By Mary Pesarchick // @HeyMom418
Since March, when the Bills traded left tackle Cordy Glenn and the 21st pick to Cincinnati to move up to the Bengals’ spot at #12, it was clear that the goal of the 2018 NFL draft for Bills’ General Manager Brandon Beane was to get the franchise quarterback the fans have been dreaming about.
For six weeks, local sports talk was dominated by discussion over which of the top five quarterback prospects, Josh Allen, Sam Darnold, Lamar Jackson, Baker Mayfield, or Josh Rosen, the Bills should take. The opinions varied and the debates grew heated at times. However, there always seemed to be one point of consensus among the local beat reporters and Bills fans.
Please do not take Josh Allen. Oh well.
Obviously, Allen was considered by some NFL experts to be the best of the five quarterbacks, even projected to go first overall to the Browns. His size and arm strength supposedly gave him the edge over the other four. But as time went on, consideration of Allen’s poor completion rate (56%), his erratic play, and questionable mechanics eliminated him from many fans’ wish lists.
Here is #Bills QB Josh Allen signing a hat for a fan. He had to throw it up to him in second level. The toss went right into the fan’s hands. I said “nice”. He looked back at me, smiled and said “accuracy” #BillsMafia @buffalobills pic.twitter.com/4I4dKHgzTl
— Jenna Cottrell (@JennaCottrell) April 27, 2018
By the time the draft rolled around, fans were clamoring for the other Josh– Josh Rosen. And when the Bills traded up to the 7th pick with Rosen still on the board, the level of anticipation on social media was palaple. But the Bills chose Allen.
There was a collective and audible groan from Bills fans. The Twitterverse exploded with posts expressing disbelief and massive disappointment.
It’s Christmas and I feel like we’re asking Mom and Dad for an iPad and are in serious danger of getting an Acer Tablet from Wal-Mart
— Del Reid (@DelReid) April 26, 2018
Analysts were mixed on their opinion of the pick.
“Buffalo got the best QB in the draft. Love the trade, love the pick.”
— Buffalo Bills (@buffalobills) April 28, 2018
Now, the day after, the response of the fan base continues to be muted. However, Beane is being applauded for knowing what he wanted and doing what was necessary to make it happen. He is given much credit for trading up without giving up both the Bills’ First Round picks, preserving the 22nd pick to trade up to 16 and get linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.
— billsequipment (@billsequipment) April 27, 2018
Interestingly, the story is circulating that Bills owner Terry Pegula was “enamored” with Josh Allen, causing many to wonder how much he influenced Beane’s decision. Pegula did speak with Allen after reports surfaced about the racist tweets Allen posted when he was a sophomore in high school.
Apparently, the Bills were satisfied by Allen’s explanation and contrition for what he had done as a “young and dumb” student. The effect of his tweets on the locker room remains to be seen, but Allen is eager to reassure his new teammates that the tweets don’t “reflect the person that he is now.”
Allen obviously has a lot of talent and Beane and coach Sean McDermott are confident he can learn to overcome his accuracy and footwork issues. The question is, though, from whom is Allen going to learn? There is no veteran quarterback on the team.
The Bills traded former QB Tyrod Taylor to Cleveland, and signed QB A J McCarron who had limited starting experience with Cincinnati. The Bills’ QB coach, David Culley, also has limited experience as he was a wide receivers coach before coming to the Bills this year.
And, oh, by the way, the Bills are still in desperate need of skilled wide receivers so Allen won’t get much help there either.
Any way you look at it, the Bills have taken a huge gamble choosing Allen over Rosen. While, of course, the hope is that Allen will be wildly successful, fans will be keeping an eye on Josh Rosen’s career with the Cardinals. If Rosen proves to be the better QB, fans will be left to sigh over what could have been.
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