other QB. That is a D-lineman, such as one of two from Alabama that figure to be instant difference-makers: Jarran Reed or A'Shawn Robinson. Clemson's Shaq Lawson and Kevin Dodd, or Louisville's Sheldon Rankins are among other players at the position who could be on the board. And it makes tremendous sense for the Bills to take one of them. Sure, Doug Whaley and his player-personnel staff might have a conviction that one of those studs could be there several picks later and that the Bills could fill a need and have the additional ammo to address other spots. But I'm all for them doing at No. 19 what makes sense for a team that isn't in position to wait on someone to develop and maybe shouldn't risk passing up a higher-rated defensive lineman for a better value.
> History tells us, in a pretty loud and shrill voice, that landing a franchise quarterback with a first- and even second-round pick is pretty much a setup for disappointment. Take, for instance, the past 10 drafts, during which 41 quarterbacks were selected in the first two rounds. By my admittedly subjective assessment, I have a half-dozen or so that could be considered hits (and that includes potential reaches Jay Cutler and Andy Dalton) and another half-dozen or so that fall into the work-in-progress category (and that includes potential reaches Ryan Tannehill and Jimmy Garoppolo). That leaves about 27 who I term flops, although there are four on whom I placed question marks: Sam Bradford, Robert Griffin III, Colin Kaepernick, and Brock Osweiler. Still, in a league where the difference between success and failure begins and ends with whether a team has a franchise QB, the search will continue with more players at the position selected in the first two rounds Thursday and Friday night. By most accounts, this has the makings of, if not a weak quarterback crop at least one that might take years to bear fruit ... usually longer than the people who selected them will have their current jobs.
> On the surface, it appears that Tom Brady has finally hit the legal wall in his efforts to force the NFL to reverse its decision to suspend him for four games for #Deflategate. I'm not so sure. Many Bills fans have been rejoicing since the news came out Monday that Brady had lost his appeal in federal court and, therefore, likely won't be eligible to play when the Bills visit Foxborough, Mass., on Oct. 2. But there's far too much time before the season begins for this issue to simply stop here. My guess is that, even if Brady's legal options ultimately run out, there is the distinct possibility that the league could still reduce his suspension. The NFL's main goal in this entire saga was to uphold the right of the commissioner to impose the discipline he did in this and other such cases. Now that that's been achieved, it wouldn't be a shock for Roger Goodell to revisit the case, perhaps after a meeting with Brady and/or Patriots owner Robert Kraft and the NFLPA, and come to a compromise solution that doesn't cause the NFL to come off quite as heavy-handed over a less-than-egregious violation.