Bills plan to reveal if they have plan

Will draft show them focused on short or long term?

Mike Schopp
April 18, 2017 - 10:34 am

Photo: Kevin Hoffman - USA TODAY Sports

It's still nine days away but this year's Bills draft already has been one of my favorites.

The Bills pick 10th, which is perfect for discussion: There are enough picks in front of them to increase possibilities, and they don't pick too late to make analysis boring. There are quarterback options, players not too good to be considered sure things (and also out of the Bills' reach) but good enough to raise some eyebrows.

And maybe the best part is that there's no consensus on whether the Bills should pick a quarterback at all.

They have Tyrod Taylor for at least one more season. They drafted Cardale Jones last year with no expectation that he'd be ready in 2016, rendering him entirely a futures pick. More importantly than their having Jones is that they're three years running a .500 team that -- oh yeah -- is on a 17-year playoff drought.

The Bills should be able to find an immediate good starter at either wide receiver, tight end, tackle, defensive line, linebacker, cornerback or safety. These are all positions where they could use help.

Otherwise, it's a solid team. Taylor's pretty good, the running attack is excellent, Sammy Watkins when healthy is elite, and the defense has a few good players. In their last three seasons the Bills are 24-24. Not good, but not bad.

Do you want an immediate starter to help get you to the playoffs, or do you want a new long-term answer at quarterback?

The Bills' first-round pick should give us that answer.

One factor in favor of the quarterback option is the draft's depth at receiver and corner into the mid-rounds. I'll be open to buying the argument post-draft that the Bills found value at DB and WR in rounds 2-4, if that's what they sell.

I'd be less open to buying an argument that the quarterback they drafted in the mid-rounds will be great.

Is that owner Terry Pegula has been a part of scouting trips a sign that the Bills are thinking quarterback? It certainly might be. Maybe Pegula is just that infatuated with the draft. But I tend to doubt it. The great quarterback is your shortcut to success.

I've said many times that I like the idea of the owner partaking in this process. He represents the long view in these plans, or should. Coaches and general managers are passing through town. The owner stays vested, like us. You and I have been lobbying for the Bills to make more of an effort to draft a good quarterback over the last decade-plus. All the men making those decisions not to do so have moved on. No skin off their noses.

With the draft just over a week away I don't have a strong preference for which quarterback the Bills should want. None of us knows anything about which ones will be good. Go with the consensus, don't trade up, and take your chances.

None of them appears to be the total package, which is why the Bills at #10 have a shot at them. Pick #10 is certainly not too late to think a great player is realistic. Jim Kelly went 14th. Ben Roethlisberger, 11th. And Kelly and Roethlisberger were both the third quarterback taken in their respective drafts.

Soon we find out if the Bills are once again going to try to squeeze into the playoffs, or shoot for the stars.

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