CAPACCIO: Trade up? Stay put? Examining Bills options in the first round

March 22, 2018 - 12:17 pm

It’s amazing, and kind of funny, how much one trade can send huge ripple effects around the NFL draft board, even when that trade doesn’t even involve a first rounder, much less a high first round pick. That’s what happened when the Giants sent defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to the Buccaneers Thursday afternoon along with an exchange of some third and fourth round draft picks.

With elite North Carolina State pass rusher Bradley Chubb sitting there as one of the top players in this draft, many believe the Giants made the move because they’re going to pounce on him after the Cleveland Browns select USC QB Sam Donald with the top overall pick.

That would mean Giants general manager Dave Gettleman is not dealing his No. 2 overall pick to the Bills, as many have speculated could happen. So where does that leave Bills GM Brandon Beane and his war chest full of picks? And what are his options?

Let’s presume these three things are definitely happening:
1. Browns take Darnold
2. Giants take Chubb
3. Jets take a QB (unknown)

Here are the Bills options:

Trade up to No. 4 with Cleveland.

This draft has seemingly been all about the Bills getting their franchise quarterback of the future for almost a year now. With several signal-callers considered as possibilities to be that guy, it would still put them in position to draft the third one off the board. That doesn’t mean the third best, or even the third-highest ranked by the Bills.  We have no idea how they have them slotted.  The third QB taken could be their highest-rated, or their third-highest. But getting to No. 4 would still allow them to land either Josh Rosen, Josh Allen, or Baker Mayfield, depending on who the Jets don’t take.

Trade up, but not as high as 4th

Here’s how it goes 5-9: Broncos, Colts, Buccaneers, Bears, 49ers.  Obviously, the higher the Bills climb the more it will cost them, and if they only have to jump a few spots to get their guy, that would be optimal because it would cost less. The problem with this, however, is now they’d be leaving the door open for another QB-needy team to jump into Cleveland’s spot 4th overall and get the third QB taken. Suddenly you’re looking at the fourth quarterback off the board and have to wonder if it’s even worth it at that point?

Stay at No. 12 and hope to draft Lamar Jackson or Mason Rudolph

Jackson is a wild-card of this QB class. No one really knows if he’ll still be there when it gets to twelve. He might be gone, or he might slip even further than that. Once QBs start coming off the board, that’s when other teams start over-drafting them or trading up to get them. If the Bills took him in the spot, many would say they completely over-reached. Others would say they got great value. He’s that polarizing.

By all indications, no one views Rudolph as worthy of this high of a pick. But, again, we don’t know how the Bills rank any of these guys. They could very well love him that much and want to make sure they secure him.

Stay at No. 12 and take a non-QB

Boy, this would be quite the shock, but it’s certainly possible given the top QBs could come off the board as early as discussed here and Beane and his staff simply don’t have a high enough grade on anyone left to justify it. They could also have designs on taking their QB with No. 22 overall in this scenario, getting a premium position player at No. 12 and still grabbing their QB of the future later.

Trade down

The only possible way I see this happening is if all of the quarterbacks the Bills have high first round grades on our already off the board and they just can’t match up the value with any of the players remaining. But, this just doesn’t seem likely considering all the moves they made to get to this position already and how much draft capital they already have. They don’t have to keep collecting draft picks in later rounds with two 2nd rounders and two 3rd rounders already in their pocket.

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