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Draft Scenario #2: Trading Down

LB Paul Posluszny: A trade-down target?

It's fairly obvious to even the most casual of Bills fans that the 2007 Bills are going to be one of the youngest teams in the NFL. It's also apparent that the team is also thin in a lot of key areas. The team has little depth in the back seven of their defense, and could also use serious depth at the skill positions on the offensive side of the ball. Eight draft picks will only go so far towards resolving some of these issues.

Unless, of course, the Bills trade down. Dealing out of the #12 pick to drop down, select a few spots lower and pick up an additional draft choice or two may be a very viable option for GM Marv Levy on Saturday. More picks equals more players on a thin team.

The argument to move down is supported by the fact that most of the draft's elite players - possibly including LB Patrick Willis - will likely be gone by the time the Bills pick at 12. With a drop-off in talent likely, the Bills would be able to drop a few spots in the first round and still get a player of near-equal value several picks later. There are plenty of "second-tier" first-round options that could pan out well for the Bills.

If the team does move down, who would they target? I've got a few players in mind.

Jon Beason, OLB, Miami (FL)
Beason is a wild-card selection for the Bills even if they can't move out of the 12 spot. A player who has seen his stock rise dramatically in the past week or so, Beason is now a virtual lock for the first round - possibly as high as #14 to Carolina. He is an ideal fit for weakside linebacker in the Cover-2 scheme, but has experience at all three linebacker positions. His versatility and good bloodlines would make him Levy's top target in a trade down.
Paul Posluszny, OLB, Penn State
Posluszny is another option at #12, but he seems a more likely candidate in a trade down. Beason's recent emergence has in turn let Posluszny's stock slip a bit, and he could now be had as low as pick 20. Paul is not quite as sound a fit in our scheme as Beason is, but he is the type of leader and playmaker that any defense can use. He also has experience at both middle and outside linebacker, so he would give the Bills a dimension of versatility as well. He would likely compete for playing time at weakside or strongside linebacker in our defense, with Angelo Crowell manning the middle.
Marshawn Lynch, RB, California
Green Bay is happily waiting for Lynch to fall into their laps at pick 16, so if the Bills wanted to move down and take Lynch, they'd only swap down two or three slots. Lynch is bar-none the second best runner available in this draft and would be an excellent complement to Anthony Thomas in his rookie season. What's more, he has the potential to turn into one of the league's best in time. There are a lot of Bills fans who would love to see Lynch in Orchard Park next weekend; the team may have to stay at #12 to draft him, however.
Robert Meachem, WR, Tennessee
This one would certainly be out of left field, but a pre-draft visit to One Bills Drive indicates that Levy thinks very highly of Meachem. It's likely that Meachem is the #2-rated wideout on the Bills' board behind Calvin Johnson. Meachem has a rare size/speed combination that would make him a perfect complement to our current stud wideout, Lee Evans. Don't count on a Meachem selection on Saturday; don't completely count it out, either.

Trading out of the #12 spot is likely a best-case scenario for the Bills (outside of a shot to land either Adrian Peterson or Patrick Willis, of course). But the drop-off in talent that will occur right around when the Bills pick may force Buffalo to stay at the #12 pick. The only player I would imagine teams would be willing to move up for - in the event that he is still available at pick 12 - is Louisville DT Amobi Okoye. Denver seems the most likely trade-down option there, as they would kill to land a tackle of Okoye's caliber.

Thoughts on the Bills trading down?