This is the next in a series of in-depth features on potential quarterbacks for the Bills and how quarterbacks are evaluated. News Bills writers Jay Skurski and Vic Carucci have taken opposing views on the Bills' potential draft strategy regarding the quarterback position. Here, Carucci argues the Bills have too many holes to fill to give up too much for a quarterback. Skurski argues that the time is now to sell the farm to get a franchise quarterback.
Let me make this clear from the start. I’m all for the Buffalo Bills going quarterback with their first pick. I’m also good with having them trade up from No. 12 to do so.
I just don’t agree with giving up the proverbial “boatload” of picks, especially if one of them is their first-round choice in 2019. I’m not in favor of “selling the farm” if it means parting with the most valuable part of next year’s crop.
The prevailing opinion from pundits is that this draft has as many as four transformative, generational franchise quarterbacks. To get the one you want, you either must own one of the top four picks or vault yourself into that rarified air.
I’ve consumed as heavy a dose of pre-draft download as anyone. I’ve watched video. I’ve read scouting reports. I’ve talked with those who make their living evaluating talent for NFL teams as well as with those who once collected paychecks that way.
Nothing I’ve seen or heard convinces me that USC’s Sam Darnold or Wyoming’s Josh Allen or UCLA’s Josh Rosen or Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield is worth sacrificing the ability to address other areas that desperately need attention now and in the future. I’m not convinced any of them is so talented as to warrant such a staggering investment, even for a team that has been chasing quarterback ghosts since Jim Kelly threw his final pass in anger.
Each member of the Big Four has enough flaws that strongly suggest the chances for a miss are equal to, if not greater than, the chances for a hit. And missing when two first-round choices, plus other premium picks, have been spent does the kind of damage that takes years to undo.
Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane have shown they aren’t opposed to taking over-the-top risks. My sense, however, is that they aren’t into taking wild swings.
Giving up a bundle that includes next year’s No. 1 – which has a really good chance of being a top-10 selection regardless of who plays quarterback this year – seems pretty wild.
Now, I would be fine if moving up didn’t involve that future first-rounder, if the package of choices were assembled from the nine the Bills have Thursday through Saturday. That probably wouldn’t get them into the top five, but it could very well put them close enough to land one of the four on the assumption that at least two non-quarterbacks will be taken in the top five and push QBs downward. Or it could put them in a better spot for a difference-maker elsewhere.
I can also see staying at 12 and still getting a quarterback they desire. Or taking a difference-maker elsewhere and landing a QB later.
I get the overwhelming excitement Bills fans have for this draft. They aren’t hoping the team will pull off a blockbuster trade to get to No. 1 or No. 2. They’re fully expecting it. The deals made last summer and earlier in the offseason to provide those extra picks in the early rounds are seen with only one purpose: to get that transformative, generational quarterback.
I don’t know if that guy is part of this draft. For me, that creates enough doubt to avoid paying any price to find out.