Bill Polian: Drafting another QB in first round not absurd, but Bills shouldn't
On the subject of drafting another quarterback in the first round, many Buffalo Bills fans stress teams simply don't do that two years in a row.
"Sure, you could," replied Bill Polian, the former Buffalo Bills general manager and Indianapolis Colts president.
The Bills likely will be slotted in the top 10 for May's draft. A significant reason is rookie quarterback EJ Manuel's knee operations and uneven performances.
A prominent storyline for the next few months will be whether the Bills should double down on football's most important position.
"It's absolutely viable," Polian told me by phone Thursday night. "We felt in Indianapolis we could have kept Peyton Manning and drafted Andrew Luck. There would have been no impediment to that under the salary cap."
First-round quarterbacks used strap teams into financial straightjackets. But the collective bargaining agreement signed in 2011 included a revised rookie wage scale that prevents an overcommitment to first-round draft picks who've yet to play an NFL snap.
"That's what the new rookie wage scale does for you," Polian said. "It's a football pick, not a money pick."
All that said, Polian's stance on Buffalo's quarterback situation is that it's "in pretty good shape." The Bills Wall of Famer even likes Thad Lewis as the backup.
"I'm not sure there's a quarterback in this group that I would say is as good a prospect as EJ Manuel," Polian said. "I'm not sure that I could stand on the table for somebody in the first round out of this group aside from Teddy Bridgewater, and he's probably gone before the Bills pick. Beyond that ...
"They have other needs they're going to have to deal with, but at some point and time you have to commit to somebody."
A search of Pro-Football-Reference.com shows there haven't been many cases of team's taking quarterbacks in consecutive first rounds. But it has happened six times.
The Baltimore Colts did it twice: Cotton Davidson in 1954 and George Shaw in 1955; Art Schlichter in 1982 and John Elway in 1983 (the NFL's last back-to-back duo).
The Los Angeles Rams did it with a flourish three years in a row: Roman Gabriel second overall in 1962, Terry Baker first overall in 1963 and eventual Bills quarterback Bill Munson seventh overall in 1964.
Washington had a trifecta around the same time with Dan Allard in 1959, future Buffalo quarterback Richie Lucas in 1960 and Norm Snead in 1961.
The other two pairs included notable names.
The Detroit Lions drafted Y.A. Tittle in 1948 and future Bills coach John Rauch in 1949. The San Francisco 49ers drafted Earl Morrall in 1956 and John Brodie in 1957.