As we all know, the most important position in ALL sports is quarterback in the National Football League. If you don't have a good to great quarterback, your chances of consistent success in the NFL are slim to none. The Bills spent their 2013 first round draft pick on a quarterback, EJ Manuel. In the old days, when a franchise drafted a quarterback in the first round, they were married to that guy for years because of the financial burden. With the rookie wage scale, if the QB isn't good, you can kick him to the curb after a year without major financial implications. The only negative would be the perceived embarrassment from around the league.
Doug Whaley has publicly put all of his chips in the pot backing EJ Manuel. That, my friends, is embarrassing. EJ Manuel played 10 games, suffered 3 knee injuries (2 of which non-contact), had maybe 1 decent game and most embarrassing of all, a redshirt freshman took over his team and won the Heisman and the national title. EJ Manuel did not even come close to showing enough in his rookie season to warrant being given the reigns no questions asked this season. This is a win now league. The Bills arguably have enough talent on the roster to compete, but without a quarterback, the will be mediocre at best. The Bills ceiling with EJ Manuel is the Cincinnati Bengals...wild card one and done. If EJ Manuel was in this draft, where would be be ranked? 5th? 6th? The case can be made that he would be ranked behind Manziel, Bortles, Carr, Bridgewater, Garoppolo, Mettenberger, McCarron...that would make him 8th. Put him behind Savage and he would be 9th! There are quarterbacks available with more talent than EJ Manuel and that is NOT arguable. Isn't the point to get the most talented quarterback possible? I guess according to Whaley, that is not the point.
Anyways, here is my big board for the Bills first round pick. This ranking is who I would want the Bills to draft, in order, and why. I know some of these players are not going to be possible without a trade, but I am hoping for a miracle.
1. Johnny Manziel: I know he is short, but I don't care. He is talented and charismatic and that can't be argued. People are concerned about his durability. Would be really be less durable than Manual?
2. Blake Bortles: I watched about 2 of his games this season and saw all I really needed to see. He is tough and a pure competitor. He reminds me of Big Ben. If Bortles is somehow there at 9, the Bills gotta take him. Are the Bills really going to pass on Bortles and watch him become a perennial pro bowler while they toil at 7-9?
3. Khalil Mack: Mack seems like the most sure thing defensive player in the draft. He could play all three downs on defense at a position of serious need. He was a man among boys against Ohio State in the biggest game of his college career (pick 6 and sack fumble (even though it didn't count).
4. Jadeveon Clowney: Everyone talks about this guy being a once in a decade talent. He might be, but I still have some concerns about his attitude.
5. Sammy Watkins: The Bills definitely need help at WR. Although I am sort of against drafting an offensive player that is not a QB because of the chance they will be wasted, Watkins has too much potential to pass up.
6. Mike Evans: The Bills haven't had a WR that could go up and get it and stretch the field since Moulds. Evans could be that guy. Was he good in college just because of Manziel though? Time will tell...
7. Eric Ebron: First round tight ends usually don't pan out. I can't even think of a top 10 tight end that ended up being a star off the top of my head. Anyways, the Bills haven't had a tight end since Riemersma so he would be worth a shot before drafting ANY offensive lineman.
8. CJ Mosley: The Bills need a LB so if they can't get Mack, Mosley is the next best.
9. HaHa Clinton Dix: Are we really comfortable with Duke Williams/DeNorris Searcy/Corey Graham? No.
10. Justin Gilbert: The Bills have what 2 mediocre corners? We are waiting for Gilmore to become that stud shut down guy. McKelvin is a guy. Roby is 3 feet tall. They could rationalize taking one.
There's my top 10. In general, I want the Bills to go QB. If they don't go QB, I want them to draft the best defensive player (non defensive tackle) available, other than the 3 past catching prospects. Offensive line in the first round would probably cause me to have a canniption.
Here's to hoping Doug Whaley smartens up and drafts a QB in the first round.