9. Josh Rosen/Quarterback/UCLA
Trade details – Bills trade No. 12, No. 56, No. 187, and a 2019 fourth-round pick to 49ers for No. 9, No. 70, and No. 240
If you know me, you know my infatuation with Josh Rosen. I love him, I love his game, and I love his personality. It is rumored that he will be the quarterback that falls, and that works out perfectly for the Bills. They won’t have to mortgage everything to move up but instead can keep almost all of their draft capital and jump just three spots to grab their franchise signal caller.
The trade doesn’t cost Buffalo a ton. They trade the second of their two second-round picks, but they get back a third-round pick in the same area. It allows them to still get an immediate impact player, and especially a player that may be sliding.
What I see in Rosen is a quarterback that the Bills haven’t had anywhere close to in two decades. He is the complete package in terms of accuracy, pocket mobility, arm strength, good decision making, throwing receivers open, touch, allowing for yards after catch and everything I want in a quarterback.
Baker Mayfield and Sam Darnold are the two other quarterbacks in this class that I think can do these things, and each of the three have things they are better at than others, but the Bills can wait and take Rosen.
I would expect Rosen to step in day one and never give the starting role back. However, plenty has been said about the “issues” that Rosen possesses. His character, injury issues and love of the game are just a few of them.
Two of those issues can be addressed with one explanation. Rosen played behind a bad offensive line at UCLA. He was constantly hit and wound up on the ground. His injuries can result from that and while two concussions and a shoulder surgery can be alarming, his shoulder injury appears to be just fine after playing all of last year with it. As for the concussions, protect him and he will be fine.
If Rosen didn’t love football, then why would he continue to play and get beat up on a weekly basis instead of just not playing? His family has money and he goes to a very good school, so he could easily quit and make money elsewhere. Well that’s simple – because he loves football.
As for his “character issues,” Rosen speaks his mind and is extremely articulate. He is active in the community and a thoughtful person. Just because he has original thoughts and wants to do more than just football, it doesn’t mean he has issues with his character.
I love Rosen and if the team has the opportunity to draft him, they absolutely have to.
22. Leighton Vander Esch/Linebacker/Boise State
I battled between going receiver here to improve the position and give Rosen a weapon to develop with, but the Bills are desperate at linebacker. Vander Esch provides an immediate, day one, impact player. Looking at Vander Esch, he reminds you of one player: Luke Kuechly.
Like Kuechly, Vander Esch is a big boy. At 6-foot-4 and 256 pounds, he is hard to miss and block. Wherever the football is, Vander Esch is either already there or not far behind. His instincts set him apart from other players in the class with his size separating him even further. He is an elite run-stuffing linebacker but also has solid coverage and pass abilities.
That is the type of player that McDermott needs for his defense to takeoff, and he can be one of the key players on a young defense. With help up front in the signings of Trent Murphy and Star Lotulelei, it will greatly help Vander Esch transition to the NFL and allow him to progress naturally into the league instead of being forced to make every tackle on the field.
If Vander Esch is on the board at No. 22, the Bills should sprint to the podium to draft him. Like what Rosen can do for the offense, Leighton can do for the defense. Adding him to the additions along the defensive line, Tre White, the budding safety tandem of Micah Hyde and Jordan Poyer, and Matt Milano, the team has a young, talented and scary defense.