While the Buffalo Bills’ playoff hopes received a significant boost after beating the Indianapolis Colts in the snowy confines of New Era Field on Sunday, the fact that the team was forced to rely on Joe Webb to play meaningful snaps under center underscored the need for a franchise quarterback.
In his latest mock draft, SB Nation’s Dan Kadar has the Bills orchestrating a trade with the San Francisco 49ers for the 4th overall pick in the draft. He has them selecting USC quarterback Sam Darnold with said pick.
Armed with an extra first-round pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Bills could package picks to leap higher into the first round to find their signal caller. But just how much would they have to give up?
Let’s use the framework of last year’s trade between the Cleveland Browns and Houston Texans as a loose blueprint. That’s the trade that netted Houston its quarterback of the future in Deshaun Watson. The Texans gave up the 25th overall pick in the draft and a 2018 first-rounder for the Browns’ 12th overall pick.
If the Bills need to move high into the top 10 for a quarterback, it will cost more. It would cost both of Buffalo’s first-round picks this year. The Bills would also need to throw in a second-round pick this year or a first in 2019. The price might seem exorbitant, but that’s the cost of a quarterback.
4. Buffalo Bills (via San Francisco 49ers): Sam Darnold, QB, Southern California
This is how high the Bills may have to move to get a quarterback. It’s unlikely the Browns and Giants would trade down because they need quarterbacks. Although there is a danger in trading up for the third quarterback off the board, it’s a necessary move for the Bills. Darnold struggled at times this season, particularly early on, but he can make some impressive throws. More than any other quarterback prospect in this year’s draft, he knows how to throw to his open receivers.
It’s clear that the Bills have the draft capital to execute a trade up into the top ten, and Sam Darnold is one of the quarterbacks I view as being worthy of such a trade. As our own Dan Lavoie wrote in his mock draft, this franchise doesn’t need half-measures. Giving up two first round picks and a second rounder would hurt, but the pain would be mitigated by the fact that the lost picks would only affect the 2018 draft and would result in the team having a ten or twenty-year starter at the position. If the Bills have a chance to trade up for Sam Darnold, they should take it.