1. Where would Josh Allen's basketball skills rank among NFL QBs?
Josh Allen was a football, baseball and basketball star at Firebaugh high school in his hometown back in California. Allen like many other quarterbacks played multiple sports, but ultimately decided on football to be the one they fully pursue. But what if NFL quarterbacks decided to trade in their cleats for high tops and the turf for hardwood? And what if they all decided to compete in a 1-on-1 basketball tournament just like March Madness? Well, Sports Illustrated put together the list of who would be starting as the No. 1 seed like Duke and Gonzaga in this year’s tournament, and who would be well on their way towards the NIT.
Josh Allen didn’t make the cut as a No.1 seed. Those marks went to Nick Foles, Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson and Sam Darnold. But Allen was labeled a legit contender. Allen was a 6-1 guard in high school.
Allen starred at tiny Firebaugh (Calif.) High, and his coach said he could have played both baseball and basketball at the next level. He has the size and showed in his rookie season that he’s got speed. But it’s his 33.5-inch vertical at the combine that’s really intriguing.
Allen is listed in the same category as Cam Newton, Ben Roethlisberger, Carson Wentz, Matt Ryan, Joe Flacco and Andrew Luck. Allen is the new kid on the block, just like another Buffalo team looking to make a splash in the tournament this year and would probably shock some of the “blue-bloods” of the QB world like Roethlisberger and Ryan with his talent. The NCAA tournament tends to lean towards teams with veteran talent, but it isn’t always surprising to see a well-coached group of young players make their impact.
Still, even though the list is just for fun it’s important to remember that no other quarterback in the NFL has a hashtag of him showing off his hops.
2. Bills one of most improved offensive lines
Coming into the offseason it was obvious the Bills were going to address their needs on the offensive line. Through the first week of free agency Buffalo has already added four new players to bolster the group. Five if you count early free agent signee Spencer Long after he was a cap casualty of the New York Jets. The handful of moves has completely changed the appearance of the starting five that was seen on opening day this past season. Pro Football Focus has already labeled the Bills as one of the most improved despite them all not even taking a snap together.
The Bills completely revamped their offensive line with the addition of C Mitch Morse, T Ty Nsekhe, G Spencer Long, and G Jon Feliciano. While Long and Feliciano are more depth signings, Nsekhe and Morse can be game changers. Morse is one of the best pass-protecting centers in the NFL and earned an 81.2 pass-blocking grade last season, while Nsekhe has excelled as a backup in Washington and was one of our favorite value signings this offseason.
PFF currently projects the Bills starting offensive line to be Dion Dawkins at LT, Wyatt Teller at LG, Mitch Morse at C, Spencer Long at RG and Ty Nsekhe at RT.
3. Could the Bills go defense with the ninth pick?
Conor Orr released his first mock draft of the season for Sports Illustrated’s MMQB. This is the first mock draft released since the initial wave of free agency as they try to find the players who best fit each of the teams’ holes and trying to match them with the characteristics that their coaches prefer. On top there were no surprises with Kyler Murray to Arizona and Nick Bosa to San Francisco but they do have the Bills going in a direction most don’t with defensive tackle Ed Oliver from Houston.
Oliver will be a top-30 visit in Buffalo, and gives Sean McDermott a lot of moving parts up front. His 84 pressures over three seasons (a number that got better each year) is pretty significant. He averaged almost two tackles for loss and four pressures per game during his final year in Houston. I suppose receiver works here too, though D.K. Metcalf would work best with a seasoned quarterback in my opinion.
Orr has Metcalf going 16th to Carolina, but others like ESPN’s Todd McShay have the Ole Miss receiver going to Buffalo at No. 9.
Oliver impressed at the combine with a good mix of athleticism and strength. He was third among defensive linemen with 32 bench reps, third with a 36-inch vertical and tied with Michigan’s Rashan Gary for the number one broad jump at 10 feet.
Oliver only played in eight games for Houston this season, due to injury, but managed 54 tackles, 14.5 tackles for a loss and three sacks.