Three potential draft day trade partners
Nate Geary reporting
When you talk to Bills fans about who they’d like to see the Bills take with the 10th pick in this month’s draft, a consensus is about as difficult to come by as settling who’s serves the best chicken wing in Buffalo.
Some will make a compelling case for the Bills to take a flyer on one of the four quarterbacks being rumored to go in the first round. Others will argue finding a replacement for Stephon Gilmore being the top priority. Whoever’s left over will likely argue taking one of the top two receivers to pair with Sammy Watkins should be the play.
Poll those same people and all of them will agree that trading down to acquire more picks in a deeply talented draft with a roster with a ton of holes is really the way to go.
When you look at the draft board, there are a few teams that appear to be the most interested in moving up into the top-10. What the Bills have done over the past week or so, linking themselves with all of the top quarterback prospects, suggest they’re indeed interested in moving out of that 10th spot in an attempt to pick up additional picks.
By linking themselves to each of the top four or five quarterback prospects, the Bills are attempting to manipulate the draft strategies of teams who pick after them. If the top ten goes the way a lot of pundits are suggesting it’ll go and no quarterbacks go within the first nine picks, the Bills will have an interesting situation play out. Does a team value one of the four quarterbacks significantly more than the other three?
If one or two of those quarterbacks are snatched up within the first nine picks, to teams like the Cleveland Browns and New York Jets, that means two top defenders will have fallen. If that’s the case, teams like the New Orleans Saints or Tennessee Titans (teams with multiple first round picks) could feel compelled to move up.
Scenario’s aside, here are three teams that could be contacting Doug Whaley and company to swap first round picks.
1.) Houston Texans (25th pick)
I think Houston makes the most sense. They were one of the best defenses in all of football last season (without JJ Watt) and won their division with a headache at the quarterback position.
I do believe Houston tabbed Tony Romo as their primary target this offseason but with the recent news of his retirement and gig with CBS, they’ve had to shift their focus elsewhere.
They broke the bank last offseason on free agent Brock Osweiler and whiffed big time and decided to simply part ways with him after one tumultuous season, exiling him to the Cleveland Browns for a book of stamps. The two remaining quarterbacks of significance on the Texans roster are Tom Savage and Brandon Weeden. That leads me to believe they’ll be interested in adding one early in the draft.
If Bill O’Brien and the Texans front office have identified Watson (Clemson), Kizer (Notre Dame), Trubisky (North Carolina) or Mahomes (Texas Tech) as their ideal pick, it would make sense to move to ten and get their choice of the bunch. What use do the Texans have staying put at 25 if they think they won’t have an opportunity to pick their quarterback of choice?
What does the third-best corner or the second best offensive lineman do for a team a quarterback away? Their roster is built to win now, so adding one of the quarterbacks available this year isn’t ideal. But they don’t need their quarterback to be a world burner; they just need him to be better than Osweiler. That’s not really asking too much.
What it might take: (trade values from drafttek.com)
Bills get: 25th pick, 57th pick (2nd round), 130th pick (4th round), 2018 3rd round pick
Texans get: 10th pick
2.) Cleveland Browns (1st & 12th picks)
The latest rumors are that the Browns are torn between the consensus best overall player in the draft Myles Garrett and Mitchell Trubisky. I don’t buy it. With two of the first 12 picks in the first round and the top overall pick, the Browns would be foolish to pass up a talent like Garrett. I just don’t think there’s even an argument.
In my opinion, they’re doing the same thing the Bills are doing; generating added value to the first overall pick for a team desperate to trade up for a quarterback.
If the Browns were smart, they’d take the best player (Garrett) first overall and spend the 12th overall pick on a quarterback.
In a similar situation, the Texans were in, the Browns might have some internal fears the Bills might take their top-rated quarterback. With a number of picks at their disposal, the Browns could certainly afford to move up just two spots to ensure they get their quarterback of the future. For the Bills, they can pick up an additional pick and only have to move back two spots for their troubles.
What it might take:
Bills get: 12th pick, 108th pick (4th round), 175th pick (5th round)
Browns get: 10th pick
3.) Tennessee Titans (5th & 18th picks)
Another team with a pair of first round picks I think would be wise to consider moving up from their 18th selection. Even though I thought they were insane for going with Mike Mularkey at head coach, they’ve drafted well and have a nice looking roster playing in a weak division.
Oh yeah, they have a franchise quarterback.
A scenario a trade to 10 makes the most sense for the Titans is seeing Haason Reddick off the board early. That would leave Reuben Foster (the only other bona fide first round linebacker) vulnerable to be taken well before they pick again.
A lot like Rex Ryan trading up for Reggie Ragland last year, the Titans can trade up eight spots and add a cornerstone defensive player to pair with a terrific defensive line.
The Bills can move back and likely get the drafts top receiver or someone on the defensive line. This draft is at its’ deepest at the corner and safety position. Moving back to 18 certainly puts them out of the running for Lattimore (Ohio State), Hooker (Ohio State), and Adams (LSU) for sure. But I think they’d likely have a good chance to snag Gareon Conley (Ohio State) or Tre’Davious White (LSU) at 18 and get a terrific ball player.
Without a second round pick, Tennessee would have to sweeten the pot and get creative to make this move possible. But that’s for the teams to figure out and me to speculate about.
What it might take:
Bills get: 18th pick, 83rd pick (3rd round), 100th pick (3rd round)
Tennessee gets: 10th pick
Having always been fascinated with the war room during draft night, I’d love to be a fly on the wall this year. The 10th pick, for a lot of reasons is a sexy pick. The Bills can certainly decide staying put and drafting the best available player is the right move and I won’t blame them in the least.
There’s no doubt in my mind Doug Whaley’s phone will ring more than once come draft night. The only question is whether Whaley gets a call sweet enough for him to pull the trigger.