On the latest episode of The Rico Report, Rico asked some questions: Did we get lucky drafting Josh Allen? What do we do about the cornerback situation? What do we want from the Buffalo Bills this draft? Let’s get into it.
Did The Buffalo Bills Get Lucky Drafting Josh Allen? (3:45)
In the 2018 NFL draft, the Buffalo Bills had their eyes on one QB: Josh Allen. They put in a lot of work to get him, trading up but keeping their other first-round pick. In jumping from 12th to 7th, our team took a major risk. The Denver Broncos needed a QB at fifth, and we don’t know who they wanted, but they opted for DE Bradley Chubb instead. The Buccaneers accepted the trade offer we put out, and the rest is history. If the Broncos took that guy we wanted, where would we be today? Lamar Jackson was a possibility, sure, but could we have made him work?
This year, the Carolina Panthers look a lot like the Buffalo Bills did in 2013. They need a QB, but the class isn’t great. Much like us with E.J. Manuel, no-one was convinced that QB was the right call. It seems the draft truly is a guessing game. Sure, you can be effective enough with your tactics and analysis to be better at drafting, but it’s a mystery.
After all, Ryan Leaf and Peyton Manning were neck and neck in the 1998 draft class. Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold went over Josh Allen in 2018. It takes plenty of relationship management from the front office to manage a draft, and even if you get the guy you want, most pre-draft analysis becomes useless once a player is selected. Enough ‘great’ draft picks have been busts, and enough throwaways have turned into Hall of Famers for us to understand that every scout is out of their depth.
The only true factors for a player’s success in the NFL are coaching, and their own determination. It took a lot of skill from Beane and McDermott to get him. Josh Allen may have been the guy we wanted all along, but we were lucky getting the man he is, not just the player.
The Cornerback Conversation (22:30)
There’s no sugar-coating it: We’re extremely thin at cornerback right now. The Buffalo Bills have Dane Jackson, Cam Lewis, Taron Johnson, and a damaged Tre’Davious White; that’s the entire depth chart. We need some veteran help and Stephon Gilmore, Joe Haden, A.J. Bouye are all free agent options we could sign. Former Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley spoke on signing Gilmore to the roster, noting that, when healthy, we’d have ‘very few holes’ on the defense. He’s got plenty to offer to this team. With competent safety help, he can do everything we would ask of him, and at a high level.
The Buffalo Bills might not draft a corner in the first round, as it’s only one of a few needs, but a day two cornerback would be able to contribute too. We don’t need an early pick, we just need the right pick. Our elite safeties can limit the risk of playing a rookie from round two or three, and we always have Dane Jackson if needed. Jackson currently seems to have the respect of the coaching staff, and he’ll have the opportunity to win the CB2 job in camp. Regardless, we’re contenders with Josh Allen on the roster. We should still upgrade here to do everything we can to help him win a Super Bowl.
Draft Stuff, Doug Whaley, & More (34:44)
Rico also asks a curious question: What would the Buffalo Bills have to do to ruin the draft (34:44)? What would they have to do to ‘Make’ the draft (43:58)? He took the audience through a mock draft using the Buffalo Fanatics Simulator on the BF Network app (50:12), and got heated in defense of former Buffalo Bills GM Doug Whaley (1:12:24). Check it all out on the latest episode of The Rico Report on the Buffalo Fanatics YouTube channel.