Could Bills Make Tim Tebow a Top-10 Pick?
It may be the worst kept secret in the league, but the Bills are in dire need of a franchise quarterback. It's been 14 years since Jim Kelly played his last down in Buffalo in 1996. After a forgettable year with Todd Collins at the helm, Doug Flutie led the team to their last two 10-win seasons in 1998 and 1999. Since the year 2000, seven different quarterbacks have led the team in passing.
Seven. Rob Johnson, Alex Van Pelt, Drew Bledsoe, Kelly Holcomb, J.P. Losman, Trent Edwards, and Ryan Fitzpatrick. The Bills' record over that decade: 66-94.
Free agency just doesn't work for the Bills either -- what successful QB is chomping at the bit to play for a team that just went 66-94 over the last decade? If change is going to come, it will have to come through the draft.
The problem is that the Bills just can't get a pick quite high enough to land a franchise QB, and after the Losman experiment failed, they've seemed hesitant to even try. With a new coach in the fold, they'll definitely be trying to find that guy in this year's draft.
But Sam Bradford, the consensus No. 1 at the position, has no chance of reaching the Bills at No. 9 overall. Notre Dame signal caller Jimmy Claussen has a little bit better chance of sliding to the Bills, but mock drafts generally have him off the board by the time it comes to Buffalo's selection.
With those two guys gone, conventional wisdom has the Bills drafting a franchise left tackle with their first pick. Every spot on that line was mediocre at best, and none was worse than left tackle, where the Bills just couldn't succeed at filling the mammoth hole left by the trade of Jason Peters to the Eagles.
However, when have the Bills done something conventional in the draft? Last year, they selected Aaron Maybin as the first defensive end off the board, when Brian Orakpo carried a higher rating and tackle Michael Oher was staring them in the face. They then spent their other first-round pick on Eric Wood, an interior lineman by trade that carried a second-round grade. The Bills would play Wood (as well as most of their linemen) out of position during the year,
The 2009 draft was shockingly reminiscent of the 2006 draft, when the team completely overdrafted Donte Whitner with the eighth overall pick (before Matt Leinart and Jay Cutler, I may add), and then spent their late first-round pick on John McCargo, a reach that befuddled most draft experts at the time. Needless to say, that draft class didn't pan out too well.
Now I come to my point (I know, finally): With Bradford and Claussen off the board, couldn't you see the Bills taking Tim Tebow with the ninth overall pick? Most agree that his talent and the fact that he's more of a project quarterback should preclude him from being a first-round (and maybe even second-round) selection. For Buffalo, a team that just went 66-94 for the 2000s and is no better now than they were ten years ago, does it matter?
The one positive about Tebow is that he oozes intangibles. He's great in front of a microphone, he's a fantastic leader in the locker room, he says the right thing, acts the right way, and wows everyone that meets him. Is that enough to make him a successful NFL quarterback? Of course not. Is it enough to get him drafted in the top ten in 2010? Possibly.
The selection would be lambasted by all draft experts, but the franchise may not feel they have a choice. Coach Gailey did say that Tebow is "well ahead of a lot of people, headed toward a good career in the NFL." If the Bills become convinced that they won't be able to land Tebow in the second round, they may feel the need to overdraft the project QB and hope he and Gailey can turn the franchise around. Crazier things have happened on Draft Day -- just ask the Bills.