Yes, I believe that a trade down is the best way to have a great draft this year. It is not necessary, but I cant see a better draft scenario this year. I know there are some who want us to pick BPA now that we finally get a pick in the top three. I get that thought (in a normal draft) but this is not a normal draft. The top tier true blue chip guys are simply not there this year. So I wanted to do a post outlining some of the trade down options, and give some explenations why I think this is a real possibility.
First lets get to why I think Nix will trade down when almost everyone says he wont. First we dont really know a lot about how Nix drafts from history (one year is not a quality sample) So we have to go with what he has said. about how he looks at drafting. Withanything in the last month or so being discounted as a possible smokscreen. He has said several things that would lead one to believe we will not trade down. Like, we know he has said that he does not prefer to trade around. He also said early on in the process that we have the #3 pick so we will make a board and we will get one of our top three guys guaranteed. He has said several times that we dont intend on having this opportunity of picking this high again in the near future so we should really try to capitalize on it while it is here. All this is good ammunition for the" Nix wont trade down crowd", but we also know that Nix values his draft picks, and has said he wishes the league would give him more picks. Well that is not going to happen, but hecan make it happen with a trade down. IMO Nix is a good scout and If anyone can see the lack of top tier talent and multiple red flags on some of the top prospects Nix can. He will not be boxed into a pick just because a lot of experts say he has to fill a need and take a QB, or OT. We saw some of that last year when he passed on Clausen twice, and also passed on OT last year simply because he did not think the available talent was any better then what he already had on the team. Nix has said point blank that he was open to a trade down it just is not always the answer. Although not a clear endorsement of the idea it is by far the most positive response to the idea that I have ever heard him give. Another thing that is pointing to a possible trade down is the list of prospects that OBD has brought in. A quick glance at the list shows a somewhat large group of guys that would be clear reaches at #3 and improbable targets at #34. There are also several things ouside of Nix's control that are working toward the idea of the Bills trading down. The biggest of these is the amount of teams in need of a QB at the same time as a lack of top tier supply. The lack of a FA prior to the draft is compounding this problem. The lack of a CBAmixed with the bleief that the new CBAwill have a rookie pay scale along with the lack of a FA period is IMO going to really free up trades in the first round more then ever. It is a fact that in order for a team to trade up some team will have to trade down, so Nix could take advantage of this(we are perfectly placed in the draft order for a trade down), and get his wanted extra picks while still getting value with a lower first round pick.
Before I get into my mock here are some interesting tidbits:
There are 11 teams in need of a QB, and here is how they will be filling this need. A week but deep draft class ( Newton, Gabbert, Locker, Ponder, Kaepernick, and Mallet). A week FA class including (Kolb, McNabb, Young, Palmer, Bulger and a few others). Teams have four choices here, 1. Trade up for Newton or Gabbertwhichever the Panthers leave them with an acceptable price tag money wise, but giving up some picks to move up in the draft. 2. Settle for any of the rest of the QB's in the draft. 3. Overpay for one of the other FA with a high risk of failure. 4. Be the highest bidder for Kolb or Palmer losing draft picks, and a big yearly price tag. Tradeing up for Newton, and Gabbert is looking better all the time for some of these teams.
The Bills are not the only team that will not be able to fill all their roster needs with the draft only. This is evident by all the teams that are saying they would like to trade down(pick up extra picks). We will have to rely on the FA period whenever that ends up being to fill some of those needs. TE, ILB(one of two), QB(backup), and RT are all positions that might be more suitable for improvement in FA then during the draft. I do think we will pick up one ILB in the draft and one in FA. I also think we will get our RT, or a second tier QB in the second or third round. We simply cant get our franchise QB, plug and play RT, Two bigger and better ILB's, OLB , and best TE in the draft all in one year, oh and go BPA at #3. IT cant be done. I know it is hard to talk about FA when we dont know if or when it will happen, but we will be mighty disappointed if we go into this draft thinking all the holes will be pluged.
Yes I have four QB's going in the first round. I also have five OT's and two more interior O-lineman in the first. Eleven D-lineman in the first has got to be a record.
I am showing five trades in the first round. I dont think that is very high, but the difference is I have three of them in the top ten picks. This is a direct result of not having FA, and the assumption of a new rookie pay scale under a new CBA .
Without further delay here is my first round mock with explanations.
#1 Panthers QB C. Newton This pick has been the whos who of the top 10 talent in this draft, and I argued against QB for a long time, but in the end they have to get the guy that can give them the most upside at a position of need, and relevance. Cam will be a slow starter, but he really could be the best player in this draft in three years.
#2 Broncos DT M. Dareus I dont believe the QB talk one bit despite the fact that there are still a bunch of Tebow dreamers on this site that only need a nudge to start talking about how good it would be to trade for him, and how Denver does not want him. This pick will be Dareus hands down.
#3 S.F. QB B. Gabbert This is where it starts to get interesting. Yes Nix pulls off a trade with SF, who is in bad need of a QB. Nix will not be fooled by all the QB hype. He will simply wait for about three minutes(maybe go to the bath room like Joe P. says) When teams see that Nix did not run up to the podium in the first 30 seconds they will assume that he is working a trade with a team other then them for the last top tier QB, and the phones will start to ring off the hook. First it will be the Bengals, the team with the most to lose as they see their QB slipping away. They will offer their (#4+#66) just to get their foot in the door. Nix calmly says we will discuss it and get back to you but we are currently seriously looking at several better offers. Likewise SF, and the Titans now know that some other team is trading up with us and now submit initial offers. SF offers(#7+#45+#108), while the Titans offer(#8+#39+#77). The Titans have the best offer on the table now Nix just has to call the other teams back and say you will have to do better then that. In the end the Bengals just cant offer enough just to move up one spot, and bow out . SF on the other hand offers (#7+#45+#76) for our (#3+#131) This is still not the best offer points wise, but Nix takes it because he does not want to pick after SF if he takes the Titans deal. SF is more than likely to take a 3-4 DE at #7, and it could be C. Jordan his target. So the Bills end up at #7 in the first round, losing their 5th round, and picking up an extra second and third round. P.S. most of this is made possible by the Nix quick picks last year something that we all complained about but is now working for us this year.
#4 Bengals WR A.J. Green The Bengals lose out in the QB race, but Green is a nice consolation prize at a position of need, and at #4 this pick holds a lot of value also.
#5 Cardinals OLB V. Miller The Cardinals need a QB also but Miller has been there target from the beginning as they will try to pluck one of the QB's in the second round. They receive an offer from the Cowboys as they try to trade up for Peterson, but turn it down as they have who they want.
#6 Browns CB P. Peterson This is not the Browns biggest need by far, but it is a need and who could turn down this much talent at #6? Well maybe a team in the process of a defensive scheme change. If there is one place I am least sure of in my mock it is here. I believe Dallas, and the Lions will both make an attempt for Peterson at this pick. The Lions will offer their(#13+#44) while Dallas will offer their( #9+#71). Both would be good deals for the Browns, and this very well could happen. In the end Cleveland cant pass up on that much talent.
#7 Bills DE C. Jordan This is still a reach IMO, but as much as I would like to dream they probably cant and wont trade down again from this spot. It really does not matter Jordan would be a major improvement to the run stopping defense, and the deal gives us two extra high picks. Nix might go with the raw but potentialy higher ceiling J. J. watt, but I doubt it.
#8 Titans DT N. Fairley With the top two QB's of the board the titans try to find the next Haynsworth.
#9 Rams WR J. Jones With the Cowboys missing out on the CB that they wanted, and not being very high on the Prince thispick came down to OT S. Smith or trade down and still getting first shot at OT. They take the latter when the Rams offer their (#14+#78+#110) for the chance at the second best WR and a position that they really need something better in. This trade also makes J. Jones laugh when the Rams take the one guy Washington would really like.
#10 Lions CB P. Amukamara Yes the skins would have taken Jones, but now trade down with the Lions for their(#13+#107+ next years round #4 picks). The Lions give up very little to maximize the talent that they get at their position of biggest need.
#11 Houston DE R. Quinn The Texans need help in their switch to the 3-4 and getting Quinn this late in the draft is a steal.
#12 Vikings DE D. Bowers Yes there are some red flags, but this is another steal and the vikings will run to the podium with this pick.
#13 Washington OT T. Smith Now it is Washingtons turn to stick it to the Cowboys. They thought they could trade down and still get Smith at #14 but the pesky Skins trade back also and grab Smith a need for them and swipe the smile off of J. Jones' face. Who is laughing now?
#14 Dallas OG Pouncey Jones knows that Miami has been talking about Pouncey, and he cant take the risk of him sliding much further. He takes him now, and plans to trade back into the first for a OT.
#15 Miami OLB A. Smith The Phins wanted RB Ingram so bad but now hold off and fill another major need. They would have taken Pouncey but missed by one.
#16 Jacksonville DE R. Kerrigan The Jags wait until next round for their QB.
#17 Dallas OT A. Castonzo Dallas wisely gets back into the first round for their starting RT. If they had waited much longer they would have missed out as the OT are going to start going fast now and the few teams between the ones taking OT's would not want to trade all the way back to #40 for their targets. N.E. on the other hand will almost always trade down.
#18 SanDiego DE J. J. Watt SD will need more defensive help later at ILB and OLB.
#19 Giants OT D. Sherrod The run on OT is in full swing and the Giants get one now.
#20 Tampa Bay DE J. Houston Tampa also needs some secondary help, but they will address that later on.
#21 Kansas City DT P. Taylor K.C. really wants a big man at the nose, and they get a good one in Taylor. OT, and WR are also needs that will have to be filled.
#22 Colts OT N. Solder The colts are glad to get there O-line help before the top tier is gone.
#23 Eagles OT G. Carimi OT are moving fast and it is a good thing the Eagles only need a RT.
#24 New Orleans DE C. Heyward Heyward is a nice fit for N.O.
#25 Seattle QB C. Ponder I tried to change this to CB Jimmy smith twice, but my gut keeps screaming Ponder.
#26 Ravens DE M. Wilkerson Is there any doubt that he will fit right in with this defense?
#27 Titans QB J.Locker The Falcons have been being mocked a TE in the first round for several years now. They need a TE, WR, and DE but dont really want any of those at this pick so they call all the QB needy teams and the bidding war for Locker starts one pick earlier then most people thought. Washington does not have enough picks. The Cardinals make an offer but it is not enough. Nix just laughs and hangs up. So it comes down to the Titans, and Bengals. The Titans persevere and get their old owner a new leader.
#28 New England OLB A. Ayers N.E. does not know how to pick in the first round, and they sure were not planning on having to here. They thought all along that they would start the QB bidding war. They make some calls around but its to late there is no one left on the board worth trading up for.
#29 Bears OC S. Wisniewski The Bears have to start investing in their O-line if they want Cutler to do his job. With all the first tier OT's off the board they go interior O-line.
#30 Jets OLB B. Reed Reed's stock is soaring, and the Jets grab him a little high, but I really could not find anyone I liked better.
#31 Pittsburg CB A. Williams Pittsburg knows they need CB help and this might be a bit of a reach, but they dontlike the red flags that go withJ. Smith.
#32 Green Bay CB B. Harris It was either CB, or WR here because 3-4 OLB has been depleted for now. Harris has game and does not need to step in right away.
Nix rounds out the rest of the draft with these picks: #34 TE K. Rudolph #45 CB D. House #68 ILB K Sheppard #76 OT J. Barksdale #100 OLB D. Moch #122 ILB C Mathews #133 OLB J. Beal #169 FS R. Sands #206 RB G. Cooper #245 RT L Ziemba.
That is eleven picks with four immediate starters, and a lot of depth improvement. IMO this draft would have to be a A+ grade.
Wow I was starting to wonder if I would ever finish this post. Feel free to pick it apart I am ready for some good debates.