Opening the Bills: Examining Buffalo’s QB room ahead of 2023 NFL Draft


When it comes to quarterbacks, many are often compared to supercars in today’s broadcast media. Journalists use the cliche “he’s a Ferrari” or “he’s a Lamborghini” to paint a picture of one’s immense athletic abilities and physical traits. Josh Allen can also be compared to modern-day automobiles, as long we agree that a WW2-era tank reimagined by McLaren before it was given a creative once over by Bugatti and is engineered to sling footballs and hurdle humungous humans by the Mythbusters still classifies as a vehicle.

Now that you have an elaborate visualization of what Josh Allen is, let me take it a step further and tell you that I believe the Bills have one of the three best humans on planet earth playing QB. I’m willing to admit that Patrick Mahomes is the best man under center in the world, but after the Chiefs’ QB, I think #2 is either Allen or the Bengals’ Joe Burrow. Any other answer, and you’re either too devoted to your fandom or just lying to yourself and the numbers agree.

2022 was a “down year” for Allen, according to some. A season where he finished 6th in passing yards per game (276.1), 2nd in passing touchdowns (35), and second in ESPN’s QBR with a 71.4. That’s his arm, but what about his legs? Allen was 3rd in rushing yards for a QB with 762 and 3rd in rushing touchdowns with seven. While Mahomes and Burrow are even or slightly ahead of Allen in the passing categories of counting stats last season, they are behind him, and sometimes significantly, in the rushing ranks.

The analytics community loves Allen even more than the boxscores. He is tied for 1st in Pro Football Reference’s Approximate value with a 20. Pro Football Focus gives Allen a 91.6 in offensive grade. That is the best for QBs. His passing grade is 85.1, which drops to 3rd overall, but the running grade of 92.7 leaps back to the top of the pile. Football Outsiders ranks him 4th in their Yards Above Replacement statistic with 1,075.

Now, Josh Allen isn’t the only one in the Bills’ QB room. They also have Kyle Allen and Matt Barkley as backups. Barkley has been a perfect voice and sounding board for Josh Allen and the Bills. He’s been willing to chill on the practice squad and is hidden away with the label “break glass in case of emergency.” If Barkley has to play meaningful snaps, it is an emergency for Buffalo. Ahead of Barkley on the depth chart is the newly signed Kyle Allen.

This is one of Josh’s best buddies, and I have zero issues with the front office appeasing their franchise QB by signing his friend as an adequate backup. During his five-year NFL career, Kyle Allen has started 19 games, compiling a 7-12 record. He’s thrown for over 4,700 yards and 26 touchdowns in the NFL. You do not want Kyle Allen playing significant snaps, but if he had to come in and finish a game or make a spot start, the Bills could certainly be in worse shape behind their former first-round pick.


The Bills have the best QB in the AFC East, and the gap between #1 and #2 might not be wider in any other division. As of right now, my rankings go:

#1 Bills – Josh Allen, #2 Dolphins – Tua Tagovailoa, #3 Patriots – Mac Jones, #4 Jets – Zach Wilson.

Behind them is a mess of players none of the teams want to see taking meaningful snaps. Mike White in Miami is the most serviceable backup, assuming he isn’t still split in two via Matt Milano. Kyle Allen comes in 2nd for me, with Bailey Zappe and Chris Streveler rounding out the second string.


I gave a lot of my thoughts here away in the overview. If you don’t have Josh Allen in your top three quarterbacks heading into 2022, you are either living in the past or under a rock, and both can be painful decisions. Allen is easily top five in the league when it comes to passing. His pure athletic arm talent is second-to-none, and in my opinion, Patrick Mahomes is the only player that can even drop his name into the competition’s entry bucket. Allen pulls away from the field when you factor in his legs, with only Justin Fields and Lamar Jackson running in the same race as the farmer from Firebaugh. As of right now, my top six rankings are:

#1 Chiefs Patrick Mahomes, #2 Bills Josh Allen, #3 Bengals Joe Burrow, #4 Ravens Lamar Jackson, #5 Chargers Justin Herbert, #6 Eagles Jalen Hurts.

We, as fans, are in a fantastic period of quarterback play. We get to watch the closing of the 2000s with Tom Brady retiring and Aaron Rodgers looking to be in his rearview. Ten teams can argue they have a dude who can lead their squad to a super bowl and aren’t dependent on everything around them to be perfect. All the while we have guys like Trevor Lawrence, Justin Fields, CJ Stroud, Bryce Young, and possibly others ready to burst into the conversation of top-flight signal callers.


The Bills are in great shape when it comes to quarterback with 26-year-old Josh Allen, who has finished as high as 2nd in MVP voting already in his career. There is no reason to waste draft capital on a position that is fixed for a decade or more, especially when other holes on the roster need to be plugged.

The Bills should always try to find an experimental QB after the draft as a UDFA. One that fits the mold of Allen and can be groomed on the practice squad. Think University at Buffalo’s Tyree Jackson who has since converted to tight end for the Eagles. For me, that guy in 2023 in Houston’s Clayton Tune. Tune has played five seasons for the Cougars, starting four seasons, and earning team captain in three. He stands 6’3″ 220lbs and threw for over 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns last season while adding 546 yards and five more touchdowns on the ground. If Tune makes it through all seven rounds of the draft, which most national outlets are predicting, he would be a great addition to Buffalo.


“Stetson Bennett (7th round) The Bills likely won’t be in on a quarterback in the 2023 NFL Draft, but if they manage to snag a 7th round pick, Stetson Bennett would be a great get if still on the board. Having the pedigree of being a winner, while possessing Alex Smith capabilities – the Bills could obtain a sound backup plan with potential future trade value, in drafting Bennett,” @Chris_Chous.


“Dorian Thompson-Robinson projects as UDFA, listed as PFF’s 318th ranked prospect and 256th for TDN. Coming out of UCLA, DTR has the athleticism and a solid gun for a right arm, and he has Allen-esque highlights, if not the size (6010, 205lbs). The Bills should not pursue a QB with one of their 6 picks in the 2023 NFL Draft because they have a superhero in Allen and so many other team needs. That said, if DTR goes undrafted, his athletic tools make him worthy of bringing in as a UDFA,” – @LowBuffa.


“Aidan O’Connell profiles as a Day 3 pick out of a pass-happy Purdue offense. The 6’3 QB has the makings of a backup you want in your room. NFL quality arm with the ability to push the ball and place it with accuracy. O’Connell has the trait to be a “win with QB” if your team is in a pinch,” – @SportsRoc2


The Bills QB draft situation may have best been summed up by @UberHansen who said, “If the Bills draft a Quarterback I will publicly state that Brandon Beane should be fired and never step within 100ft of the Bills front office again. A UDFA is a different story.”