Despite a pretty good season for Tyrod Taylor, the Buffalo Bills might still take a quarterback in the first round of the NFL draft, which is more about financial and contract issues instead of ability.
Taylor played as a starter for the first time in his career, completing 63.7% of his passes for 20 touchdown throws and six interceptions while also rushing for 568 yards and four touchdowns. The Bills were 7-6 with him as the starter, and it seemed that for the first time in a while, they’ve put themselves in a situation with a quarterback that doesn’t raise any doubts about his ability.
But with Taylor becoming a free agent after the 2016 season (his 2017 contract year is voided due to incentives reached in 2015), the Bills, surprisingly, aren’t planning on being aggressive when it comes to giving him an extension. They still feel the burn of doing it too early with Ryan Fitzpatrick, who was released only 17 months after he was given a six-year, $59 million with $24 million in guaranteed money. This might push Taylor away from the team, but the Bills need one more good season from him to know he’s their guy.
E.J. Manuel, a former first round pick who has managed to at least stay on the roster last season while rumors of him being cut kept hovering around, is the backup, and he’s also hitting free agency following the 2016 season. To make things simple, the Bills want to put themselves in a position which is less vulnerable in case Taylor doesn’t work out or simply leaves a year from now, so they’re looking at the draft.
With the 19th overall pick, who can they land? There are a number of quarterbacks who seem to be possible picks from around mid first round and into the second round. Christian Hackenberg of Penn State, Paxton Lynch from Memphis, Carson Wentz from North Dakota State or even Connor Cook from Michigan State. None of them seem like a sure thing, but the Bills might be hoping that with a year of sitting behind Taylor, one of them can give them an insurance policy in case they’re in need of finding a starting quarterback once again.