The Buffalo Bills have one of the deepest and most talented rosters in the entire National Football League. They advanced all the way to the AFC Championship Game last season, and have Super Bowl aspirations in 2021.
With getting that far, that means they aren’t scheduled to select until pick No. 30 in the 2021 NFL Draft coming up later this month.
Given the state of the roster, and such a late first round pick, general manager Brandon Beane has a lot of options available to him. Everything should be on the table, including trading up, trading down, or staying right where he is.
Here are the cases for the different scenarios and how each could impact the 2021 Buffalo Bills:
The Bills currently hold seven picks, including two fifth round picks, but none in the fourth.
Trading up from No. 30 would cost at least one of them, but because of how solid the roster is all around, it’s going to be difficult for players drafted in the later rounds to make the team. So Beane probably doesn’t need all seven, anyway.
When you’re in a Super Bowl window like the Bills are, it could truly be just one player inserted into the lineup to get them over-the-hump. The Bills, most likely, aren’t finding that player at pick No. 30. It might take getting into the top-20, or even top-15 to find someone who could come in and make that type of immediate impact.
You don’t have to look far for the most recent example of the No. 30 overall pick being traded for a team to move up. It was last year when the Green Bay Packers came up four spots to grab quarterback Jordan Love. Granted, it’s for a quarterback and teams are often willing to pay more, but just those four spots cost the Packers a fourth round pick they had to give to the Miami Dolphins.
Remember in 2017 when the Kansas City Chiefs moved all the way up from 27 to 10, swapping with the Bills, and gave up a future first round pick? We can use these templates to assume that every 4-5 spots up costs an extra round.
So if the Bills wanted to get into the top-15 or top-20, it would, most likely, be a second round or third round choice going to the other team, especially because they currently don’t hold a fourth round pick at all. That’s a valuable price to pay, but one Beane may be willing to do to get his man that makes a difference.
The argument here would be that the Bills, most likely, won’t find a player at pick 30 who’s going to see a lot of snaps right away. Beane could move down to grab more value, gain a couple of extra solid backups the team can look to develop, or even possibly add to next year’s draft pool to keep restocking the cupboard.
It was only two years ago a team moved down from the No. 30 spot, when the Seattle Seahawks got a nice haul from the New York Giants, picking up a second (37th overall), fourth (132nd), and fifth (142nd), just to move down seven places overall. A move like this would allow Beane to have a bunch of draft capital to continue to maneuver with on Days 2 and 3, as well as give him a few extra cracks at finding this year‘s version of wide receiver Gabriel Davis or cornerback Taron Johnson, for example, who were both fourth round selections.
Also, those really late picks in the sixth and seventh rounds would then become much more of a luxury he could wind up spinning to add to next year’s total, as well.
The least-sexiest option is to stay right where they are at No. 30.
That doesn’t generate a ton of excitement, but what it can do is give the Bills a really good football player who will have every chance to make an immediate impact, but even if he’s unable to, give the team another solid piece and the ability to hold the option for the fifth-year of his contract, which goes away after the first round.
A player selected here could ultimately be a replacement for someone currently on the roster, who the team either can’t or doesn’t want to ultimately pay the price to keep when he becomes a free agent, or even gives them an option to trade down the line.
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