The Buffalo Bills approach the 2017 NFL Draft with only six picks. With so many holes to fill, should they trade down to garner more capital?
To say that the Buffalo Bills had a rocky ending to the 2016 NFL season is an understatement. After losing four of their last five games to end the season, many believe they need a big offseason. Nonetheless, the Bills have been rather quiet so far in the new league year. The Bills are going to enter the 2017 NFL draft with many areas of concern.
After bringing back quarterback Tyrod Taylor on a restructured deal, the Bills will need to surround him with weapons. Running back LeSean Mccoy is one of the best in the league when healthy. However, the Bills need a better supporting cast. Wide receiver Sammy Watkins has struggled with injuries in his short time in the NFL, and without him the Bills severely lack a receiver who can stretch the field.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Bills have a much depleted secondary. The signing of Micah Hyde and returning cornerback Ronald Darby will help hold down safety and corner, respectively. But beyond these two, the cupboard is bare. Leonard Johnson has the chance to be a solid player, but he is still an unproven player.
One strength of the Bills is their front seven. Marcel Dareus, who signed a massive contract back in 2015, is still one of the top interior lineman in the NFL. What’s more, bringing back Lorenzo Alexander was a great move. Shaq Lawson, who the Bills took in the first round last year, will have to step up after missing the first six weeks of 2016 due to a shoulder injury. Even with the loss of Zach Brown to Washington, the Bills front seven is in good shape.
With so many holes to fill, what should the Bills do in the draft? Well lucky for the Bills, this draft is stacked with wide receivers and corners. Unfortunately, the Bills only have six picks to work with. They are without a fourth-round pick after trading up last season to select Reggie Ragland, and without a seventh-round pick after trading it to the Cowboys in the Matt Cassel deal.
With so many holes to fill, trading down in the draft to garner more draft picks might be a strong option for Bills general manager Doug Whaley. I know fans don’t like the idea of trading down. However, the Bills are in desperate need of receiver and corner depth. It will be tough to fill all the holes on their roster with only six picks.
There are a couple teams who could be willing to trade up to the 10th overall pick to get a player they need, especially quarterback needy teams. The Cleveland Browns could be that team, as they’re in desperate need of a quarterback and sitting at No. 12 with their second of two first-round picks. And if they think the Bills are going to take one of the top quarterbacks left when it gets to the 10th pick, they might make a move to trade up and get one.
Another team that will be looking to trade up is the Houston Texans. The Texans are in a tough spot with the 25th pick. They are another team in urgent need of a quarterback — especially with Tony Romo retiring — and there aren’t many options left. With quarterbacks not expected to go early, many think the Texans can wait and get one at No. 25. That might not be the case, though, according to Matt Hammond of CBS Houston:
Who saw Blake Bortles going to the Jaguars at No. 3 in 2014? EJ Manuel to the Bills at No. 16 in 2013? Exactly. If we’ve learned to expect anything from the NFL Draft, it’s to expect nothing. Owners are loons. GMs and head coaches get antsy. When that clock starts ticking, anything can happen.
If the Texans see a quarterback or two go early, expect them to try and make a move up and draft a quarterback.
The Bills are in the perfect spot at No. 10 to trade down. With the uncertainty of Watkins and the lack of talent and depth at corner, they desperately need help at those positions. Teams will be eyeing the Bills for the opportunity to trade up. From the Bills perspective, it makes sense to gather more picks that will help them fill the necessary holes.