If I were the Bills GM: Volume II

You can just cut the anticipation for my next move with a knife. Just to recap what I have done; I’ve traded Lee Evans to the Baltimore Ravens for their 1st and 3rd round picks. I will address my receiving core later, but in the mean time, I have to find a quarterback.

I’ve been tossing and turning in my sleep thinking about what to do in finding the Bills next version of Jim Kelly. People have been saying that this year’s draft class of quarterbacks isn’t anything to write home about. I’m also not the type of GM to use a top 10 draft pick on a quarterback, unless they are a can’t miss prospect. More importantly, the Bills have so many needs on their team that they have to draft a safe, best player available with their first pick. Too many times the Bills have gone for reaches to fit a need than just going for the best player available.

As for Jimmy Clausen, who a lot of experts see the Bills picking, I just see a player whose more of a byproduct of the Notre Dame hype machine. He’s played in a very quarterback friendly offense and didn’t do much in the win column with the Irish. History shows that you can find a franchise quarterback beyond the first round. Just ask Drew Brees and Tom Brady.

I’m also not a big fan of drafting a rookie and playing him right away. Yes, I know, you’ll all write to me about what Ben Roethlisberger, Joe Flacco, Matt Ryan and Mark Sanchez did as rookie starters. But be aware, those quarterbacks had great defenses, superior offensive lineman and stellar running games behind them. The Bills have neither of the three. I just think a rookie quarterback would be a sitting duck with the Bills talent that surrounds him.

As far as free agents go, there’s not exactly a lot out there that I want to pick from. I’ve already shared my thoughts about trading for Mike Vick or Donovan McNabb, so that’s a no go. Don’t even ask me about giving Trent Edwards another shot at the job. I just don’t exactly have many options. So, I’m going to break down my quarterback plans in two scenarios.

Plan A: Trade Donte Whitner and a 2nd rounder to the Eagles for Kevin Kolb
If you have been reading my blogs for the last month or so, it shouldn’t shock you that I’m going for Kevin Kolb. Last year, Kolb played well in a couple of games in relief of McNabb. He’s got a decent arm and a nice, quick release. It also doesn’t hurt that Kolb has been learning under quarterback guru Andy Reid. He’s the type of player who can mesh with my philosophy of getting young players who are just entering their primes.

I know there are rumors out there that the Eagles don’t want any part in trading Kolb, and may want more than just a 2nd rounder and Donte Whitner. However, the Eagles did trade AJ Feeley (who was almost in the same situation as Kevin Kolb) for a 2nd round pick in 2004. Lets just hope that Kolb’s career doesn’t end up like AJ’s. Also, the Eaglers are in desperate need of help at the safety position and Whitner’s reputation around the league is much better than it is here. Whitner is expendable because of the emergence of George Wilson and Jairus Byrd, plus Whitner could be reunited with Dick Jauron.

Yes, Kolb isn’t the sexiest name in the world, but they said the same thing about Matt Schaub when he was traded to the Texans.

Plan B: Sign Chad Pennington and draft Colt McCoy
Look, I get that Chad Pennington isn’t exactly going to outgun the opposition with his arm. I know he’s probably just a better version of Trent Edwards. He’s also been battling injuries for most of his career. I know all his problems. However, I do feel that his intangibles slightly out weigh his short comings. The guy’s a leader and the type of player that would have no problems with tutoring a young quarterback. He’s also a quarterback whose been involved with a couple of rebuilding projects with the Jets and Dolphins. Heck, he has guided some not so talented football teams to the playoffs. He’s the perfect stop-gap quarterback.

Since Kelly’s retirement, if there’s one thing that all the Bills young quarterbacks have had in common (besides sucking), it’s that they didn’t really have a good mentor. Just to clarify; A good mentor is a veteran quarterback who has been in every situation as a pro. More importantly, someone who wants to be able to help groom a young QB.

Tell me if you think these guys would really go out of their way and help their younger predecessors? Doug Flutie sure as hell wasn’t going to help Rob Johnson. Drew Bledsoe viewed JP Losman as huge threat to him as an heir apparent. JP Losman mentoring Trent Edwards? Please. Master Yoda couldn’t even mentor those two. Pennington’s leadership skills, along with showing what it takes to be an NFL quarterback are traits that I would want to bequest onto a younger quarterback.

As for my younger quarterback, I’ll be honest, just pick a guy in the 2nd or 3rd round. For now, I’m going to go with Colt McCoy. The guy has won at the college level and his high completion percentage is something that Chan Gailey’s offenses have been predicated on in years past. Hey, we may as well have the most southern GM, coach and quarterback trio ever created. McCoy’s style of play can mesh well with Pennington’s tutelage. Now if the Bills season blows up by week 7, then it will be time to put in McCoy and see what he can do.

Overall
Look, I know these aren’t exactly the sexiest moves at quarterback, but you have to understand what I’m dealing with here. It’s a thin quarterback crop in free agency and the draft. If the Kolb deal doesn’t go through, at least I’m not cemented to a quarterback for the next four years. Bills fans have to realize that it’s going to take a couple of drafts to really turn this team around. Maybe next year the quarterback class will be better.

As for acquiring Kolb, he’s the best young NFL quarterback that may be on the trading block. I think his quick release will gel well with Chan Gailey’s short passing system. Of course, I’m going to have to give him a new contract.

Yeah..I can already sense readers begging for Tom Donahoe after my first two moves as GM. However, understand that Rome wasn’t built in a day and that the Bills are a third world country in comparison. I’m not hear to sell tickets. I’m here to set the foundation for a team that will compete 2-3 years from now.
Joe

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The Lord of Buffalo Wins

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