Buffalo Bills NFL Draft: GM Brandon Beane’s history of trading first round picks
By Kevin Devine
The Buffalo Bills hired general manager Brandon Beane in May of 2017, just over a month after firing previous GM Doug Whaley and his entire staff on the day after the 2017 NFL Draft. Beane has been far more aggressive and successful than his predecessor in targeting players that he covets and maneuvering within draft and payroll confines to secure players who both fit the Bills culture and provide value.
Nowhere has this strategy been clearer than in the first round of the NFL Draft, where Beane has repeatedly executed trades. Three times in five drafts Beane has traded up, and a fourth trade sent a first round pick away and secured the Bills a superstar wide receiver in Stefon Diggs who has been a pivotal piece of their success over the past three seasons.
This type of strategy is potentially risky, as overpaying, especially for a first-round pick can hamstring an organization for years. However, in reviewing the trades that Bean has executed during his tenure with the Bills, it is evident that he is very adept at this maneuver. Beane has been very successful at identifying specific players to target and getting them at values that allow the Bills to improve their team, while not sacrificing their future.
ESPN’s Matt Miller wrote that it is “very possible” that Beane will once again strike to move up in this year’s draft, particularly to target an offensive lineman or skill player. While the Bills have several needs as they head toward the draft, including wide receiver, tight end, middle linebacker, offensive line and defensive line and limited draft picks to work with, this type of move would fit Beane’s M.O.
With that in mind, let’s look back at the first-round trades that Beane has made during his time as Bills GM.