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Buffalo Bills 2015 NFL mock draft 2.0: trading for Bryce Petty

How would Buffalo go about getting Bryce Petty this weekend? We attempt to answer, in mock draft form.

Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

At the Buffalo Bills' pre-draft luncheon last Monday, general manager Doug Whaley mentioned that later-round picks may struggle to make the team's roster this year, with so many strong players already on board. For my second 2015 NFL mock draft, I decided to approach the Bills' picks with that same philosophy. Using the premium Fanspeak On the Clock Simulator, it's possible to simulate the draft with trades included. I did just that for two scenarios, both focused on a specific player: Baylor quarterback Bryce Petty.

With the news surfacing that Doug Whaley (and other Bills staffers) paid a last-minute visit to Bryce Petty on Tuesday, it's time to start taking the notion that Buffalo will target him seriously. So let's talk about how Buffalo might acquire Petty.

The first method would simply be to just draft Petty outright with Buffalo's No. 50 overall selection. I don't think that will happen, though. For one thing, the Bills have traded their first selection in each of the last two drafts, and they traded in the second round last year, as well. Whaley is all about maximizing value in his draft picks, so let's look at some different value scenarios.

Securing the fifth contract year

In my mind, if Buffalo trades up to draft Petty, it only makes sense if the team is trying to sneak into the bottom of the first round to do it. Drafting Petty with a first-round pick gives the Bills a fifth-year option in his contract, which is a crucial component for a quarterback who might not see the field for a year or two. The value of the No. 32 overall pick in the draft is roughly equal to Buffalo's second and third round picks combined, so that would be the sweet spot for trade up value in that scenario. Trading up in the second round without losing value is more difficult, and the only benefit gained is that the team would guarantee acquiring Petty. He's a pretty good quarterback prospect, but if the team wants to vault upward in the second round just so it can draft Petty ahead of a team like St. Louis, then it missed the point of all the talk about getting instant contributors and taking the best player available with their top pick.

Therefore, in this first mock draft (full list of picks here), I modeled how the Bills might assemble a draft class if they had to move up into the first round to draft Petty. Let's break it down:

TRADE: Buffalo trades Rounds 2, 3, 5, and 7 picks for New England's Round 1 and 7 picks, draft Petty

I ended up cheating the logic, somewhat. Both New England and New Orleans (owners of the No. 31 pick) wouldn't accept any deal unless it involved not only the second- and third-round pick, but the fifth-round pick. To recoup some value, I traded for the No. 31 pick, and traded down one slot with New England to move up 15 spots in the seventh round, which I felt was a slightly fairer representation of the trade value.

In this scenario, the Bills get their quarterback in the first round, guaranteeing a fifth-year team option for his contract. Petty's expectations will likely be managed, even if he's a first-round pick for the team, since there are potential starters on the roster right now and he has clear weaknesses in his game. I do like his upside, and I think he has a great head on his shoulders. I wouldn't like this move (especially considering what comes next), but I like the player.

Round 6 (1): Corey Robinson, OT, South Carolina

The wait for the next pick was awful. It was nearly five full rounds before my next selection, and I had to watch a lot of prospects go because of a lack of ammunition. When I saw Robinson on the board early in the sixth round, I was pleased that my options weren't all gone.

Robinson is a huge offensive tackle prospect with good athleticism who played left tackle at South Carolina. He is frustrating like Seantrel Henderson was, where you know that he has talent, but seems to show no motivation to get better at the game. He was the best available player at that point in the draft, and he does address a need for the team. My hope is that the players on the roster might light a fire for him.

Round 6 (2): Mike Hull, LB, Penn State

With Buffalo's second sixth-round pick, I picked up Hull, the small but productive Penn State linebacker. Hull reminds me of Chris Borland in last year's draft; while he's not as incredibly instinctive as Borland was, Hull follows plays well and fills against the run. He'd be a useful backup and special teams player for this team.

Round 7: Derek Lott, ES, Tennessee-Chattanooga

With very few positions addressed thus far, I wanted to make sure I picked at least one depth contributor before the close of the draft. Lott is another rotational lineman who could be plugged in behind Stefan Charles and Corbin Bryant. He plays with good strength and balance, but his technique needs improving, and he didn't make an impact against higher-caliber opponents. He's a project, but there's potential.

Operating this draft was rough. Trading up for Petty limited my options significantly. I only had a couple picks left, and I couldn't trade up while keeping my future draft intact. I got a couple of late-round contributors, but it's possible that no one from this draft contributes at all in 2015. I think I can do better, especially since (in my opinion) Petty shouldn't be picked that early this weekend.

Securing value and still getting our guy

For the second mock (full results here), I wanted to channel Whaley as much as I could. Whaley's all about trading back when he thinks the player he wants is undervalued, and he trades up when he knows he wants a player. My goal in this draft was to maximize the value of every single pick. I made several trades, and there wasn't a way for me to record the transactions once the draft had finished, but I'll try to sum them up as best I can with each pick.

TRADE: Buffalo trades Round 2 pick to Seattle for Rounds 2 and 3 picks
TRADE: Buffalo trades Rounds 2 and 5 picks to Dallas for Round 2 pick, draft Carl Davis, GC, Iowa

At first, I traded down with Seattle to gain a pick. There were still several players left on the board, and I knew I could afford to wait. With a couple picks left in round two, I decided my options were getting limited, and I traded up to select Davis.

The Iowa tackle brings an enticing package of size and athleticism to the table, and when he's playing with good technique, he can be a force all around the line. He'd be a great complement to Dareus and Williams in the defensive line rotation.

TRADE: Buffalo trades Rounds 3, 5, and 6 picks to Chicago for Round 3 pick, draft Petty

Partway through the third round, i decided not to allow for any risk that Petty might be drafted by another quarterback-needy team. I traded up to secure him without losing too much value.

TRADE: Buffalo trades Rounds 3 and 6 picks to Houston for Rounds 4 and 5 picks, draft Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, DB, Oregon

With the primary needs secured, I traded back again, and was lucky enough to land Ekpre-Olomu with my fourth-round pick. The Oregon cornerback was at one point considered the top cornerback prospect in the draft, but an ACL injury and a lack of size pushed him into the middle rounds. In Buffalo he'd be a great fit, able to play as a corner or safety, inside or outside. The team's depth is good enough that he has time to recover before seeing the field.

Round 5: Blake Bell, TE, Oklahoma

I thought it was important that the Bills address either their tight end or linebacker depth in this year's draft, so with the team's fifth-round pick I grabbed Bell, the surprisingly effective former quarterback who started playing as a full-time tight end this year. Bell has great size for the position, a quarterback's field vision, and good power in his runs. He's still learning the nuances of blocking and route running, but I think he has great upside.

Round 7: Austin Hill, WR, Arizona

The late-round picks in this draft are all about getting guys with high potential, so they can stick around on the roster when all is said and done. Hill's a lottery ticket, especially with this team's depth at the position, but I like his odds. He was one of my favorite up-and-coming receiver prospects in 2012, but then he tore his ACL before the 2013 season and lost a lot of his explosiveness. He's slowly getting his speed back, but even slowed down, Hill has the potential to be an effective chain-mover thanks to his size and physicality. He's one of those receivers that just wins at the catch point, and that makes him a reliable target for any quarterback. If he could find his speed from a couple years ago, he'd be a legitimate first-round talent.

This second draft relies on the Bills not being so enamored with Petty that they give other options a chance first. It also relies on other teams having a similarly low value on Petty. I don't know if I have any idea how the draft will eventually play out, but I like the results from this second draft much better than the first. Staying away from the first round allows Buffalo to find an instant contributor in Davis, get their quarterback, and still find talented players with the flexibility they have in the later rounds. I hope that Buffalo runs a plan like this during draft weekend.