How the Bills can draft in the top four and still have two 1st round picks

January 21, 2018

The Bills have back-to-back picks in the first round of this year’s NFL draft.  They also have two picks in the second round and eight picks overall within the first five rounds (8 of the top 157 selections). They can sit at spots 21 and 22 in round one and select two players who could very well make an impact immediately.  With several holes to fill and an aging roster in some areas, that would surely benefit them.

However, they also might elect to package some of those picks and move up in order to select who they’ve identified could be their franchise quarterback of the future.

Let’s say that’s the route general manager Brandon Beane and head coach Sean McDermott elect to go.  How high can they get?  And what would it cost them?

I’ve been looking over different scenarios and gave myself a task:  Move into the top five without giving up both first round picks, or next year’s first rounder.  That way, the Bills would still pick fifth (or better) overall and still have another first round selection to either use or trade later.  I chose the top five because I believe after that is when numerous teams could be in the market for a QB and presuming the Bills would have to jump them all just to be sure they get their guy.  

Here’s how they can do it:

First, of course, every year is a bit different and every trade will be different based upon the teams involved, the players targeted, the depth at various positions, and many other factors.  Especially if a team is known to be moving up to grab a QB.  But for the sake of simplicity, here’s what the traditional Jimmy Johnson Draft Value Chart and Rich Hill’s Updated Draft Value Chart show, as far as each of the Bills’ picks:

Here’s what the Bills could do.

1. Trade picks 21, 53, and 94 to the Cincinnati Bengals for pick 12 and 108
JJ chart = (800 + 370 + 124 = 1294) for (1200 + 78 = 1278)
RH chart = (260.82 + 106.31 + 41.15 = 408.28) for (346.51 + 30.17 = 376.68)

Overview - The Bills would be giving up slightly more according to the pick values, but moving up nine spots in round one is usually going to cost some inflation.  The Bills would now hold picks 12, 22, 56, 108, 114, 149, and 157.

2. Trade picks 12, 56, and next year’s 3rd round choice to Cleveland for 4 and 161 
** I took the median draft spot (pick No. 80) for the third round to determine a “fair” value for the 2019 third round pick.
JJ Chart = (1200 + 340 + 190 = 1730) for (1800 + 27 = 1827)
RH chart = (346.51 + 98.27 + 56.02 = 500.8) for (490.52 + 9.27 = 499.79).

Overview - The Browns come into this draft with twelve total picks, which is why picking up a third rounder in 2019 makes more sense than a 3-for-2 swap in this draft.  Also, the Bills already have an extra fourth round pick in 2019 (from the Chiefs for Reggie Ragland), so even though it’s one round higher, it’s easier to part with a pick next year than another this year since they’re already giving up more than they are gaining through these deals.


After everything is tallied up through these two deals, the Bills’ final draft picks would be:
Rd 1 - 4
Rd 1 - 22
Rd 4 - 108
Rd 4 - 114
Rd 5 - 149
Rd 5 - 157
Rd 6 - 161

Now I’ve accomplished the objective.  The Bills are picking in the top four of the draft and still have two first round picks and seven selections overall.  They can also still use the second of the two first round picks (No. 22) to trade back and recoup a second or third round pick they lost, as well as gain additional picks overall.

Would it be smart?  That's for you to decide.  But it can be done, and probably easier than many realize.

Follow me on Twitter @SalSports