INDIANAPOLIS – New year, same story at the NFL scouting combine.
Like always, quarterbacks will be the focus when on-field workouts begin inside Lucas Oil Stadium. While the 2019 class is not as prolific as the much-hyped group of 2018, there are plenty of intriguing storylines to follow when quarterbacks take the field Saturday.
The Buffalo Bills find themselves in a different position this year. While the rest of the scouting community obsesses over where players like Oklahoma’s Kyler Murray and Ohio State’s Dwayne Haskins land, Buffalo General Manager Brandon Beane can focus on other positions.
That’s because Beane landed his quarterback last year, moving up for Wyoming’s Josh Allen. Speaking on a conference call Monday, NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah explained how he would rank this year’s top quarterbacks against Allen and the rest of the 2018 first-round picks.
“In terms of grades, now this is the grade I had on them coming out, not what they've done. I have (Sam) Darnold with the highest grade. Then it was (Josh) Rosen, then it was (Baker) Mayfield, and then I gave the same grade to Josh Allen as my fourth quarterback last year as I gave to Kyler Murray this year,” Jeremiah said. “So they would be tied for my fourth, and then I would have Haskins behind them and then Lamar Jackson would be behind him. So that would be the order I have stacking those guys in with last year's class based purely off the grade.”
Providing Allen with more support, both through free agency and the draft, is Beane’s stated focus this offseason. That may include looking for a running back during draft weekend.
Jeremiah said while this year’s class does not include a top-five talent like Saquon Barkley was a year ago, it has good depth available on the second and third days. That could interest a team like the Bills, who need to get younger at the position behind LeSean McCoy.
Or how about finding the next McCoy? Jeremiah sees some similarities in Florida Atlantic’s Devin Singletary.
“I have him as the second-best back, and actually for comparison, I wrote down he's got a little Shady McCoy to him,” Jeremiah said. “So he can make you miss. He does a great job in tight quarters. He could be in a hallway and you can't get a finger on him. Just real loose, nice little nifty jump cut that he uses. I don't know that he really has that big-time, big-time top speed, but we saw some of those same comments made about LeSean when he was coming into the draft, and we know how that worked out.”
Jeremiah also offered his scouting report on University at Buffalo quarterback Tyree Jackson, who has a big week ahead.
“If you did a cut-up, you could put a cut-up of 10 throws that he makes that are just ridiculous,” he said. “You'll see him on the move to the right and throw all the way across the field, deep down the field, ridiculous arm. He made a big-time throw in the Senior Bowl game, as well. This is somebody who did not have a quarterback coach growing up. He would watch YouTube clips and try and teach himself some different drills and try and develop himself that way, where some of these kids have their private coaches all growing up. He didn't have that. So I think there's significant room for him to grow.”
Jeremiah also projected where he sees Jackson being selected.
“Mechanically he's going to need some work,” he said. “It's hard as a tall, long quarterback. There's just a lot of moving parts there. I know he's been working with Jordan Palmer and they're working on trying to tighten him up a little bit. That will help some with his accuracy going forward. So that's something that I think he can get better on. I think he can improve in that area. So he's somebody that's intriguing in the middle rounds to me in this year’s draft.”