With Peter King's latest report that the Buffalo Bills will be hosting Texas A&M quarterback Ryan Tannehill, it certainly is thought-inducing.
What can we really make of this visit?
At this time of year, some things are done and said with the truest intent. But you'll see a lot of times things are done solely to try and drum up business in an effort to try and get a player to drop to a team's specific pick.
In the matter of Tannehill visiting the Bills next week, I'm going to lay out some reasons why the franchise would and would not be interested in actually selecting him come April 26.
Reason For: Best Player Available Strategy
- All along we've heard Bills GM Buddy Nix say that they are going to take the top player on their board when it gets to their selection. The fact that Tannehill is a quarterback certainly drives up his value, but his overall raw skill-set is something you don't find every single year. ESPN's Todd McShay says he believes Tannehill has better overall tools than Matt Barkley. I'd tend to agree with that statement. It's just the overall polish and refining of his game that makes Barkley a better pro prospect at this point in time. The potential for Tannehill is certainly there, though.
Reason Against: Other Needs Require Attention
- If the Bills were to take a quarterback in the first round, it would set themselves back for trying to find potential starters at some key positions. With help needed at left tackle, wide receiver, linebacker and cornerback, taking a quarterback would take away from the level of contributor they would get at any of those other positions. Pushing the needs back might also potentially take away a would-be starter. Kelvin Sheppard stepped in nicely for the team as the season progressed, and he was a third round pick. Taking a Tannehill would take away their Sheppard-type impact player.
Reason For: Finding Fitzpatrick's Successor
- If you'll recall, Nix has said in the past that you have to take a quarterback when you've got one before you don't have one on your roster any longer. That type of plan could be the attack if the Bills were to take Tannehill. Fitzpatrick is going in to the first year of his new contract and has already been paid an option bonus on March 20, so he's not going anywhere this year. If they were to take Tannehill, they could sit him down for one season at least and have a viable plan for the future if their current quarterback doesn't take the next step. It's said that Tannehill needs a year or two of seasoning anyway, so that would play in to the decision as well.
Reason Against: Tannehill Doesn't Help Them Win Right Now
- The reasoning I just laid out is also why the move would be detrimental to what the Bills are trying to do this season. They signed Mario Williams and Mark Anderson. They've brought back Fitzpatrick, Stevie Johnson, Scott Chandler and many others. Drafting Tannehill would fly directly in the face of this sort of "win right now" approach the Bills have taken in the off-season. Bills fans are antsy for a playoff berth -- for good reason -- and it isn't exactly the biggest vote of confidence to the fan base or their freshly re-signed and well-paid quarterback if they were to take a player at his position in the first round.
Reason For: Fits Gailey's Offensive Scheme
- Tannehill has the type of arm and athleticism that will give Chan Gailey's offense a lot of versatility. He's very good at keeping plays alive with his feet and throwing on the run, making the defense adjust to his individual skill-set. If he were to be taken by the Bills, he could get the one-to-two years under his belt while working with renowned quarterback coach David Lee. Then Tannehill conceivably could be ready to come in and make the transition as seamless as possible.
Reason Against: May Need to Trade Up to Get Him
- Tannehill is by far the enigma of the draft. While the first two picks are set in stone, he is the wrench in the gears from picks 3-to-11. The Vikings (3rd overall) have said they would like to trade down, and if the Browns (4th overall) show the slightest bit of interest it could induce a team to trade up to get him. If the Bills really want him, they might have to unload some picks in order to get him. That would be an absolute detriment to what they're attempting to accomplish this season. Buddy Nix has said in the past he doesn't like to give away picks. And you most certainly have to believe it's not going to be for a player who won't help the team right away. But if Tannehill is there at 10, it's a different discussion.
- While you can definitely make a compelling case for Tannehill being drafted by the Buffalo Bills, all in all it just would not add up considering the actions they've taken this off-season. The Bills think they're close. There's no other reason they would go out and get the biggest free agent signing of their franchise's history and make him the highest paid defensive player in NFL history in the process. No, I think this Tannehill visit is simply a case of the Bills attempting to drum up some interest to try and induce a team to move up to the 10th pick -- ahead of Kansas City who has shown a lot of interest -- and move down in the draft. Smokescreens are the game at this point in the pre-draft process, and the Bills are certainly ones to play.
So to answer your questions: No, I don't expect Ryan Tannehill to be drafted by the Buffalo Bills.