Bills Move up for their Franchise Quarterback

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I wrote up my first mock draft of the year back in the beginning of February. You can check that out here if you’re interested. In that mock, I took defensive players early and often and settled for a mid round quarterback with a big arm.

A month later, I still don’t hate that mindset.  I’m not convinced that Buffalo should just trade all of their assets to go up and get a quarterback from this class.  With that being said, it’s still plausible (if not likely) that the Bills do opt to move up and select “their guy” towards the top of the draft.  In this scenario, Denver lands their quarterback, Kirk Cousins, in free agency and looks to add more weapons around him.

First Round Trade
Bills receive Broncos 5th overall pick.
Broncos receive #21, #55, and a 2019 1st.

1.05 Bills select QB Josh Rosen

Photo of QB Josh Rosen from

Bills trade up to get their franchise quarterback but they keep pick #22 in this year’s draft. For all the ridiculous talk about character issues, Rosen actually seems like the kind of guy that McDermott would want. Rosen might be the one rookie in this class that would allow the team to move on from Tyrod Taylor to try and acquire another draft pick via trade.  I’d love to see how Brian Daboll schemes an offense to support Rosen’s growth and success.

1.22 Bills select OL Connor Williams

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If you plan on starting a rookie quarterback, you better help keep him upright. The 320-pounder out of Texas will be hard to pass on if he makes it to Buffalo here. There are rumblings that he may be better suited as a guard or center in the NFL, but that won’t concern Buffalo.

They have holes all over that offensive line and can slide him in wherever they see a fit.  People aren’t talking enough about the need at offensive line.  Whether it’s through the draft or free agency, Buffalo needs to add a starting caliber player to this group in the offseason.

2.53 Bills select DT Tim Settle

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The interior defensive line needs to be completely retooled this offseason.  Even if Brandon Beane brings in Dontari Poe or Start Loutelili, they will still need to draft more help.  Tim Settle is that big anchor inside that Buffalo was lacking last season. He moves surprisingly well considering how big he is.

The buzz word around the league when McDermott was constructing his defense last season was versatility.  Settle was used in a lot of different ways at Virginia Tech and may do more of the same at the next level. He is a day one starter who will only improve with a full year of NFL conditioning.

3.96 Bills select LB Darius Leonard

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I was staring down the barrel at Mark Andrews here, but Buffalo‘s roster has too many other holes. Specifically, they need to add speed and athleticism to their linebacker group.

Darius Leonard is the perfect fit for this roster late in the third round. His speed will help fill the void in coverage that most of the current Buffalo linebackers lack.  He weighs slightly less than Matt Milano did coming out of college, but he has more length.  He will be fine as long as he can continue adding mass when he gets into the league.

4.121 Bills select RB Kalen Ballage

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Ballage looks like he has NFL athleticism. The big knock on him has been his indecisiveness when running the football. He should be able to take some pressure off LeSean McCoy and he can contribute in the return game.  The Bills need to get a running back around this point in the draft.  Beane will give Daboll the back that best fits his offensive scheme moving forward, whatever that may be.

5.158 Bills select LB Jack Cichy

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Cichy only falls this far because of injury concerns. It’s been a long time since he’s played meaningful football after missing all of 2017. In the fifth round, this is a risk worth taking. Cichy has the skill set to eventually become Sean McDermott’s middle linebacker.

5.169 Bills select DT Khalil McKenzie

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The son of Oakland GM Reggie McKenzie surprised people by entering the draft a year early. He was a solid run defender at Tennessee, an area Buffalo desperately needs help in. He could be an interesting flyer in the fifth for McDermott’s defense.  However, I wouldn’t be surprised to see them go in a different direction to acquire someone who could contribute on special teams.

I want to read your opinion. A lot of you ripped my decision to pass on a first round quarterback in my initial mock draft. How do you think this haul compares to that first one? Is it worth giving up some of those other pieces to take a risk on Rosen? Is Rosen even the quarterback you want them to trade up for?

Shout me out in the comment section here, or on Twitter @JoeGeniti.

Editor’s babble: Thanks to Joe for his contributions to our blog. And, as always, opinions shared on the blog are those of the author and not necessarily shared by the owners of Let’s get this mock draft discussion going!

29 Replies to “Bills Move up for their Franchise Quarterback”

  1. I’d be all for this, but I’d rather trade both this year’s firsts than give up next year’s first. Who do you have going 1-4? I’d be surprised if Rosen lasts till 5.

    • This would assume Browns don’t take him 1 and Giants get Barkley.

      1. Browns – baker/darnold/allen
      2. Giants – Barkley
      3. Colts – Chubb
      4. Browns – minkah

  2. Joe, I like it!
    Fills holes in ways that fit the Bills’ Front Office tendencies (doubling down on DTs, for example) and fits what happened already (CB signing).
    Start Loutelili should be Star Lotulelei, only edit for you. -Dean

  3. Not super stoked in giving up picks …period. that being said if they can get it right, I’d be ok with losing next yrs 1st. And I’d like to know your alternative at 22 and 53.

  4. I’m not at all convinced that we need to give up on Nate Peterman. The 5 INT’S were NOT all him….his first 2 passes (Clay, then Benjamin) were spot on before DiMarco popped up a simple catch into an interception. Benjamin was injured on the play prior, which took valuable time, hence momentum, away from Peterman who looked quite legitimate.

    The offensive line was horrific and our defense made the Chargers running backs and receivers look like all stars as opposed to relatively average players.

    Peterman is a smart, mobile, gun slinging quarterback and if we just sit tight with our 8 picks we can come away with so much quality on both sides of the ball. Picture these picks in a Bills uniform this year:

    Round 1 (#21)Pick: Vita Vea or Maurice Hurst, whomever falls at 21. Either one will make a HUGE improvement to our defensive line.

    Round 1 (#22) Pick: Billy Price or Will Hernandez. Again, whichever one is available at 22 will solidify the right guard spot instantly.

    Round 2 (#53) Pick: Royce Freeman, Kerryon Johnson or Roc Thomas. I’ve been a fan of the former 2 running backs ALL season, but the latter (Thomas) is going to be very good too!

    Round 2 (#55) Pick: Josey Jewell. There is NO better middle linebacker in this draft being so overlooked then Jewell, but he’s used to it. I don’t care if we re-sign Preston Brown or not the Bills cannot let this character guy go……he is a Shane Conlan, Mike Singletary type guy that will man the middle for the next 10 years……he’s a 3 down backer!!

    I’ll continue my next 4 picks if I’m allowed to continue because my fingers need a break for now!!

  5. double down on DT’s and LB’s, plus picking up a QB, OT and a RB now that would be a productive draft.

    Too bad Center/Guard Price got injured at the combine, he was projected as a first rounder. He may slip down to round 2 or 3 would the Bills take a chance?

    • If he’s there in the 2nd round then he has to be on Buffalo’s radar. He’s a stud. It’s a 4 month (at most) timeline according to reports, which means he’d be back before a lot of the off season stuff. It might delay his development a bit, but he’d still be a year one starter in buffalo.

  6. I saw that Price will probably require 4 months for rehab, so any team taking him will probably have to assume they will get little or nothing out of him this year.

    I think these mock drafts will change so much once the free agency period gets ironed out. Also, no GM is telling the truth about their pursuits.

  7. Steve it is Smokescreen time as teams jockey for the player they want.. Rumors out of Miami is they may draft a QB –an interesting scenario or just a smoke screen… The teams wants change everyday.

    RB Barkley crushed it at the combine. Darnold won’t throw until his Pro day–does it really matter?

  8. Nellie—I like Josh Allen and have mentioned him in the past.. He has that it factor and he is big and strong… Don’t go by all the stats as he played behind a bad O-line, new WRs and got banged up…

    • A lot of “big quarterbacks” have come out with the it factor and potential that Allen has. Trading up for him would be worst case scenario for bills IMO.

      • I don’t believe it would be the worst case scenario… Not all QB’s come out with the IT factor far from it… IMO Mayfield & Allen have the leadership aura about them, will it lead to a successful NFL career we won’t know until they are on the field but I like their chances.

        The Bears traded up for Trubisky and the Eagles for Wentz, lots of question marks about both but they took a chance.. The Bills have to do something for a QB as they have been floundering since Kelly retired in”96″

        It’s funny how this class of QB’s went from being one of the best in years to being critique to the point of the class becoming Ho-Hum…

        • Is it funny? Or is it par for the course? This happens every single year. And for having such great leadership qualities, his team sure did suck. “He didn’t have talent around him”… neither did most of the other teams in that league. Allen is wildly inaccurate and inconsistent.

          The idea that teams need to do something crazy to go up and get an elite QB is absurd because there aren’t many elite quarterbacks. The one can’t miss prospect ins recent memory has been Luck. That’s it. Other top end guys have panned out within the right system. Sure. But other back end guys have panned out within the right system as well. You know what doesn’t work out – mortgaging the farm when you don’t have other pieces in place.

          • Don’t forget that Cowboys team fleeced the Vikings out of a lot of players and picks for Herschel Walker… The trade of the century for the pokes…

          • Bills have been looking for a franchise QB since Kelly left and they have tried FA, trades and draft… They never finish close enough to the top of the draft to land a top tier talent…

            This is the year of the college QB coming out as it is being compared to the year Kelly came out…

            There will always be questions about the QB’s coming out and they are all hit or miss but the Bills can the Bills afford to stand pat and not try and make a move for one of them whether it is Allen or another they like… They have been trying to build a team first then get a QB or have an average QB at best for years and it hasn’t worked…

  9. Ourlads QB rating……

    1Baker Mayfield

    2Josh Rosen

    3Sam Darnold

    4Mason Rudolph
    Oklahoma State

    5Josh Allen

    6Lamar Jackson

    7Mike White
    Western Kentucky

    8Kyle Lauletta

    9Luke Falk
    Washington State

    10Riley Ferguson

  10. Sorry, but still FIRM believer in Nathan Peterman. Offensive line and defense redefined the term “SUCKED” for entire game versus Chargers! Go back and watch the film…..first pass perfectly thrown to Clay then second pass perfectly thrown to Benjamin, but Kelvin got hit (legal) low and sent him out of game. Third throw was perfect to DiMarco, but he popped it up into the defenders hands and whoosh……the wheels fell off!!

    Three of the INT’s were offensive line fault as he was hit/pressured just before release, one was a pop up from DiMarco, Soooo, if I do my math correctly he technically threw 1 INT on that awful day. Hmmm, didn’t Tyrod give a fumble away for a score within his first series or was it his second series?

    Anyway, make Nate the starter going into this season, trade Tyrod to Denver for Chad “Mr Irrelevant” Kelly and a draft pick then pick up Chad Henne as a veteran backup for insurance. Surround Nate with quality picks on both sides of the ball this year and just watch what happens…..copy the Jimmy Johnson/Dallas Cowboys team he built around Troy Aikman. Anyone remember that team, u know, the one that kicked the snot out of us in 2 super bowls.

  11. I don’t think the Bills can bring in Chad Kelly unless they plan to start him. As a backup he’d be a distraction, even if he himself was a great teammate. The fans would be clamoring for him any and every chance they got…and if they actually started Peterman, there would be plenty of chances for that. Peterman might not be as bad as his all time horrible performance….but there’s little to suggest he’s anything special either. He’ll be lucky to be a solid backup in the league.

  12. “They never finish close enough to the top of the draft to land a top tier talent…”

    Well, that’s not entirely true. They were close enough to the top last year and passed. And they passed with the wrong team…should have traded with Houston and they’d be sitting pretty right now. Easy to say in after the fact…but I said after I saw Houston make the trade…hmmm, maybe trade with the team that will be starting some nobody or a rookie at QB for their next year’s first instead of the team that is regularly in the playoffs… Whatever the case, the Bills biggest problem has been a lack of trying. For as bad as the team has been at QB the last 20 years, they should have been drafting them on a regular basis…even if not in the first round. The last couple years they’ve at least been taking fliers on some mid to late round picks…but the only way you’re sure to not to land a good QB in the draft is by not selecting any. The Patriots with possibly the best QB ever on their roster the last 20 years have drafted more QBs than the Bills who have been desperate for one most of that time.

    • The Packers did the same thing for years draft QB’s and eventually trade them or let them go..

  13. Good morning…

    The last time the Bills drafted a QB in round 1 was JP Losman and they traded up to get him… Other than JP the only other QB I can think of that they drafted #1 was Kelly and he was their 2nd choice in round 1 as Tony Hunter was taken a head of him with their first pick..

    That’s a pretty bad history for a team that has been around since 1960.

  14. You forgot NeedsA Manual…I can understand why, though. They sure picked a good year to get hell bent on taking a QB at any cost… But I can’t be too hard on them for doing something they should have been doing more of all along.