Roth: Beane's reputation riding on hope he picked the right Josh for his quarterback
- Allen played in cold, snowy Wyoming and won't have trouble adjusting to Buffalo.
- Bills moved up 5 spots to take Allen No. 7 overall.
- Said he's "taking ownership'' of controversial tweets.
ORCHARD PARK – Move over, Bill Polian, there’s a new wheeler-dealer in town. And his name is Brandon Beane.
The Buffalo Bills' young general manager, in charge of his first NFL Draft, proved he was good at taking a roster apart last season, shipping out veterans and stockpiling draft picks.
Thursday, he proved he’s also good at putting a roster back together, using all that draft collateral to turn picks 12 and 22 into 7 and 16, allowing Buffalo to take quarterback Josh Allen and outside linebacker Tremaine Edmunds, two players who put Beane's stamp on the franchise like a Boy Scout carving his initials into a tree.
If you lost count watching on television, that was two blockbuster trades involving five of Buffalo’s six picks in the Top 100.
“We’ve got a lot of picks left, some at least, I didn’t trade them all,’’ Beane said.
It wasn’t that this draft was loaded with blue-chip prospects at quarterback. We’ve witnessed that plenty of times.
Bills were patient, not desperate
What made Round One from Jerry World in Dallas so intriguing was its unpredictability. The fact that the first five picks could have all been quarterbacks and set a completely different tone for Buffalo.
The question as the 8 p.m. kickoff approached was just how desperate was Beane to grab one of the Big Six QBs and set the Bills — for better or worse — on a new, bold course after parting ways with Tyrod Taylor?
And the answer was: Not desperate, just patient and shrewd.
In what was the latest feather in his cap, Beane didn’t mortgage the Bills’ future in order to select Allen, the Wyoming flamethrower who comes with baggage (more on that later) with the No. 7 overall pick, swinging a very sensible trade with Tampa Bay.
There was no giving up his extra first-round pick, No. 22 overall. No parting ways with next year’s No. 1.
All of that would have been on the table had Beane panicked and bartered his way into the Top 5. He said teams were “being aggressive’’ in what they wanted from the Bills.
And after the New York Giants went to a running back at No. 2, the Browns to a corner at No. 4 and Denver to a defensive end at No. 5, the price to trade up became reasonable and Beane pounced.
By giving up the 12th overall pick and Nos. 53 and 56 in the second round, along with picking up Tampa’s Bay’s seventh-rounder (No. 255), the Bills lifted themselves five spots while still leaving themselves eight picks total, from nine at the start of the day.
Two were picks 22 and 65 that Beane shipped to Baltimore to move up to No. 16, where he tabbed the dynamic Edmunds, who will fill a giant need on Sean McDermott’s defense and start as a rookie.
“I give them a lot of credit for being patient, not going to No. 2 and giving away all that draft capital,’’ NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said. “They got their guy.’’
We’ll never know if Mayfield or Darnold was in fact Buffalo’s "guy.'' Truth serum and a hot lamp won’t break Beane.
We do know it wasn’t the other Josh, UCLA’s Rosen, who went No. 10 to Arizona after a trade with Oakland, a move that kept Rosen from going to Bills’ rival Miami.
What matters is that quarterback-starved Buffalo got one of the half-dozen potential franchise QBs available, while preserving the ability to address many other needs.
Josh Allen's Twitter issue
Unfortunately for the Bills, Allen isn’t without controversy. He’s a player who needs to improve not only his accuracy but also his reputation.
Social media posts that contained racial slurs and homophobic language, made by Allen when he was in high school, surfaced Thursday, sending him into apology mode and the Bills into scramble mode.
To Allen’s credit, he was accountable for the tweets made as a young teen. People do learn. They can change. It’s up to Allen to keep showing it.
“I'm not the same person I was six years ago,’’ a contrite and engaging Allen told western New York media during a late-night conference call. “My family knows, my teammates know, I know that’s the not the person I am. Those tweets don’t reflect the person I am. It’s hard to be under scrutiny for something that happened so long ago, but I’ll take it on the chin. I’ll learn from it and hopefully people can use me as an example.’’
The Bills did their “due diligence’’ on Allen, Beane said. They spoke to his college head coach. They spoke to former teammates. They spoke to Bills players, asking how they felt taking on a player under these circumstances.
“We spoke to many people again,’’ Beane said. “I’m not making excuses for him, but this was a 14-, a 15-year old kid. He’s owned it. He’s done all he can do and he will have to do more when he gets here … to earn the trust and respect of his team.’’
Off the field and on it.
Will Allen be be a franchise player?
It’s very possible Allen’s size (6-5, 237), 10-inch hands and the fact he played in bad weather made him catnip to Bills’ scouts looking for the anti-Taylor. Rosen was the more NFL-ready player, who faced much better college competition. But Allen’s upside is what Buffalo is gambling on.
With only 12 percent of drafted quarterbacks since 2000 becoming “franchise’’ players, it’s OK to debate picks but not worth losing sleep over.
The Bills have used 17 starting quarterbacks since Jim Kelly, their Pro Football Hall of Famer who was part of the famed 1983 QB Class, and only two were first-round draft picks — J.P. Losman (2004) and EJ Manuel (2013).
The football gods owe Buffalo. We’re not Joshin’.
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