The Buffalo Bills have typically been an aggressive team during the NFL Draft with general manager Brandon Beane running the show. While the Bills did make a trade during the 2021 NFL Draft, it was actually moving back as they traded one of their fifth round picks to the Houston Texans for two sixth round picks, the 203rd overall, and the 212th overall selections.
The Buffalo Bills used those two picks to select wide receiver Marquez Stevenson from the University of Houston and safety Damar Hamlin from the University of Pittsburgh.
After the NFL Draft, Brandon Beane explained his reasoning for changing his philosophy a bit and trading back and not up. The Bills general manager explained that he thought there was enough talent on the board to move back but also with what was expected to be a thinner undrafted free agent class, they wanted to make sure they could guarantee to get their guys.
As Chris Brown of BuffaloBills.com writes, this year the draft class consisted of only 657 players which roughly a third of what it was most years when teams have between 1,800 and 1,900 players to pick from.
The competition among NFL teams to sign these undrafted free agents were highly competitive so it makes sense for the Buffalo Bills to want to target players with picks in these later rounds to ensure they are added to their roster.
This wasn’t the only time though that Brandon Beane considered trading back over the three-day NFL Draft. On Friday night, Beane told reporters that he had a deal in place with an NFC team for their second round pick that would have moved them back to the third round.
However, Beane said there was really only one player who would keep them at that pick in the second round and that was Carlos Basham Jr. out of Wake Forest. He ended up being the pick and the Bills backed out of the deal.
It certainly was a surprise to see the Buffalo Bills trade back but the reasoning that Brandon Beane describes that went into the decision makes sense with the circumstances around this year’s class.