Four years ago, the Buffalo Bills drafted Josh Allen with the seventh overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. A raw talent coming out of Wyoming, most analysts expected Allen to bust once he was drafted due to his lack of accuracy. Everything changed once Week One of the 2020 season came around. From taking the Bills to the AFC Championship game, to the MVP runner up, not too many people outside of Buffalo expected this from Josh. So, in the months leading up to the draft, what happened?
Trading Tyrod Taylor
In 2015, then HC Rex Ryan and GM Doug Whaley made the move to sign Tyrod Taylor, letting him compete with E.J. Manuel and Matt Cassel for the starting job. And well, we all know what happened after that. He became a Pro Bowler in his first season as Buffalo’s starter, signed a mega six-year/$92M deal in 2016, and broke the playoff drought in 2017. However, his on-field performance declined over his tenure and the new regime (Sean McDermott and Brandon Beane) sought a long-term answer at the position. So, just two months after the Bills-Jaguars Wild Card game, the Bills traded Tyrod to the Cleveland Browns for a third round pick.
Moving up in the draft
The Bills made multiple trades to move up to the seventh pick, starting with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bills traded OL Corey Glenn, the 21st pick, and a fifth round pick in exchange for the 12th overall pick & a sixth round pick. But that didn’t stop Brandon Beane from pulling a Sonny Weaver and moving up again. Buffalo traded the 12th, 53rd, and 56th overall picks to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in exchange for the seventh and 255th picks.
After the draft, there was a picture that leaked from the Bills draft room that showed Allen was their QB1 from the beginning. (It appears Beane had “Josh Allen, no matter what”.)
Josh Allen’s career so far
Allen’s rookie year was one that you can call a rebuilding year. From losing his two starting WRs (Kelvin Benjamin, Andre Holmes), to getting constantly scrutinized for his play by the media, it was a tough season for Allen. In 2019, however, it was different. The Bills gave Allen Cole Beasley and John Brown to work with, which helped boost his performance and lead Buffalo to another playoff birth. But 2020 was a year nobody saw coming in Allen’s development. Buffalo landed Stefon Diggs, the defense was playing very well, and the OL got a big boost in production from the year before.
After the 2020 season, the Bills signed Allen to a huge six-year/$258M deal with $150M guaranteed. During the 2021 off-season, Buffalo gave Allen more help on offense. Drafting Spencer Brown in the third round and signing Emmanuel Sanders in free agency.