by Paul "Closer" Wanecski
As chronicled on in both previous blogs and on the Hashtag Sports show, there is a huge difference between players picked 1-10 or 11-32 in the NFL draft from a salary perspective. The Buffalo Bills have been in the news weekly about what they intend to do, be that trade up, trade back, or stand with the 9th overall pick. All bring different consequences.
When you are already in the Top 10 selections, the team you are trading with sees no benefit in contract in the 5th year option and the per year salary difference between a player selected 2nd overall and 8th overall is nominal. Teams holding those selections at 1 or 2 will be looking for significant return, either in that year or future years. The Buffalo Bills have a history of trading up previously, having done so to select Tulane QB JP Losman, however that deal included the Bills forwarding off the next year’s 1st Round selection in the trade. The true question is, are the Buffalo Bills one player away from the playoffs? If you say yes, is that player a defensive or offensive player? If you think the Bills should trade up, you need to have answered “yes” to the first question. Unfortunately, while nice to think, the likelihood of the Bills moving up to the first or second pick is slim. Perhaps they would look for selection #3 if OLB/DE Khalil Mack is still on the board, however, he would best fit a 3-4 DE, which is not the scheme the Bills intend to run this season.
This has been covered quite a bit here at Hashtagsports.net. While the Bills last year moved out of the Top 10 selections to acquire current QB EJ Manual, this year poses a different dynamic. The entire draft hinges on selections 3, 4, 7 and 8. If a run on Quarterback is to happen, that is when. Teams who were intending to let that position slide until the 2nd round will now be forced to jump in before it is too late. Detroit holds selection 10 and they will not be taking a Quarterback, the same goes for the Buffalo Bills. If Tampa Bay or Minnesota trade out or select a quarterback in the 1st round, some teams may view the Bills 9th selection as the pick to have, with Tennessee sitting at selection 11, desperate for a quarterback themselves. The Bills would benefit significantly to trade back, but only if the string of offensive tackles (Robinson, Matthews, Lewan) are off the board, unless, of course, the Bills intend on selecting WR Mike Evans, who may not slip past Detroit at selection 10 (although they will most likely be selecting a LB with the move to a Baltimore Raven-style base defense which will require 5-6 LBs)
The most likely scenario is that the Bills will not do anything at all. With 3 strong Tackles on the board, and, the possibility that teams could go Quarterback-crazy, trading into the top 10 selections (which would ultimately push other positional talent down the board), the Bills would be best served to take OT Taylor Lewan or OT Jake Matthews if they are available. While the Bills have several needs, the best way to secure your Franchise Quarterback’s future is to give him an offensive line to grow old with.
While the Bills have several options, none of this will become clear until moments before each pick in this year’s NFL draft. You never know what will happen. That is why the NFL draft is some of the most exciting television for the true football fanatic.