Picking at 30 is an incredibly strange feeling for me as a Bills fan who grew up in the drought. The Bills have had years without first-round picks such as 2015 following the trade up for Sammy Watkins or last year after receiving Stefon Diggs. Waiting was easier in those drafts. Sammy Watkins showed plenty of promise as a rookie, and Stefon Diggs was better than any pass catcher the Bills could have got with their first-round pick in 2020, even as Justin Jefferson had a historic rookie season.
Picking this low isn’t even new for this regime. In 2017, The Bills picked 27th, but only after trading down to down out of their 9th overall pick for an extra first the next year.
So why do I have an overwhelming sense of anxiety knowing I will have to wait 29 picks to see the Bills appear “on the clock”? Honestly, I don’t know. Could it be that I am more invested in draft coverage than I ever have been? Maybe. But I think it is the simple helplessness I will feel as I watch players I have developed attachments to over the first last couple of months go to teams I despise.
What can Buffalo do to control their picks? Simply, what teams do every year to grab “their guy” or stock on picks for more bites at the apple: trade. This offseason has seen the trade up or trade down debate get beat to death. But what could some realistic trades look like in round one?
Teams to trade up with
19. Washington Football Team
Trade: Washington gets 30+93+2022 2nd. Buffalo gets 19.
Why this makes sense: Washington is the definition of a “quarterback away.” With semi-competent QB play in the Wild Card round of this year’s playoffs, Washington team pushed the eventual Super Bowl Champions. In a world where they do not trade up and Mac Jones is not on the board at 19, trading down is the right move. There are more than a couple holes that this team needs to fill, but even with that, they could find themselves right back in the playoff with the division they play in. The year to trade up for a QB could be 2022 and an extra second round pick next year makes that much easier.
21. Indianapolis Colts
Trade: 30+93+2022 3rd round pick
Why this makes sense: The Colts need a tackle badly. Luckily, this is a stacked drafted class at the position. If Tevin Jenkins is off the board by 21, Chris Ballard could be looking to recoup some draft capital lost in the Carson Wentz trade. The Colts could find better value and still get a day one starter at 30.
25. Jacksonville Jaguars.
Trade: Jacksonville gets 30+ 2022 3rd. Buffalo gets 25.
Why this makes sense: Jacksonville is in full rebuild mode. No matter how good Trevor Lawrence and Urban Meyer are, they are likely 2-3 years out from any sort of playoff contention. So, why not keep pocketing draft picks and fill your roster with homegrown talent, or use your stockpiled picks to trade for a top talent down the road?
Teams to Trade Down With
33. Jacksonville Jaguars
Trade: Buffalo gets 33+130. Jacksonville gets 30.
Why this makes sense: But Ryan, didn’t you just say Jacksonville could move down to acquire picks? Yes, I did. But Jacksonville has a ton of draft capital in this year’s draft, and maybe those picks are burning a hole in their pocket. Three first rounds picks are a great way to energize a fan base, and moving up would not cost a lot.
35. Atlanta Falcons
Trade: Buffalo gets 35+108. Atlanta gets 30.
Why this makes sense: If Atlanta skips QB at four, they could still draft a QB early in this draft. Opinions vary on who QB6 is and where they should be drafted. But second-tier QBs going late in the first round are far from unheard of (See Paxton Lynch.) 5th year options are valuable, and if Atlanta sees Davis Mills, Kyle Trask, or Kellen Monds as a potential Matt Ryan successor, then trading up to get them makes sense.
40. Denver Broncos
Trade: Buffalo gets 40+114+152+2022 6th. Denver gets 30.
Why this makes sense: Is new General Manager George Paton looking to make a splash in his first draft? Denver has a roster ready to win now (outside of QB maybe?). The Broncos locked up their left tackle of the future in Garett Bolles. If Ja’Wuan James is not in the long-term plan for Paton, do they go get a cheap bookend on the other side, with a 5th-year option? Or Maybe they want a running back in the backfield with Melvin Gordan.
44. Dallas Cowboys
Trade: Buffalo gets 44+75+99. Dallas gets 93.
Why this makes sense: Jerry Jones is not a patient man and he does not like to leave the draft without making a splash. Moving up 14 spots to get an extra first is one way to do it. Cowboys have a hole at linebacker. If Zaven Collins makes it to 30, he almost certainly won’t make it to 44. Collins is a plug a play starter who new Dan Quinn would salivate over.
What do you think? What trade would you make in round one?