CAPACCIO: The case for and against the Bills trading back into Round 1

Cover Image
Photo credit Photo: Tom Pennington - Getty Images
On Monday, I examined all three scenarios that are in play for the No. 9 pick for the Buffalo Bills at the NFL Draft later this week. They can use it, trade it to move up, or trade it to move down, but that’s not all they can do in the first round.

Regardless of what they do with the ninth overall selection, there’s also the possibility of trading back into the first round later. Last year, general manager Brandon Beane had two first rounders to play with. He started draft night with picks 12 and 22. He traded up twice, finishing the night selecting seventh and 16th overall, coming away with quarterback Josh Allen and linebacker Tremaine Edmunds.

Will the Bills walk away from the 2019 draft with two first round players again? It certainly wouldn’t be as easy this time having only one first round choice to play with, but, with 10 picks overall, plus future selections to package, Beane may want to get back into the opening round before Thursday night is complete.

Let’s take a look at the case for and case against doing that:


  • The case for trading back into the first round:

The biggest reason to do it might simply be that they'd hopefully be drafting two high-impact players who can help them for years to come. That goes without saying. Beyond that, Beane has addressed a lot of the team’s needs through the free agency period. The Bills have signed more unrestricted free agents from other clubs than any team in the league. Amongst the 18 players they brought in, 14 of them are on the offensive side. Offensive line has been the biggest focus, with six new players. They also added three wide receivers, including Canadian Football League leader Duke Williams. The draft may be about focusing on the defensive side of the ball, and this draft has plenty of talent when it comes to defenders, and especially in the front-seven. There are going to be plenty of names still available on the board once we get into the 20s on Thursday night. The Bllls may have a first round grade on one of those players who is still sitting there. That’s when value comes into play and Beane may decide to make sure he gets him and not risk waiting until his next pick at No. 40 and then that player is gone already.

Also, with all of the additions made over the last month or so, it’s going to be hard for some of the Bills’ late round picks to even make the roster. That’s a good problem to have for any team, but one which may entice Beane to decide he doesn’t need to keep all of those selections and use one or more to package together to move up early. He may be comfortable with only coming out of this draft with seven or eight total players instead of the 10 he’s scheduled to select.


  • The case against trading back into the first round:

Of course this starts with cost. There’s almost no doubt it would cost the Bills pick No. 40 just to start with to move into the 20s or early 30s, but what will have to be added on top of that to sweeten the pot? Is it their only third round choice? One of their two fourth rounders? Those are good selections to have and players that have a legitimate chance to contribute and even be solid starters. In fact, under Sean McDermott and Beane, the Bills have done a good job of finding talent in the middle rounds, like defensive tackle Harrison Phillips and cornerback Taron Johnson in the third and fourth rounds last year, respectively. Linebacker Matt Milano was taken in the fifth round in 2017. Those are draft picks they probably don’t want to part with, knowing they can find good players there who can help now and in the future.

Also, the more swings you get, the better chance you have to connect. The Bills have 10 draft picks total, but they have five picks from rounds three through five. A move back into the first round will probably cost them at least one of those, if not more, depending on how high they want to go. That means less swings. Sure, the player they’d be selecting should be considered a better prospect than any of those other picks would be, but what if he doesn’t pan out? Then it becomes double jeopardy: a first round player that didn’t work out, and less chances to make up for it because they traded away what it cost to get him.

Follow me on Twitter @SalSports