Inside Slant

The Sports Xchange

April 29, 2018 at 10:44 pm.

Bills 2018 draft: High cost for a QB and LB

There was never a doubt what general manager Brandon Beane intended on doing in the first round of the draft Thursday night. The surprise was that he was able to trade up and pick who he believes will be the Buffalo Bills’ franchise quarterback without having to forfeit the second of his two first-round spots.

Buffalo was armed with picks Nos. 12 and 22, plus two picks each in rounds two and three, so Beane had plenty of ammunition to execute any trade up necessary to get his man, who turned out to be Wyoming’s Josh Allen.

The Giants at 2, the Browns at 4, the Broncos at 5 and the Colts at 6 were not willing to move down, but with those four teams all selecting non-quarterbacks, Allen remained in play, and finally, Beane got Tampa Bay to bite at No. 7.

At that point, Beane was able to make the deal utilizing the No. 12 pick, and both second-rounders, to get the Bucs to drop five spots. Buffalo also picked up a late seventh-rounder. It actually was a bit of an overpayment on the Jimmy Johnson draft chart, but he felt it was worth it because he kept No. 22. Beane then used it to make another move up to No. 16 to take Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. That cost him the No. 65 pick, which was the first in the third round, while it brought back a fifth-round choice at 154.

When the frenzy was complete, Beane landed the quarterback he coveted, and a linebacker who should be a starter the moment he hits the practice field.

“We called around, but we were trying to be diligent and find what we thought was the best landing spot for us,” said Beane, explaining the deal to get Allen. “Patience paid off to save the 22nd pick. That was part of it, we were willing to part with it, but we were also excited to keep it and it worked out in our favor to land in the seven spot.”

Allen, of course, was the most polarizing of the top four quarterbacks because his college production at Wyoming was uneven and, at times, unimpressive. But when asked about his 56-percent career completion rate, Allen advised fans and media not to stew over the stats.

“Don’t look at the stats, trust me,” said Allen, who had only two 300-yard passing games. “I say watch some game film. Watch some of the stuff that I can do. Very few other quarterbacks can do some of the stuff that I can do. I take pride in that and definitely have to learn and trust what coaches tell me. I definitely look back at my film and when I did miss, it was large in part due to my feet. Making sure that I’m consistently setting my feet right, throwing on time, short stride, and when I do those things, I’ve seen a lot of results.”

The fact that Buffalo signed AJ McCarron in free agency lessens the immediate need for Allen to come in and take over the offense. The Bills should be able to ease him into the NFL and give him the proper time to make the adjustments he will need to make to become an NFL starter.

In Edmunds, the Bills corralled a player most draft experts deemed the best outside linebacker in the draft class, a 6-foot-4, 250-pound freak of an athlete who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.53 seconds at the Combine.

“He is a versatile athlete,” said head coach Sean McDermott, who could use Edmunds in the middle of his 4-3, or perhaps as the weak-side ‘backer. “He’s got size, length, he has played inside, he has played outside as well, he has played on the line of scrimmage as well as off the line of scrimmage. Some of that flexibility is what attracted us to him as well.”