The Buffalo Bills should trade down in the draft

Originally posted by Cory Buck at The Penalty Flag Blog.

Me? I’m a big picture guy. I’m more concerned with the approach of the Bills. What do they want to get out of the 2013 draft? Certainly a quarterback, more help on the defense, sure, and another offensive playmaker would be great. The problem is there aren’t any bona fide, no-doubter QB prospects in this draft and, sitting at 8th in the draft, the Bills aren’t in position to take a top guy at his position without some risk. That’s why the team would be best served by accumulating picks both in this draft and in next year’s draft so that they can address more needs and speed up yet another rebuild at One Bills Drive.

The Bills have only six picks in this year’s draft and they’re about a dozen players away from even being worth discussing on a national level. In the broad view of things, that is what I would look to do from a managerial perspective. It is with that in mind that I came up with several trade scenarios. I came up with these proposals based on a couple ideas:

Ryan Nassib: QB, Syracuse (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Ryan Nassib: QB, Syracuse (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

1) If the Bills feel that they can only get ‘their’ QB at 8, then they should draft him. No trading down, no funny business. Take him. But this doesn’t seem like a great year to take a QB in the top ten, and there’s a good chance Nix and company aren’t thrilled by anyone. Any interest they show could all just be an attempt to drive up the price of their pick. That said, for the most part, it seems that the same QBs who can be had at 8 can be had at 20. The only team that picks between Buffalo at 8 and Chicago at 20 that could use a QB is the Jets at 9, and now 13 thanks to the Revis trade. If the Jets want to leap frog the Bills, they can do that given their picks. What does this all mean? The Bills need to plan on the Jets swooping in on a QB. But that’s only one other guy. Depending on the field still available, it could be a while before another team wants to take a guy.

2) The team trading with Buffalo will likely covet either a WR (Patterson) or an offensive lineman (of which there are several big prospects). This opens up the field as there are a number of decent to good teams looking for help up front, including teams that want to win now who feel that they’re only one or two missing pieces away from serious Super Bowl contention.

That said, let’s look at a few ideas:

Buffalo sends 8th overall pick to St. Louis for the 16th overall pick, the Redskins’ 1st round pick for 2014 and a later round pick.

I’ve said for a long time the Bills should look to get another first round pick in next year’s draft, when a number of intriguing QB prospects could be NFL-bound. If the Bills are as bad in 2013 as most expect and they have two 1st round picks, the Bills would practically have their pick of the litter among the QBs next year and build a team in anticipation for him this year. St. Louis has two first round picks this year and next, and perhaps the idea of landing one of the top lineman in this year’s draft will be too tempting to sit around and wait for someone else to trade past them. If Sam Bradford is ever going to not suck, the Rams will need to keep him upright, and soon.

Buffalo sends 8th overall pick to San Diego for the 11th pick, the 45th pick and a 5th or 6th rounder.

Seems easy enough. Again, the Jets Factor looms large here. If the Bills like a QB, there’s no reason they couldn’t get him at 11 instead of 8, unless the Jets want their guy. And really, are any of these QBs worth worrying over to that extent? Each has his flaws and concerns to go with. The Bills could be doing themselves a favor by accumulating talent and letting the middling prospects wash to the wayside. If they get burned on one guy with question marks, so what? Draft the best guy you can and pick a QB in the second round with one of your two picks. Or move back up if that’s important. Accumulating ammo for a move though has to be the first step, and it would be a fairly simple move with a team desperate for OL help.

Buffalo sends 8th overall pick to Chicago for the 20th pick, the 50th pick, and a 1st rounder next year.

This might be further than Bills fans want them to drop, but if the compensation is right, it would be a big move. The Bills could get another 1st round pick for next year and bulk up in the middle of the draft this year. Let’s even take this a step farther. Say the Bills want to get a pair of linebackers because they’re so thin at the position. Now you can trade that 41st pick, get another 2nd and maybe a 3rd and the team will have gained three extra prospects to add to a defense that desperately needs cheap talent.

Manti Te'o: LB, Notre Dame (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Manti Te’o: LB, Notre Dame (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

Other candidates for a similar package:

Dallas Cowboys: Because it’s Dallas and Jerry Jones will be elbow deep in Jim Beam by the time the draft is seven picks in. He’ll probably decide he has to have some cornerback like Xavier Rhodes so the Cowboys make a move because they’re the Cowboys. That’s really my only line of reasoning here.

Minnesota Vikings: They have two 1st round picks so maybe trading one and a couple low picks to get in the top ten would be worth it to them. That’s another offensive line that could use a little more push to keep its QB on his feet. This would be a longer shot because it puts Buffalo in the twenties where they are less likely to get an immediate impact player. This goes back to scouting though. If this has been your plan from the start, you can make moves like this and get better.

The Buffalo Bills have struggled with the concept of forming an identity and most of that stems from inconsistent drafting. They never seem to have a plan beyond ‘Draft the best guy available’. That’s admirable in theory, but the Bills are more complicated of a mess than simply adding the best guy you can at a few points in the draft. They need a quarterback more than anything else, but that’s only one pick to make. The rest need to count because this team has a woeful lack of depth on both sides of the ball.

The Bills need to be proactive and consistent in their efforts to rebuild this team. They need to realize that as long as they get a quarterback they like in this draft, everything else is gravy. They only need one draft pick to do that and the rest should be seen as currency to build depth. Thus they need to find teams that already have a certain level of depth (like most of those above) and appeal to them to give up assets for a quality pick in the top ten. This is how teams turn it around in the NFL without requiring some magical three year window management always claims it will take.

We rarely see the Bills do anything but sit where they are and take what they can get. I want to see more fire out of the front office. Don’t just sit back and hope you get the team you want. Get out there and make it. If it takes twenty trades up and down to do it, so be it. Fewer trades? Fine. This team needs to do what it takes to win and build a team sooner rather than later. If they don’t, they’ll be sitting here in four years drafting with the same idea of rebuilding in mind. No thanks.

Thanks to The Penalty Flag Blog for sharing this with us. Check them out on Twitter at @ThePenaltyFlag.