After going through the top five quarterbacks in my last piece, I thought I’d put together a contingency plan for Bills fans just in case the Bills can’t secure one of the top five quarterbacks in the draft.
Yes, it would be a colossal failure, but let’s pretend like maybe the Bills will do what the Redskins did the year they drafted Robert Griffin second overall and Kirk Cousins later on in the draft.
Let’s take a look at some names you can expect to see on the second and third days of the draft:
QB6 – Lamar Jackson (2017 stats: 3,660 yards, 27 TD’s, 10 INT’s)
It seems like I’ve labeled every quarterback in this draft as polarizing, and in a sense, it’s true. But in the context of evaluating Jackson, the reason he’s been so polarized, especially within the media, is because of his insane athletic ability.
House call. pic.twitter.com/b1BzxxGs1y
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) January 14, 2018
Some of the smartest minds to evaluate the game have said he’s a wide receiver in the NFL. There’s no doubting Jackson’s ability as a runner, and I guess I can understand an argument that says playing quarterback might somehow be stifling his playmaking ability, but he won the Heisman Trophy as a quarterback, and I believe he’s earned the right to play quarterback in the NFL – the only position he’s ever played in his career.
Lamar Jackson was safe with the football under duress last season pic.twitter.com/K7wjHq7eyg
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 8, 2018
All right, rant over. Now we can talk about the things that he does do well as a passer. Although he has a sub-60 percent career completion percentage, when you consider the amount of drops Jackson had to deal with during his time at Louisville (12 percent drop rate by Louisville receivers), maybe there’s an explanation.
C'mon man!!!! pic.twitter.com/qlIXRBWy2i
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 5, 2018
When you’re evaluating a quarterback with an unimpressive completion percentage in a large sample size in college, you have to determine whether the factors causing the inefficiency can be easily fixed. In the case of Jackson, I think you’re seeing a guy that can elevate both his efficiency and volume passing numbers with NFL-caliber talent around him. But where Jackson goes will be solely dependent on which NFL general manager feels they have a coach willing to adapt their system away from traditional NFL concepts.
Ranking Lamar Jackson alongside the QB class is futile. The best offense for him currently doesn’t exist in the NFL. He can deliver similar offensive output to Darnold/Rosen/Mayfield/etc. but it’s not going to look anywhere close to the same.
— Mike Renner (@PFF_Mike) April 18, 2018
I don’t know that the Bills will find themselves in a position where all five guys listed before Jackson are gone, but you never know. I believe that Brian Daboll is a coach that could utilize Jackson the right way. Having said that, I’m not sure the Bills are looking to reinvent the wheel, but if Jackson ends up being a Buffalo Bill, I won’t be disappointed.
"When he took off & ran or left the pocket, I would just blow the whistle. He'd give me one of these—shrug, 'I would've run for a touchdown, Coach.' I'd say, 'I don't care. I want to see you throw for a TD.'- HC Petrino
Lamar Jackson Scouting Report: https://t.co/QCnonNEubD … pic.twitter.com/PlFyhD9deo
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 8, 2018
QB7 – Kyle Lauletta (2017 stats: 3,737 yards, 28 TD’s, 12 INT’s)
Lauletta finds himself seventh on my list of quarterbacks this year. An FCS guy from Richmond, Lauletta will have a significant step up when he gets into the NFL. He’s an accurate passer – nearly 65-percent completion percentage n 2017 – whose game certainly translates to the NFL.
Nice conviction on this throw. Perfect amount of zip to make it through the window. Eye discipline isn't the best but good rep. pic.twitter.com/6r5HOA648W
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 24, 2018
He throws with great timing and rhythm, which helps set him apart from some of the other quarterbacks that will be taken after Lauletta on the board.
Richmond QB Kyle Lauletta impressed with his red zone accuracy during @seniorbowl practice. A number of perfect fade passes and this #BigTimeThrow in the back of the end zone pic.twitter.com/wGiwaMZrtR
— Steve Palazzolo (@PFF_Steve) January 29, 2018
Where Lauletta worries me is whether he has the arm strength to be a long-term NFL starter. It’s adequate and it will do the job, but he can’t be late. Similar to Nathan Peterman, when you lack elite or even above average arm strength, you have to be a precise timing thrower, and when you’re young, the speed of the game can get you in a ton of trouble.
Day two guy huh? pic.twitter.com/BkytJpwmuX
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) February 24, 2018
Because of the similarities to Peterman, I would be surprised if the Bills took Lauletta at any point in the draft.
And for the record, I am not the biggest fan of “QB Kyle Lauletta https://t.co/8ZwjINrvN6
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) March 10, 2018
QB8 – Luke Falk (2017 stats: 3,593 yards, 30 TD’s, 13 INT’s)
If you look at the stats, Falk checks a lot of boxes – a three-year starter, over 14,000 career passing yards, 119 touchdowns to only 39 interceptions, and a career 68 percent completion percentage. So how is a guy with stats like that my QB8?
Luke Falk when kept clean from pressure over the past four seasons pic.twitter.com/oFCr6Pnswl
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 31, 2018
For me, Falk is a developmental player who never really took that next step at Washington State. He played in a very quarterback-friendly Mike Leach offense that rarely asked him to stretch defenses vertically.
According to Pro Football Focus, 47-percent of Falk’s charted throws came on crossing routes, screens, and routes to his running backs.
Not a fan of the WRs spacing or the eye discipline by Falk on what appears to be a Mills concept, but I like the touch up and over the 2nd level. pic.twitter.com/vV1nWBRR2Y
— Cover 1 (@Cover1) January 16, 2018
He doesn’t boast elite arm talent, but it’s NFL-level, and I believe if he gets to the right place and has time to develop, he can be a solid backup or replacement level player in the league for a long time.
QB9 – Mike White (2017 stats: 4,177 yards, 26 TD’s, 8 INT’s)
If you followed college football last season, it sort of felt like all season long you were hearing chatters about Mike White’s draft potential. He’s been talked about for well over a year as a guy who could sneak up draft boards with a big senior season. But, in my opinion, White took a step back.
Mike White when clean from pressure during his time at WKU (and USF) pic.twitter.com/Hx0LAQh3B8
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 2, 2018
White’s junior season was what put him on the map. He threw for over 4,300 and 37 touchdowns, but the number that really stood out was his 11.5 yards per attempt.
That number dropped by almost four full yards in 2017, and his touchdown total dropped by double digits. It was unlikely White could replicate such a special season, but evaluators looking to see him take that next step were disappointed.
Mike White really took care of the ball in 2017 pic.twitter.com/ryuxI3iHgP
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) March 30, 2018
QB10 – Chase Litton (2017 stats: 3,115 yards, 25 TD’s, 14 INT’s)
Litton makes the list because he’s got some untapped potential that will only take one good offensive coach to tap into. At 6’6’’, Litton is one of the biggest quarterbacks in the draft and has all the tools you look for – adequate arm talent, and a guy that can fit into a pro style offense.
Marshall QB Chase Litton has performed extremely well under pressure this season. pic.twitter.com/1cH5o9Bqqz
— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) December 15, 2017
He’s likely a late day two, early day three pick, but he’s an interesting name to watch as a guy the Bills could focus on if their plan is to select two quarterbacks.
It’s only a week until the draft, but I, for one, hope the guy the Bills come away with comes from the list I released earlier in the week.