Some thoughts about the Buffalo Bills’ selections of Josh Allen and Tremaine Edmunds in the first round of the 2018 NFL draft:
- Swapping first round picks and giving up both of the second rounders they owned to Tampa Bay to go from 12th overall to seventh to take Josh Allen of Wyoming compared to Arizona sending their third and fifth round picks plus swapping firsts with Oakland to go from 15th overall to 10th to select Josh Rosen of UCLA seemed like overpayment on the Bills’ part. Especially given the fact that both trades were made to move up just five spots. (Side note: Buffalo also reportedly had a deal in place with Denver to move up to the fifth overall selection, but the Broncos backed out when N.C. State edge rusher Bradley Chubb unexpectedly fell into their lap.)
- In hindsight, did Buffalo even need to trade up in the first place? None of the teams that held picks between fourth and 11th overall – Cleveland, Denver, Indianapolis, Tampa, Chicago, San Francisco, Oakland and Miami – had a pressing need at the quarterback position. Even if the Cardinals still traded with the Raiders to move up to 10th, the Bills could have sat at 12th, bided their time and still came away with a signal caller – whether that person was Allen or Rosen. At least they didn’t sacrifice any draft capital from 2019 in order to make their move.
- Choosing Allen over Rosen was an interesting decision. Personally, I preferred Josh Rosen for a few reasons: 1. He has better experience coming out than Allen due to his playing for a former NFL coach in Jim Mora and having played against tougher competition, 2. His quick release, mechanics, ball placement, accuracy and instincts are more advanced than Allen’s, and 3. His ‘it’ factor is undeniable, as his ability to perform in the clutch was showcased in the Bruins’ comeback win over Texas A&M early in the 2017 season. His ceiling may not be as high as Allen’s, but you’ll know what you’ll get from him, and the Cardinals certainly do.
- Whether it’s fair or not, the Bills’ decision to bank their future on Josh Allen will define the tenure of coach Sean McDermott and general manager Brandon Beane. Given the fact that they passed up on quarterbacks thought to be more pro-ready – Rosen, Lamar Jackson, Mason Rudolph come to mind here – in exchange for a player who is more of a project but may have higher potential is a risky selection. If I’m McDermott, I would be prepared to keep Allen nailed to the bench all season long in favor of A.J. McCarron until he either proves he’s ready to take the reins or is willing to go through growing pains in order to improve.
- Tremaine Edmunds, thought by many to be potentially selected among the top 10 players on Thursday, was a solid pick by Buffalo. Given the Bills’ lack of depth at the position – aside from Matt Milano, their depth chart looked like a wasteland – it made sense to deal the 22nd pick and the third round selection they acquired from Cleveland for Tyrod Taylor to Baltimore for the 16th selection and an extra fifth round pick. McDermott’s defensive scheme relies heavily on linebackers being good in pass coverage and having the ability to rush the quarterback up the middle, so acquiring Edmunds, who is adept at both skills, was a good value selection.