As the Buffalo Bills near the NFL Draft, their offseason approach can best be described as shocking. So with this theme permeating throughout One Bills Drive the Bills, and Bills GM Doug Whaley even hinting at the possibility, the next logical move would be to draft either Brett Hundley or Bryce Petty in the second round if one of them is available.
The reason why I say this is because both players need a redshirt season before they would be ready to take the reigns of an NFL offense, and the Bills as currently structured can risk taking a quarterback early without sacrificing team success this year.
When the Bills brought in Greg Roman it was hoped that his power run scheme would benefit either current quarterbacks EJ Manuel, Tyrod Taylor, or Matt Cassel and keep the offense dangerous enough to get them into the playoffs. Right now none of the three quarterbacks would strike any sort of worry into an opponent, despite they all may being competent enough to get the team into the playoffs.
But are the playoffs the ultimate goal? Or is it competing for a NFL Championship?
Either of the two mentioned quarterbacks represents a potential franchise quarterback with skills that translate well to winning. Potential is something that could be considered a bit of a dirty word by most fans, but the reality is that both bring unique skill sets, including a history of being accurate passers, that match what Greg Roman had in San Francisco, and something that he could maximize.
It’s become clear that Petty is a pocket passer waiting to be groomed. He spent his college operating out of a spread offense, but Baylor puts an emphasis on the run game and throws down the field, which in principle match what most NFL teams try to accomplish. Petty possesses ideal size, arm strength, and more importantly accuracy, but lacks the experience of operating out of an NFL offense. He has never been asked to take snaps from under center, read overly complex defenses, and make adjustments off those looks. Baylor was predicated on timing, which is good, but did not offer much in flexibility of route adjustments or play calling, which Petty would need to learn.
Now with Brett Hundley his rough edges namely revolve around one of his best features, his legs. UCLA operates out of an offense that is mainly run from the shotgun, but is based within NFL philosophies that include Hundley barking out play changes, route adjustments, and pass protection calls. The routes weren’t just timing based, but were often changed based off what the defense was showing. This is a clear difference between Hundley and Petty, as Hundley was charged with changing plays where Petty looked to the sideline for direction.
Should Roman be given Hundley he could potentially turn him into a more accurate version of Colin Kaepernick. His legs provided a different dimension that opposing collegiate defenses were unable to contain, but at the NFL level he has to learn to scramble for time and not for yards. This means that when the pocket collapses Hundley has to learn to buy time to allow his receivers to get open and complete passes that way, instead of taking off downfield which he is so good at.
At this moment Hundley is closer to Kaepernick than any quarterback in this class, and where he needs to go is evolve towards is Aaron Rodgers. Hundley has to learn Rodger’s ability to scramble while keeping his eyes downfield for the big play, but can gain yards if nothing is there.
Again both players possess unique skill sets, but in either case there needs to be a year of growth in the NFL before either would be ready to see the field. This isn’t to say that one versus the other fits Roman best as this is an offensive coordinator that has worked with pocket passers, and an athletic thrower and got to three straight NFC Championship games.
If either of these two quarterbacks are able to earn a year to learn from Cassel and Roman the potential boon of a clear cut franchise quarterback would be immense for the franchise. The Bills would then be clearly in position to supersede the Patriots as the top dog of the AFC East. The goal would then elevate from not just merely getting into the playoffs, but being a contender for the Super Bowl from day one.