Despite there being no meaningful football until next September, the NFL is a year-round charade. For the next three months draft talk will dominate the lives of NFL fans, leading up to the big event on the final weekend of April.
For the Bills, who own two first-round picks at 21st and 22nd overall, a lot of that talk will revolve around whether or not they should be trading up in the opening round to ensure they get one of the top quarterbacks in this deep class of QBs. For a franchise that hasn’t had a legitimate franchise QB since 1996, it’s not such a far-fetched idea. But is trading up really worth it for Buffalo? That’s a question they’ll have to answer in the coming months. With that in mind, here are 5 reasons why the Bills shouldn’t trade up in the first round to draft a QB.
1) Trading up is gonna cost you
The biggest dilemma Buffalo faces in regards to trading up in the first-round is that it’s going to cost an arm and a leg to do so. Obviously it depends on where exactly they would want to move up to, but if it’s for one of the top three, rookie quarterbacks, it looks like it may have to be into the top 10. A jump that high will cost the Bills both the 21st and 22nd overall picks, at least one pick later in the draft and future picks on top of it. For a reference point, when the Eagles traded up to No. 2 with the Browns in the 2016 Draft to select Carson Wentz, they gave up their first-round pick that year (No. 8) a third-round pick that year (No. 77), a fourth-round selection (No. 100), as well as their first-round pick in 2017 and a second-round pick for this upcoming draft. Yes, even in 2018 they’re seeing the effects of that trade, but hey, they did just win the Super Bowl. Anyway, if that was the price to move up six picks, you can bet it’s gonna cost Buffalo a pretty penny to move from the early 20s into top ten.
2) Rookie QBs come with risks
While there’s plenty to like about this class of rookie quarterbacks, drafting one is still a risk. Even if they have all the measurables like Wyoming’s Josh Allen or all the talent like UCLA’s Josh Rosen, there’s no guarantee that the quarterback a team wants is going to be an elite talent. There’s never an exact science for drafting players, QBs or otherwise. It’s risky, on top of the fact that there will likely be some growing pains for any rookie quarterback at some point, which leads into our next reason for not trading up.
3) There’s a handful of veteran QBs available
Why trade up and draft a quarterback, when there are a handful of proven veterans out on the open market or potentially available via trade? The Bills could easily go out address their need for a quarterback once the new league year begins and in turn stay put, and use the 21st and 22nd overall picks to address other needs. This is also assuming Buffalo is moving on from Tyrod Taylor, which is the expectation currently. If so, there are plenty of veteran replacements available. Kirk Cousins, Sam Bradford, Teddy Bridgewater all come to mind. Or perhaps even Super Bowl MVP Nick Foles will be available via trade.
4) The Bills have other needs to fill
It’s been more than two decades since Buffalo had a legitimate franchise quarterback, so it’s no surprise that the position is considered their top priority this offseason. That said, they do have some glaring needs elsewhere. Linebacker, defensive tackle, wide receiver and offensive line are all areas Buffalo could look to address with the 21st and 22nd overall picks. So instead of giving up a surplus of picks to move up and draft a quarterback, sign one if those aforementioned vets to bridge the gap, bolster the roster elsewhere and postpone the franchise QB search for another time.
5) The right rookie QB may be there at 21
Hey, you never know. The right guy might be there when the Bills make their first selection at 21st overall. Maybe one of the top prospects falls – crazier things have happened on draft night – or perhaps the Bills have their eyes on Louisville’s Lamar Jackson or Oklahoma State’s Mason Rudolph, both of whom could be available by the time they pick. No sense in trading up for a QB if you like a guy who will likely be there when you’re on the clock.