After hearing what the Buffalo Bills had to see all week long at the 2016 NFL Scouting Combine, they haven’t backed themselves in a corner with what they’ll do in the first round of the draft.
One definitive stemming from the week?
When Bills GM Doug Whaley said, with no disclaimers, that the Bills will add a quarterback at some point over the next few months. Whether it’s through the draft or free agency, that much is unclear, but they will be adding a signal caller in 2016.
In all likelihood, the Bills won’t have a shot at drafting a player like North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz, or, Cal’s Jared Goff for that matter. However, there are some intriguing options on the final two days of the draft. For free agency? The names are a little less exciting.
A look at some names to keep an eye on for the Bills:
Connor Cook, Michigan State
- Cook is an interesting player due to his prototypical size, and some of the throws he delivers makes jaws drop around the stadium. However, he’s also prone to making some pretty boneheaded decisions, which leaves you scratching your head as to why he would choose to throw that pass. Still, there is enough to work with for Cook to be a bonafide option on Day Two of the draft to develop over time. He has other intriguing qualities like throwing with anticipation and showing toughness in the pocket.
Dak Prescott, Mississippi State
- Prescott looks to be an intriguing prospect on Day Two because of his raw ability, and due to the fact that he’s, well, raw. Prescott hasn’t played in a pro style offense up until the Senior Bowl, and that will be his biggest learning curve. But, there’s a lot to like with his combination of mobility, elusiveness, and toughness to add a different dimension to the offense. He’ll need to fine-tune his footwork along with adapting to life under center, but some team will think very highly of him as a developmental, potential down the line starter if all goes well. And he could certainly interest the Bills in the second or third round, given the similar skill-set of Tyrod Taylor.
Cardale Jones, Ohio State
- Some will ask, why is a guy who got benched during the season someone worth talking about for the Bills? Just look at his size, how well he moves, and watch him throw the ball. Then, you’ll understand the hype. The ball jumps off his hands, and makes some ‘wow’ throws. But, he needs to develop his field vision that’s behind a lot of the other prospects worthy of consideration. His physical attributes would make him a first-round pick, but, he’s still a project at this point. Day Two to early Day Three looks to be the right time to strike for a team looking at Jones.
Jacoby Brissett, NC State
- Much like Jones, Brisett’s combination of size and speed make him into a solid developmental prospect for a team, and he’s got an NFL-caliber arm to go along with it. Unlike Jones, though, Brissett’s downfield accuracy leaves a bit to be desired and has the tendency to lock on to his first read. Brissett’s attributes read similarly to EJ Manuel when he was going through the draft process, right down to the down-the-line potential. The difference is that Brissett is likely to be selected, at the earliest, on Day Two of the draft. He, like all the names on this list, needs time and coaching to develop his skills. Being rushed in would be detrimental to any potential for future success.
Kevin Hogan, Stanford
- A name to certainly keep an eye on for the Bills on Day Three of the NFL Draft, Hogan seems like an excellent backup quarterback because of how he excels on the field. Already with the required size, Hogan has plenty of experience in a pro style offense, displayed really good accuracy on short throws, and also has the ability to run. He seems like a player that can mind the store for a few games when necessary, and he won’t kill your efforts due to his efficiency, But, his long-range potential to start isn’t ideal because his arm is weaker than you’d like to consistently make all the throws. In a contained game plan, Hogan can be quite effective.
Unrestricted Free Agency
- It’s odd to see Daniel atop this list, but the top options at quarterback are likely out of the equation for the Bills. Kirk Cousins is about to be tagged by Washington, the Jets are working on an extension with Ryan Fitzpatrick, Brock Osweiler is young and likely to command a higher salary if he gets to free agency, and the Bills certainly won’t be able to free up enough money for Sam Bradford. So, it starts with Daniel, who has even been rumored to be in discussion to be signed as a starter by the Philadelphia Eagles. Daniel will be entering his 8th season, and over his first seven seasons, has been the very definition of a backup quarterback. He’s thrown a total of only 77 regular season passes in his entire career. If signed as a backup he could be had for a manageable contract that the Bills would be able to fit under the cap.
- Granted that it’s from 2011, the Bills would have a lot more to go by with Matt Moore. The longtime Miami backup quarterback started 12 games for the Dolphins in 2011, throwing for 2,497 yards, 16 touchdowns and nine interceptions. Moore is likely a cheaper option than Daniel just because he is two years older. Moore would probably be had around the same level as what Chad Henne just re-signed in Jacksonville for — roughly around $4 million per season.
- The former Buffalo Bills quarterback, Jackson has spent the past three seasons serving as the backup quarterback to Russell Wilson. He never really got a chance in Buffalo, appearing in zero games during his lone season with the Bills. Over the last three years, Jackson has appeared in a total of eight games and has thrown only 20 passes. He provides a mobile aspect to his game, wouldn’t be any threat to Taylor, and could be an upgrade over EJ Manuel. The soon-to-be 33-year old Jackson will likely command a salary below both Daniel and Moore.
- The quarterback that has drawn the reputation for serving up interceptions for touchdowns, believe it or not, Schaub is at least a notable option to be brought into a camp to battle for a backup job. Schaub spent last season with the Baltimore Ravens and started two games. The likelihood for success isn’t great for Schaub though, who is nearing the end of his career. He’ll get a shot somewhere and wouldn’t cost much of anything for a team, which could be quite palatable for the Bills.
- A former first-round pick, Weeden’s deficiencies as a quarterback have been heavily documented, but his arm strength and accuracy keeps getting him chances around the league. Over the last two seasons, Weeden has actually made five starts which gives him more playing time than most others on the list. Despite being released by Dallas in the middle of the season, he went to Houston and helped get the Texans into the playoffs when pressed into duty. It wouldn’t be an inspiring free agency grab, but one that would come at a cheap cost, to compete for the backup job.