Bills Looking at ‘Smooth’ College Prospect as Potential Josh Allen Backup

Zach Smith

Getty Zach Smith prepares to take a snap in a game against Cincinnati.

The Buffalo Bills are looking at adding depth to one of the strongest positions.

The team this week announced a rookie minicamp tryout for an undrafted free agent quarterback prospect who could eventually serve as backup to Josh Allen. Though the Bills appear to be set with Allen as starter and newcomer Mitch Trubisky behind him, some insiders believe that the team will need to start building toward the future and developing a long-term backup to Allen.

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Bills Trying out ‘Smooth’ Tulsa Quarterback

According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, the Bills were giving Tulsa quarterback Zach Smith a rookie minicamp tryout, though it’s not clear how much chance he could have of making the roster. As Nick Wojton of USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, the Bills have a crowded quarterback room, with last year’s fifth-round pick Jake Fromm and Davis Webb on the roster behind Trubisky.

Smith is seen as a prospect. As Wojton noted, he completed 56 percent of his passes last season, racking up 1,947 yards with 13 touchdowns and 10 interceptions. But some insiders see potential in the Tulsa quarterback, who stands at 6-foot-3 and has some impressive abilities. As noted in a pre-draft rundown, Smith looked strong while helping Tulsa reach the top 25 last season.

“Smith has smooth mechanics and very sound footwork. Mechanically he looks well beyond his years. Smith has nice command of the pocket and moves efficiently, though not fast, behind the line of scrimmage. He possesses adequate size for the position and has worked in a pro-style offense. Smith demonstrates nice touch on deep balls and enough strength to get the ball where it needs to go.”

But there are concerns as well, including his ability to go through progressions and a slow delivery. Overall, Smith is seen as a prospect who would take some work to turn into an NFL-capable quarterback.

Bills May Be Active in Quarterback Market

Though the Bills appear set at the top of the depth chart, some insiders believe that they could be active in looking for a long-term backup to Allen. When the Bills signed Trubisky, general manager Brandon Beane made it clear that it would not be a permanent solution, saying he believed Trubisky could stay for one season and prove himself before looking for a starting gig again.

As Nick Fierro of Sports Illustrated’s Bills Central noted, the team did not appear to be fully sold on Fromm, who spent last season away from his teammates as a quarantine quarterback and had no live snaps. Fierro noted that the Bills could be willing to be patient in developing the backup to Allen, which could give an advantage to a project like Smith.

“The addition of Trubisky does not necessarily mean the Bills are giving up on Fromm as a future No. 2,” he wrote. “Rather, because they’re in win-now mode, they can afford to be patient with a young player on a cost-controlled contract while making themselves more prepared to handle any kind of injury Allen may sustain this coming season.”

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