Earlier in the week, Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley said he'd 'absolutely' consider drafting a quarterback early in the 2016 NFL draft.
Realistically, the Bills aren't likely to select a QB early in the draft. There are more pressing needs that come to mind (DL, LB, S, OL, WR) and the team may have found their franchise quarterback in Tyrod Taylor. However, Taylor is only signed through 2016 and Buffalo needs to consider adding another QB to the mix. EJ Manuel is also signed through 2016, but it's very likely that next year will be his final season with the team. Manuel hasn't developed into the QB the Bills had hoped and showed that he can't be relied upon as a backup after going 0-2 this season for an injured Taylor.
Although many teams don't carry three quarterbacks, it seems like the Bills are in a position where they need a third quarterback on the roster in 2016. Keeping that in mind, here are some options for the Bills to explore in the 2016 NFL draft.
There is a chance that all three of these players will be off the board by the time Buffalo picks in the first round. It was revealed this week that Buffalo has done its due diligence on Wentz this season, but his stock is soaring. A Buffalo News article on Wentz revealed the following on Buffalo's interest in Wentz:
“I was just talking to one of our video coordinators,” said North Dakota State quarterbacks coach Randy Hedberg by phone Thursday, “and I said, ‘What teams would you think?’ And one of the teams that was here the most was the Bills. They’ve been in our building quite a bit and in our practices."
It's possible that Wentz is the first quarterback taken in this year's draft so Buffalo probably won't have a chance at drafting the North Dakota State product. Goff and Lynch are both in play to be selected high in the draft. Even if one of these players were to fall to 19, Buffalo would probably look to address a more pressing need. If the Bills were to select a QB at pick 19 it'd be sending a message that they didn't believe in Taylor.
These are four players that could really be in play for the Bills on the second day of the draft or in round four.
Cook is projected to go in round two as of this writing, but a lot can change between now and the draft. That said, he's a possible option for the Bills in round two for a variety of reasons. First, Cook is an experienced QB. He went 34-4 as Michigan State's QB so he has plenty of experience. He also has the look of an NFL QB. Cook is 6'4" and 220 lbs. so he has a solid NFL QB frame. Perhaps the biggest plus for Cook is that he has the arm strength to succeed in Buffalo weather. He, like Tyrod Taylor, can make deep passes look effortless. The QB has also shown underrated athleticism in his career. He'll never be confused for Taylor in terms of his speed or elusiveness, but he can make plays with his feet. There's definitely a lot to like about Cook's game and he could come to the Bills and instantly compete for the backup job.
Prescott is perhaps my personal favorite for the backup job with Buffalo in the draft. He had a terrific performance at the Senior Bowl, which is nice, but no QB showed more growth this season than Prescott. Some NFL draft experts believed that the QB would have to play a different position in the NFL before this season but he really worked on his game and made major strides. Prescott has a big arm, like Cook, and he reads the field well. He doesn't seem to stare down receivers like some college QBs which is a major plus. In addition to making great strides as a passer, Prescott can take off and run with the ball. He moves well for being close to 230 lbs. and is hard to bring down. He certainly has attributes similar to Taylor which Buffalo may like. If something were to happen to Tyrod, Prescott could step in without the team having to drastically modify the playbook. He's certainly not as NFL game ready as Cook but don't be surprised if Prescott rises up the draft board before April's draft.
Hackenberg is one of the biggest mysteries in the draft. Under Bill O'Brien, Hackenberg looked like a future NFL star. However, that hasn't been the case under James Franklin and Penn State's offensive line did no favors for "Hack." Hackenberg finished his career at Penn State as their all-time leading passer and he, like Cook, has the size (6'4") that NFL evaluators like. Much like Cook and Prescott, Hackenberg has a big arm but did struggle with his accuracy at times. There are a lot of unknowns about Hackenberg's game but his skillset is intriguing for NFL teams. If he's available in the third round, the Bills could be interested in pulling the trigger on Hackenberg but a reunion with O'Brien on the Houston Texans may be the best option for the QB.
Last year at this time, many people thought that Cardale Jones could be in play for the top overall pick in this year's draft (Never forget, Fail For Cardale). One year later, Jones is a mid-round prospect. He's another QB with a big arm and good size (6'5") but he doesn't read defenses as well as the three quarterbacks he's listed with in the second tier. He's someone to watch closely through the draft process.
Late round option: Kevin Hogan
I've watched a lot of Hogan in his career and his game is interesting. When he's bad, he's really bad. However, he can also looked like a future NFL QB at times. Hogan is by far the hardest QB to evaluate in this class, in my opinion. Perhaps his ceiling in the NFL is a career backup but someone you'd consider as a top backup (Think Matt Moore). Hogan isn't a QB you'd look at as someone who could eventually start for Buffalo but if the team waits on a QB until the later rounds, he's the best of the bunch.null