Trading up for Sammy Watkins
At the 2014 NFL Draft the Buffalo Bills and GM Doug Whaley traded two first round picks and a fourth round pick to move up from their original pick (#9 overall) to the fourth overall pick. The team used the selection on WR Sammy Watkins, despite the fact that the team’s best options at quarterback were Kyle Orton and EJ Manuel. Watkins failed to pop in Buffalo which some chalked up to the poor quarterback situation. But, Watkins has since moved on to better quarterback situations in Los Angeles and Kansas City and still failed to make an impact worthy of where he was drafted.
To make matters worse if the Bills had just stayed at their original pick they would’ve been almost guaranteed to get a great player. The run from ninth overall to 17th overall is one of the best you’ll ever see. It went like this: Anthony Barr, Eric Ebron, Taylor Lewan, Odell Beckham Jr., Aaron Donald, Kyle Fuller, Ryan Shazier, Zack Martin, CJ Mosley. The Bills would’ve put themselves in a great position to take any of these great players if they had just stayed put at nine and it would’ve allowed them to hold on to the 19th overall pick in the following draft.
What we’ve learned is that trading multiple top draft choices for a non-quarterback, when you yourself are not set up at quarterback is a bad process. Even when you are able to acquire a great player like the Bears did with Khalil Mack, the lack of assets can leave you stuck with subpar options at the sport’s most important position.