“But to his credit…..Beane manned up to all three of those errors”
By Chuck Pollock, Senior Sports Columnist, photo from the Buffalo Bills
The minute, in his first year as Bills general manager, that Brandon Beane had the courage to make the controversial decision to trade up to the No. 7 overall and take quarterback Josh Allen in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, his reputation was made in Buffalo.
Acquiring a franchise QB for the first time since the Bills squeezed two mostly productive years out of an aging, beaten up Drew Bledsoe, marked a pivotal point in franchise history.
But, other than Allen, some of Beane’s draft choices, especially in the early rounds, have been uninspired … or worse.
Three of them stand out: guard Wyatt Teller, fifth round 2018; tackle Cody Ford, second round 2019; defensive end Boogie Basham, second round 2021.
Teller was a great pick, Buffalo just quit on him too soon. Beane traded him to Cleveland for a fifth- and sixth-round draft choice that the Bills turned into quarterback Jake Fromm and place-kicker Tyler Bass. Fromm is now on the Washington practice squad while Bass has become one of the NFL’s most reliable kickers. The problem is, Teller has blossomed into one of the league’s top guards, a galling reality for his former team which is struggling on the offensive line.
Ford just never fit in as a tackle for Buffalo and Beane shipped him to Arizona for a fifth-round draft choice. He’s now a reserve guard for Cincinnati. Buffalo used that 2021 draft pick to take currently-injured tackle Tommy Doyle.
Then, on Tuesday, the Bills’ seventh-year GM traded Basham and Buffalo’s seventh-rounder in 2025 to the Giants for a sixth-round choice also in ‘25. Getting so little value was a tacit admission of a blown high draft pick.
But, to his credit, in a Wednesday press conference, Beane manned up to all three of those errors.
OF THE TELLER trade, he admitted, “You have to make sure you give them enough time. You weigh that heavily. I didn’t do a good job with Wyatt Teller. We moved too quick on that.”
Referencing Ford, Beane explained, “He had injury problems and he kind of fell back (out of the starting role). Cody’s best year for us was probably his rookie year. At right tackle, he really did some good things for us. But the injuries, I think, took a bit of a toll and kind of set him back and you’re just trying to have that competition.
“In Cody’s case, once you’re starting, sometimes it’s hard to come off that. I just think he felt he could help our team or another team. In his heart-of-hearts, I don’t think he was really fired up about not being a starter and we just felt (trading him) was the best move at the time.”
But most of Beane’s observations were on trading Basham a day earlier.
“We try to make the roster as competitive as we can,” he said. “That’s one of the discussions that was very tough, especially a guy that’s still young (25) with two years left on his deal. But we tried to go with where we thought the best group was, and obviously Joe (Schoen, Giants general manager) knows him (from his time as Bills assistant GM).
“You never want that to not work when you draft a guy as high as we did Boogie, but that’s the nature of the business. Sometimes it doesn’t mesh at the right time. Boogie is a great person and just like with some other players, we wish them the best. He can still play and hopefully this next stop will be a good one for him.”
He added, “Boogie could go and have a great career and I’m seriously happy for Wyatt. I hate it didn’t work for him here. And, again, that’s on me.
“Any one of those that doesn’t work out, I’m going to beat myself up more than anybody else. I hate they don’t work, nothing’s perfect and hopefully (I) keep that to a minimum.”
But Beane added, “Sometimes I’ve been around a player where it didn’t work out somewhere else, they came to you, and they thrived. (Defensive tackle) Jordan Phillips was a second-round pick in Miami, we got him here, and I think he’s played his best football.
“In Boogie’s case, it was just a competitive group, and he could have very easily made this roster. It wasn’t a clear decision, but sometimes you have to make them. You’re making a call, and you’re doing the best with the data you have.”
(Chuck Pollock, a Wellsville Sun senior sports columnist, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
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