The Buffalo Bills are bringing in a former college standout for a quarterback tryout at the recently opened minicamp.
The Bills announced a number of players coming to the rookie minicamp on a tryout basis, including former University of Central Arkansas quarterback Breylin Smith. As the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette noted, the undrafted rookie just ended a college career where he finished second in school history in career passing yards (9,536), passing touchdowns (84) and completions (790).
While he is the only quarterback competing at this year’s rookie minicamp, Smith will likely have an uphill battle at actually making the Bills roster.
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Smith Earns Tryout
After going undrafted in the recently completed NFL Draft, Smith has earned the chance to make an impression for NFL coaches. The New York Jets brought him in for a minicamp invite as well, and now he will get the chance to run drills for the Bills at their own minicamp.
Smith had some impressive performances at UCA last season, being named the ASUN Offensive Player of the Week three times. The junior quarterback was particularly strong in a 63-3 win over Texas Wesleyan, completing 13 of 17 passes for 410 yards and five touchdowns — all in the first half. Smith tied a career-high with five touchdowns, all of them 25 yards or longer. Smith’s touchdown passes went 30, 93, 54, 80 and 25 yards to a combined four different players.
There was likely a more practical reason the Bills brought in Smith for their minicamp — a lack of quarterbacks to run drills. As WGR 550‘s Sal Capaccio noted, the Bills did not bring in any young quarterbacks through the draft or as undrafted free agents, meaning they needed to bring in at least one on a tryout basis to fill out the position at minicamp.
Bills Quarterback Room Growing Crowded
While the Bills have had a tendency to keep four quarterbacks over the last two seasons — including Jake Fromm, who served as a quarantine quarterback in 2020, staying away from teammates in case of a COVID-19 outbreak — it could be difficult for Smith to earn a spot. The Bills traded for veteran Case Keenum and brought back Josh Allen’s former backup and locker room favorite Matt Barkley.
At the time the team traded for Keenum, Bills general manager Brandon Beane said he would still be on the lookout for more additions.
“I’m not comfortable at a lot of positions,” Beane said, via Pro Football Talk’s Michael David Smith. “I’m truly not. I’m comfortable at quarterback, but I’m not comfortable at a lot of spots. We’re honestly still looking. . . . We’ve got a cap, we’ve got to work within that, so it’s fill as many spots as you can while fitting within the context of the cap, and then adding more pieces whether they’re starters or depth players next week at the draft.”
Since the Bills come into the season with Super Bowl aspirations, they will likely prioritize keeping the more experienced signal callers on the active roster, but Smith could have an opening to earn a spot on the practice squad. The Bills have stashed other young quarterbacks on the practice squad over the last two seasons — Fromm and Davis Webb — but both have now moved on to different teams.