The Buffalo Bills are doing their due diligence on quarterbacks in the 2016 NFL Draft. The latest name to surface that is connected with the Bills is none other than the polarizing Penn State signal caller, Christian Hackenberg.
According to Albert Breer of NFL.com, the Bills took time out after Hackenberg's Pro Day ended on March 17 to meet with him individually. This is the fourth quarterback that the Bills have been tied to in the pre-draft process, joining the likes of Ohio State's Cardale Jones, Mississippi State's Dak Prescott, and Kevin Hogan of Stanford.
Hackenberg, 21, spent the past three seasons as the Nittany Lions starting quarterback. He enjoyed his best season as a true freshman, throwing for 2,955 yards, 20 touchdowns, just 10 interceptions, and a 58.9-percent completion rate
Over the final two years of his career, however, Hackenberg regressed. In 26 games, Hackenberg just 28 touchdowns and threw 21 interceptions, and threw for an average of just 211 yards per game. In those two seasons, his completion percentage was a pedestrian 54.8.
His draft range is all over the board, with some wondering if he might even be in contention to be a late-first round pick.
Joe B.'s Take
Hackenberg has an intriguing skill-set, and the fact that he succeeded while playing in a pro style offense in his freshman year are what keeps teams coming back. However, the final two years of his career can't be ignored, and it's natural to wonder if he was just a product of the system in 2013.
However, the Bills are doing their homework on Hackenberg because of his raw ability, and it doesn't hurt that the owner of the team, Terry Pegula, happens to be a proud contributor to Penn State. The Bills had a reported large contingent of people at the Penn State pro day.
His issues with accuracy, and at times horrible decision making, would prevent me from being able to overlook it in favor of his NFL size, arm, and mobility. He's got a long way to go, and shouldn't see the light of day of the starting lineup for a year or two -- and that's if all goes well.
If he's available in the second round, and with the knowledge that they have time to work with him without any pressure to force him into the starting lineup, perhaps they view him as a chance to get a first-round player in the second or third.
He's a project, and some people have totally written him off as a prospect, but it's clear that the Bills have not.