Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley made a bold move in the 2014 NFL Draft, trading first- and fourth-round picks in the 2015 to move up and take Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins fourth overall. It was a move that will have career-changing implications for Whaley and that is what I like most.
In his brief tenure as general manager, Whaley has swung two great trades to acquire role players Jerry Hughes and Thad Lewis, and added Mike Williams, as well. (We'll have to wait and see on that one.) He has signed a multitude of free agents this offseason, but none of the moves took as much conviction and risk-assessment as this one. Even more than drafting a quarterback in the first round a year ago, when he was still just the heir apparent to Buddy Nix, this move will define Whaley's tenure in Buffalo.
What strikes me most about the trade is the magnitude. It's easily the biggest move in the decade since trading a first rounder to move up from the second round and pick J.P. Losman in 2004. Whaley was so convinced that Watkins was the guy to put them over the top and into the postseason, he gave up a first round pick to do it. While I might not agree with that assessment, the fact that Whaley does - and is willing to act on it - gives me even more reason to believe he's a competent decision-maker.
Whether the move was enabled by the Bills' transient ownership situation or not, the fact that Whaley made the move is what I want to see out of the guys in charge, whether it's pulling the trigger on this trade or going for it on fourth-and-short. Time will tell if it's the right decision; I'm just glad he had the resolve to make it.