You too can be a Bills scout

Reserve your Saturdays to watch college quarterbacks

Howard Simon
August 31, 2017 - 5:13 pm

Bills fans, it's time to put your scouting hat on again. You have a lot of work to do.

The return of college football means we get back to our routine of watching players to see if we want the Bills to draft them in the spring. There are a number of positions you can keep an eye on like wide receiver, linebacker, offensive tackle, defensive tackle and cornerback. But lets face it, EVERYBODY should be watching the quarterbacks. The Bills scouts are certainly going to be doing that so we should be too.

I don’t think there’s anything Tyrod Taylor or Nathan Peterman can do this season that could get me to the point where I’d say the Bills don’t have to take a quarterback in the 2018 draft. Since the trade down maneuver which netted the Bills a second pick in the 2018 first round, many have assumed the Bills were positioning themselves to take a shot at one of the top signal callers. Subsequent trades have left the Bills with six picks in the first three rounds, the additional capital further fueling those quarterback thoughts.

I usually check out the quarterbacks on Saturdays because the Bills have been searching for their franchise guy for some 20 years. But those added picks and the new regime leave me feeling the Bills will pick a quarterback in the first round for just the third time since Jim Kelly was taken in 1983.

There’s quite a list to pick from when it comes to your scouting plan so depending on how much you want to work, here we go. If you’d like to keep it to a short list, the top-three potential candidates (I say potential because there are juniors in the group) are Sam Darnold (Red-Shirt Sophomore - USC), Josh Allen (Junior - Wyoming) and Josh Rosen (Junior - UCLA).

Darnold is a popular choice as the first quarterback to come off the board, should he declare. Jets fans have started a “suck for Sam” campaign anticipating their team could be at the very top of the draft board after this season. The only time I saw Darnold play last season was USC’s bowl game against Penn State and he was fantastic.

For the first time ever, I did a Google search and typed in “Wyoming football TV schedule”. No offense to Eddie Yarbrough, but I haven’t watched any Cowboys football over the years. There are some draft experts who say Allen should be the first quarterback taken because he has more experience in a pro style offense.

Rosen will generate the most debate among these three because he’s had some injury issues, and he’s considered a rather outspoken individual. The latter trait might scare off some teams but I don’t worry about it.

As I said, you will find a number of mock drafts where Darnold, Allen and Rosen are in a group by themselves, but there are a number of other candidates you can check out. In no particular order, here are some suggestions starting with seniors:

  • Mason Rudolph - Oklahoma State
  • Baker Mayfield - Oklahoma
  • Luke Falk - Washington State
  • Mike White - Western Kentucky (I’m pretty sure this will be the first time I watched a Hilltoppers football game)

Here are candidates from the class of juniors:

  • Lamar Jackson - Louisville (extremely entertaining, put up some eye popping numbers on an explosive offense last season)
  • Jake Browning - Washington

The great thing about college football these days is that it's almost impossible not to find a game on TV some place. Western Kentucky might be the exception. You can always drive to see Mike White play, but I’m not reimbursing your expenses. Whether it's on one of the over the air or cable networks, one of the conference TV networks or ESPN 3, my guess is you’ll be able to watch most of the games played by the quarterbacks I have listed. I already set the DVR for tonight for Mason Rudolph. Oklahoma State plays Tulsa at 7:30 p.m. on FOX Sports 1.

In fact, I’ve taken the liberty of planning out your entire weekend. On Friday night, you can watch Jake Browning (8:00 p.m. - FS1) and on Sunday night you can check out Josh Allen (7:30 p.m. - Fox). Don’t make any plans for Saturday, you’ll be very busy.

  • 12:00 p.m. - Josh Allen (Big Ten Network)
  • 3:30 p.m. - Baker Mayfield (Fox)
  • 5:15 p.m. - Sam Darnold (Pac 12 Network)
  • 7:30 p.m. - Lamar Jackson (Fox)
  • 10:30 p.m. - Luke Falk (FS1)

Just order in pizza, you’ll be fine. Enjoy your scouting assignments. I look forward to comparing notes with you over the next four months.

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