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Phil Savage, Gil Brandt see Bills trying to move up for a QB

The last time five quarterbacks were chosen in the first round of the NFL Draft was 1999.

The only time six were chosen was 1983, with three of those choices going on to become Hall of Famers.

So where does this quarterback class rank?

“I know since last summer, I felt like there was going to be a lot of depth to this quarterback class,” said Phil Savage, former general manager of the Cleveland Browns and current director of the Senior Bowl. “But I have to admit I thought this was a group at the top of the board that was a bit overhyped, maybe a touch overrated. But look, if you're a GM of a team in need of a QB, then you almost have to roll the dice. You feel compelled to roll the dice on one of them.

“Two years, three, four years from now, we're going to talk about how one of them emerged as a good player, one was a total washout and three probably end up being somewhere in between.”

The Buffalo Bills fall into the category of teams needing a quarterback. Even though they added AJ McCarron in free agency, the expectation is the Bills would love to come away with one of the “big four” quarterbacks of Oklahoma’s Baker Mayfield, USC’s Sam Darnold, UCLA’s Josh Rosen or Wyoming’s Jos Allen.

“I think they are obviously going to look at trying to get to No. 2 with the Giants, perhaps No. 5 with the Broncos and then any of those teams thereafter,” Savage said. “If one of these quarterbacks or two of them begin to slide somehow out of the top five – if one of them is still on the board – if they're unable to secure a choice right there at the top, meaning with the Giants or the Browns at 4, I think they'll continue to try to work to get into that top 10, Especially if a quarterback falls beyond Denver at 5.”

The cost to move into the top five of the draft will be steep.

“I think Buffalo would love to trade up, because I think that what happened is when the Jets made their move, it really hurt Buffalo, because it cost them a lot,” said Gil Brandt, a senior analyst for “It will cost (the Bills) a lot if they want to move up. Without giving up the franchise, I think Buffalo definitely will try to move up, otherwise I think they're going to rely on somebody, maybe in the second round, because there's a couple pretty good quarterbacks in the second round.”

Waiting on a quarterback would be a disappointment to a significant portion of the team’s fan base.

“If you don't need a quarterback to play, if you're Cleveland and you've got Tyrod Taylor, who's a pretty productive quarterback when you look at the numbers, I think Allen has the most upside of anybody,” Brandt said. “If you need a quarterback to play in 2018, I think Rosen is the best. If you want a quarterback that is Drew Brees in the long run, I think it's the Oklahoma quarterback, and if the USC quarterback cuts down his turnovers, he could be the best of the four.”

With six picks in the first three rounds, the Bills have the capital needed to make an aggressive move up if they fall in love with one of the top quarterbacks.

“I think they started last year, building a base with draft choices,” Brandt said of the Bills positioning themselves for a quarterback.

If Bills General Manager Brandon Beane opts not to move up, Louisville’s Lamar Jackson could be an option at No. 12.

“Can you create an offense for him? Because if you do, it's got a chance to be pretty good,” Brandt said.

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