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Brandon Beane: Bills not locked into taking QB with first pick

Pundits and fans can do all of the assuming they'd like.

The man who will actually make the Buffalo Bills' first pick in next month's NFL Draft stressed Friday that it's not a given the team will use it on a quarterback.

"I'm looking for good football players and if we find a quarterback that's a guy that we think is undeniably a franchise quarterback and he falls in our lap, yes, we'd take him," Beane told reporters at One Bills Drive. "But if we're sitting there at 12 and there's a guy (at another position) that falls to us that we're like, 'Wow! We thought this guy was going top five.' And he's a game-changer? We'd be happy to take him, too."

Typical pre-draft posturing by a GM? Perhaps.

But Beane was adamant that the Bills' trade with the Cincinnati Bengals to move up from the 21st to 12th overall choice wasn't necessarily done to position the team for its long-term answer at quarterback. He said that speculation that the Bills, who also own the 22nd pick, are looking to climb  higher in the first round to target one of the presumed top four (USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Wyoming's Josh Allen) isn't necessarily accurate.

Beane said he has met with all of the quarterback prospects the Bills have on their radar.

"But some of them for 15 minutes (the prescribed time limit to meet with players at the NFL Scouting Combine)," he said. "So that's obviously not enough for me to even draft a guy at 12, or I know everyone assumes we're going higher than 12. I don't know what we're doing. We'll see. We've got like six weeks from to the draft. Over that time, I'm going to really get to know every player, not only the quarterbacks, of who we're going to consider.

"I know everybody assumes we're going higher. I don't know that, but there are some players that are going to be at 12, whether it's quarterback or another position, that I know would not have fallen to 21. I'm excited about that. There are some guys that we were talking about right before we went to the Combine, with our scouts, and I'm like, 'We're wasting our time with this guy. He ain't falling to 21.' We're going, 'This guy's a top 10, 12 ... he ain't getting past 15.' We're in the range for those guys. And that's not necessarily a quarterback."

Beane wasn't buying into the public perception that the Bills acquired forer Bengals backup AJ McCarron to be a placeholder until the long-term starter they draft on April 26 is ready to play. Beane made a point of saying that McCarron and the lone incumbent quarterback on the roster, Nathan Peterman, "will compete and we'll see what else happens between now and that first game."

Asked how the topic of McCarron being a "bridge" signing was handled during contract negotiations with him, the GM further dismissed the notion that the former Alabama star who has spent his entire four years in the NFL as a reserve is merely a "bridge" quarterback.

"I don't look at AJ as a 'bridge,'" Beane said. "The 'bridge' isn't in my vocabulary. This is a chance for AJ to come in and compete. And that's to showcase what he's got and compete, but nothing's being given here for any position that we have. And that's the way Sean (McDermott) and I believe it should be.

"AJ's not playing behind an established person. He was playing behind an established Andy Dalton there, so this is a different scenario for him. He felt like this was a good opportunity for him to come in and win a job. We felt like it was a good opportunity for him to come and showcase his talents, so that's where the marriage, so to speak, came from."

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