Heading into the 2016 NFL Draft, the task was fairly simple for the Buffalo Bills: find impact defensive players to help the team right away, and potentially get the Bills back to the playoffs in 2016.
And with their first three picks, the Bills selected an edge rusher, an inside linebacker, and a defensive lineman to add much needed starters and depth to that side of the ball. Now with that resolved, the time to take a quarterback is quickly approaching, and with the 139th selection, it seems like the Bills will finally fulfill their almost-promise to fans and media alike.
Following the third round of the draft, Bills general manager Doug Whaley once again reiterated to reporters that it was a very good possibility that they’d select a quarterback in this draft -- and the rounds are quickly dissipating to do so.
The board has fallen in a way that’s quite conducive to them and their quarterbacking needs, and when they’re finally on the clock at the end of the fourth round, to me it's simple. The time is now to pull the trigger on a quarterback.
All the hesitation teams might have had in taking a quarterback during the first two days should now be removed at this point in the process. On Day Three, it’s less about jobs being on the line, and more about taking big swings to try and find a hidden gem — and that’s the thinking for the Bills at quarterback, or at least it should be.
Whaley even alluded to that line of thinking, where they start to veer from their board to fill more needs — and quarterback is certainly a position they need to add to, according to, well, them:
“I think once you start getting through the 4-7 rounds, you start getting at, alright, let’s start looking at where are the other holes that we need to fill and we may diverge from the board just a little bit, because we may need to fill this position or that position with depth,” Whaley said Friday night.
It’s all setting up for a quarterback pick at 139 — or at worst, 156 — if one of the top four guys remain on the board. Those four are the following:
Michigan State’s Connor Cook, Mississippi State’s Dak Prescott, Ohio State’s Cardale Jones, and Kevin Hogan of Stanford are all still available after the first three rounds. And through the draft process, they’ve showed interest in all four players through pre-draft visits or workouts.
The time for the Bills to strike for a quarterback is almost here, and if one-to-two of those players gets selected early on in the fourth round, they might even be compelled to package some picks together to move up for an additional pick ahead of 139.
Those four players represent talent, potential, and have something to work with while Tyrod Taylor and EJ Manuel remain the top two quarterbacks on the roster in 2016 — and all four offer something a little different.
Cook is the quarterback with the most Pro Style experience with the offense they ran at Michigan State. Prescott has a strong arm and is quite the elusive player in the backfield, similarly to Tyrod Taylor — only he’s thicker built. Jones is the pie-in-the-sky player that you hope for the lightbulb to go on one day, possessing every physical tool you could ever want out of a quarterback — and he has less than 300 passing attempts in college. And then there’s Hogan, a player that has an understanding of Greg Roman’s offense and that minimizes his mistakes.
Pick your poison, Bills fans, but know this — they like all four. Eventually the Bills are going to have to start going by the “never stop drafting quarterbacks” way of life, and it starts Saturday afternoon, likely with one of those four players.