While the Buffalo Bills, general manager Doug Whaley, head coach Sean McDermott, and all the rest involved in the decision try to figure out what to do with quarterback Tyrod Taylor, the Bills had the opportunity to close out the last week of January getting an up-close look at six members of the 2017 quarterback draft class.
On Tuesday, the annual Senior Bowl week kicked off at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Alabama, which gives teams their first chance to really get a good gauge on what these players bring to the table. For the Bills, whether it's Whaley, the media, or the fans talking about it... finding the long-term answer at quarterback seems to be the talk of the town.
The Senior Bowl serves as a valuable opportunity for Whaley to get an inside perspective, but maybe not in the same way that you might think.
"A lot of it, what you’re going to look at is what they do, and I mean, without their physical ability," Whaley said Tuesday in Mobile. "Meaning, how do they command the offense in practice? How do they interact with their other teammates? Are they the type of guys that come on and inspire guys? Basically, how can they just step in cold and perform, which is something that is very intrinsic with a quarterback that has that 'it factor.'"
The Senior Bowl has six quarterbacks participating. For the South squad, it features Cal's Davis Webb, Tennessee's Josh Dobbs, and Antonio Pipkin from Tiffin. With the North team, Whaley and the Bills can get a look at Iowa's C.J. Beathard, Nate Peterman from Pittsburgh, and Sefo Liufau of Colorado. Of those names, Webb, Beathard, and Peterman are expected to compete to be mid-round picks, while Pipkin is more of the sleeper type.
Ole Miss quarterback and St. Joe's graduate Chad Kelly is also in Mobile, but not participating due to the injury he sustained in the college football season.
"This is our first chance to really get our hands on these guys, and I mean, be able to talk to them… find out about their mental aptitude, and what makes them tick," Whaley remarked. "Secondly, you really like to see them in the competitive nature of being the best of the best. These are the top guys that are coming out that are seniors, and you get them against them in practice and also in the game."
There have been some standout quarterbacks in the past with the Senior Bowl, whether it be Dak Prescott from last year... or Russell Wilson from quite a few years ago now, and it really helped teams get a better perspective on them as a prospect. How much can the Senior Bowl be used in the final evaluation?
"Well, we always look at it… you never go too high or too low on the Senior Bowl because it is a snapshot," Whaley said. "What we want to do is get information, we started a book on these guys — sometimes two years — and then finally make the final prediction on these guys in April."