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Bucky Gleason: Allen could help Bills' fans forget about Rosen ... or remember Manuel

By the time Sunday rolled around, after Josh Allen introduced himself to Buffalo and tackled tough questions about his past, you could almost feel a shift in the prevailing opinion among Bills' fans. Perhaps they needed a few days to come to terms with the fact Buffalo selected him over Josh Rosen.

The initial response in Buffalo was overwhelmingly negative and, therefore, strange considering eternal hope that has oozed from the local fan base for decades. The first pick of every team gets scrutinized to some degree. But for every person who agrees with the choice, there's a loudmouth who wanted another guy.

Five years ago, many questioned the Bills selecting projected third-rounder EJ Manuel in the first round, but they came around going into his rookie year. If teams knew then what they know now, that he wasn't a starting NFL quarterback and nowhere near a franchise quarterback, Manuel might have slipped right out of the draft.

But that's the thing.

Nobody truly knows how a player will perform in the NFL until he actually gets on the field. People who claim to know are lying or kidding themselves. NFL history is littered with consensus first-round picks who were all-time busts and late-round choices who became all-time greats.

Do we really need to rehash a football nation divided 20 years ago while trying to determine whether the Colts should select Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf with the first pick overall? Only a sliver of the population who believed Leaf was better at the time would admit as much now, but that actually happened.

Folks, there's no telling the future of quarterbacks in this draft.

It's entirely possible that none selected in the first dozen picks this year will become franchise players. Since 2006, Vince Young, Matt Leinart, JaMarcus Russell, Mark Sanchez, Christian Ponder, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Robert Griffin III were taken in the first 12 picks of their respective drafts.

The blowback after the Bills selected Allen was mystifying on a few fronts, starting with the lack of faith many had in the two men who made the decision. Brandon Beane and Sean McDermott have shown a base level of competence, which is less a backhanded compliment and more an insult to people in charge before them.

They constructed a sensible plan and effectively cleaned house in less than a year, ridding the organization of weighty contracts or questionable characters or, in the case of Marcell Dareus, both. Rest assured they examined every quarterback in this draft. Ultimately, they determined Allen was a better fit than Rosen.

Beane on negative reaction to Allen pick: We do what's best for the Bills

Do they know for sure? Good heavens no. They very well could be wrong, but there's an equal chance they landed the best quarterback in the draft. We might not know the answer for years. Apparently, they believe they can develop the kid and extract more production from him than they would have from Rosen.

How about we let the kid play and see what unfolds?

For what it's worth, Rosen seems the more polished player now. He played against better competition. He appeared to be the safer choice. But what do I know? Really, what does anybody know? Beane and McDermott didn’t know, either, but that didn't stop them from gambling on the kid.

Bills fans should take comfort in Beane identifying his guy and moving into position to grab him without breaking the bank. He deserves credit for his vision and execution. He wasn't forced into dealing away both first-round picks this year, another next year and possibly more for an unproven player.

Might he have selected Baker Mayfield or Sam Darnold if given the opportunity? It's possible. If he did, he would have paid a bundle to move up for one of them. Or he would have faced questions about why his quarterback fell to seventh. Or why he didn't take the other quarterback who was available.

Mayfield came with questions about size, maturity and character. Darnold was a turnover machine last year at USC. Rosen made questionable decisions on and off the field, had too many interests outside of football and concussion problems. Allen supposedly had accuracy problems and failed to play well against stiff competition.

Josh Allen to Bills fans: Look at my film, not my stats

I could build a case for all or none of them. Picking a quarterback came with picking a flaw.

Beane minimized the risk. He managed to get what he believed was a Top 3 QB while keeping the Bills' second first-round pick this year and retaining his top selection next year. If the metrics showed the Bills overpaid to move into position to take Allen, fine, but it wasn't like they were held hostage – do you want a quarterback or not?

Anyway, because he still had the 22nd pick overall, he had enough in his pocket to move up again for linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and address another need with first-round talent. Edmunds is a freak athlete who may wind up making a greater impact than any quarterback in his draft class. In a no-win situation, that was a major victory.

We'll see what happens with Allen. He's a big kid with a strong arm and a very quick release. He comes across like a classic overachiever, which will play well in Buffalo. If he processes the game, harnesses his rocket arm, gets the ball into the proper places in a timely manner and wins enough games, fans will forget about Rosen.

If not, they'll remember him the way they do EJ Manuel.

Beane on Allen starting as a rookie: 'If he somehow wins the job, he wins it'

 

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