There are a few things you just can’t escape when you live in Buffalo: chicken wings, crazy snowfalls, and a quarterback controversy.
With a disastrous second half of the Bills season, the Tyrod Taylor experiment will seemingly be put to rest. The team got a glimpse of what Nathan Peterman looked like under center and I think it’s safe to say him being the team’ starter next September would not be ideal.
Both Kirk Cousins and Eli Manning could be free agents and big solutions to the Bills quarterback problems. However, neither player is being linked to the Bills as strong candidates to land them.
Thus, the Bills will probably look to spend draft picks to land their quarterback of the future.
As far as college quarterback prospects go, It’s been a two-horse race at the top all season long. Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen. Some believe Josh Allen could also be in contention due to his six-foot-five 240-pound prototypical stature, but he’s notably the third tier next to these two.
Despite Darnold being an underclassman, reports have surfaced indicating that the Bills have strong interest in the USC signal caller with a most recent report saying they “love” him.
This isn’t major news considering most teams in QB danger are interested in the talented USC product. The only problem is many draft experts are skeptical if he will even declare for the 2018 NFL draft.
After a bumpy start for Darnold, which saw him throw nine interceptions in his first six games of the year, some believed the young California native may decide to forgo the draft and stay in school another year to further develop before making the leap to primetime.
That was before the talented young quarterback capped off a great second half to his season with a strong performance in the PAC-12 championship game against the Stanford Cardinals. Darnold dazzled in this game tossing for 325 yards and two touchdowns without surrendering a single turnover.
There is no doubt that the Buffalo Bills have liked what they’ve seen out of Darnold, but a lot would have to go right for him to be part of Bills Mafia next season.
Firstly, He needs to declare.
Secondly, Cleveland—who I presume will end with the top pick— would have to like Rosen more than Darnold. This is still a legitimate possibility, too, considering the UCLA quarterback outdueled his fellow passer in their matchup on November 18th. Granted, I suppose a trade with Cleveland at number one is foreseeable based on recent past –enter Carson Wentz— and the amount of draft capital the Bills posses, but it would be unworldly for the Browns franchise to make that mistake again.
Even if both of those scenarios play out, the Bills would have to find a trade partner at the top of the draft in order to have a shot at Darnold.
Considering the logjam in the top-10 of this year’s draft after week 13 it’s too early to say if the trade option will be possible. Not to mention, the basement dwellers of the league usually don’t have strong quarterback play and would need an upgrade at the position. And if a talent like Darnold is available it would be tough for a team to pass him up.
However, there are always instances where a team may not be sold on a specific prospect and may be willing to move back. It happened in the 2017 draft when the QB needy San Francisco 49ers traded back with Chicago instead of taking Mitchell Trubisky themselves.
The advantage the Bills have is the aforementioned draft capital. Buffalo has five picks in the first three rounds. Thus, they could bundle a number of them to go get “their guy” if he’s available.
So, if all three of these happen: Darnold declares, Browns pass on him, and the Bills move up, then there will be celebrations breaking into the streets of downtown Buffalo. But that would have to mean for a lot of good to happen to a team who has had some seriously bad mojo over the past two decades.
The date Bills brass will have circled on their calendar is January 16th. This is the deadline players have to declare for the NFL draft and all eyes will be on USC’s Darnold. Until then, you can bet that there will be a lot of discussions revolving the Bills and Darnold.
Like I said, quarterback talk is inevitable in Buffalo whether you like it or not. And as Christmas approaches, so too will the snowfall.