Very few things affect the success of an NFL franchise like the annual Draft. There’s a lot of theories about what’s the most successful draft strategy. Should you trade up and get the best player possible? Should you trade down and stockpile picks like the Patriots do? Or should you stand pat?
The Bills conceivably have all three options on the table in 2012. Let’s take a look at the possibilities:
Pros: Land a better player than you would at the #10 spot. Specifically USC LT Matt Kalil, who would be the #1 pick most years but will be there for the taking at #3. Minnesota, who has the #3 pick now, is interested in a trade.
Cons: It will cost you other picks. Trading up to #3 would almost certainly cost the Bills next year’s first rounders.
Likelihood for Buffalo in 2012: 2%. Buddy Nix really hates trading up, because he hates giving up picks. Here’s a direct quote from him: “I never have liked to, and I never have traded picks. I hate giving them up. I like to get them.” The only way this happens is if the Bills are absolutely in love with a guy and the price is right. That guy could be Kalil, who the Bills did recently bring in for a visit even though he has no chance of falling to the Bills at 10. That indicates either 1) the Bills are really interested in trading up or 2) Nix is just throwing a smokescreen to drive the price of the #3 pick up for other teams.
My take: I’m not a huge fan of trading up either, but I’m absolutely in love with Kalil. He’s the epitome of a franchise left tackle. He’d be worth the king’s ransom it would cost the Bills to move up. For anyone else, I’d say no.
Pros: Stockpile draft picks. Possibly get the guy you wanted anyway.
Cons: The likelihood of getting an immediate impact player drops with every pick.
Likelihood for the Bills in 2012: 28%. There’s a pretty decent shot this happens. The Bills might decide they want a tackle or a wide receiver but think there’s none worth taking at 10. Why not trade back, grab an extra pick, and still get a guy like Stanford LT Jonathan Martin or Baylor WR Kendall Wright, either of whom could be available in the mid-to-late first round?
My take: I’m for it for the right price. This is still a fairly talent-deficient team. If the Bills can nab an extra second round pick or something, that’d be great.
Pros: Doesn’t cost you any picks. You should be able to get a starter at #10.
Cons: Don’t gain any picks. Is there a player with value at #10.
Likelihood for the Bills in 2012: 70%. By far the most likely option. Buddy doesn’t wheel and deal much on draft day.
My take: My only concern is that the Bills reach for a guy like Martin or Reiff at #10 because they need a tackle, but it turns out the man they get isn’t a top-10 talent. If the Bills are going to stay #10, they need a top-10 talent. If they don’t feel one will be there, Nix needs to make a move.