The Bills announced today that they're going to start former Harvard QB Ryan Fitzpatrick this week over former Stanford QB Trent Edwards this week. Though both of these athletes probably scored really well on their SAT's, neither have scored too well in the NFL and it's almost a guarantee that the Bills will have to move into 2010 with a new "face of the franchise."
Chances are that the Bills new head coach is going to want some say in who this quarterback is, especially if the Bills bring in Mike Shanahan who the team has reportedly already reached out to.
As I've already talked about countless times on this site, this upcoming draft is quarterback heavy in the first three rounds. The following QB's will likely declare draft eligible; Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame), Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), Colt McCoy (Texas), Jake Locker (Washington), Tony Pike (Cincinnati), Tim Tebow (Florida), Dan LeFevour (Central Michigan), Ryan Mallett (Arkansas), and Jevan Snead (Ole Miss) giving the Bills a chance to choose which Quarterback fits them best moving forward.
Note: I know the Clausen isn't guaranteed to come out, and Snead is looking likely to play a senior season. I also know that Locker is a baseball prospect, but all signs point to him sticking with football professionally.
So what wills the Bills do? Owner Ralph Wilson is notoriously cheap, but the team has been in QB turmoil since Jim Kelly called it a career. Whether it was Rob Johnson or Doug Flutie or Drew Bledsoe or J.P Losman or Trent Edwards the team has been unable to make the right decision when it comes to choosing the teams QB of the future.
There's also the possibility that the Bills take the veteran route. QB Brooks Bollinger is likely to go from the UFL Championship game straight to an NFL roster; the Bills may be the first team to give him a call. He'd be cheap, and if he shows any hope the Bills could move forward with him.
Jason Campbell highlights a QB free agent list in 2010 that also includes Brodie Croyle, Kyle Boeller, Kellen Clemens, and Troy Smith. The only names on that list that jump out for the Bills are Campbell and Croyle. There is a chance they give Clemens a shot.
So what do the Bills do?
They'll probably have a top 15 pick, but if they land in the top 10 it will be after Clausen, Locker, and Bradford are off the board; especially with Cleveland, St. Louis, Washington, and Seattle looking for Quarterbacks. If the Bills can land ahead of two of those teams, they'll probably settle on one of those QB's.
I can't see the Bills settling on Tim Tebow, despite what he'd do for brand identity, and Colt McCoy just wouldn't fit in Buffalo, although he's probably the most likely QB to land in Buffalo if they draft in the first round. If the Bills draft after the first round look for them to give Tony Pike a good look, afterall he's a big guy, or potentially Dan LeFevour, the QB who has skyrocketed up draft boards.
Knowing the Buffalo Bills, they're more likely to go with a veteran than a rookie. The only success the team has had with QB's post Jim Kelly came from aged veterans Drew Bledsoe and Doug Flutie, who combined started on playoff game.
In the past, Wilson's team has caught the dead end of the stick in drafting Jim Kelly, who opted to play in the USFL for three seasons before finally coming to Buffalo, and when the team brought in Rob Johnson to a huge contract.
If Wilson opts with a veteran to take over his team, look for Jason Campbell to find a new home in Buffalo.
At least that's what I've rationalized. But when it comes to the Bills who knows?