The Buffalo Bills were busy during the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft, trading up twice to land key prospects. Giving up their two second-round picks to go from twelfth to seventh, Buffalo selected Josh Allen, QB from Wyoming. (The Bills also received a seventh round pick.)
Not long after that, the Bills moved up again. This time from 22nd to 16th to select the promising young linebacker Tremaine Edmunds. The Bills sweetened this move by swapping one of their third round picks for a fifth. This draft will likely be the defining one for Brandon Beane, so how did he do?
From a value perspective there’s not much to question. Matt Warren consulted the two more popular trade charts to see how those shook out (Allen here and Edmunds here). On the Tremaine Edmunds trade, the Bills nearly broke even making that trade a fair value. In the case of Allen, they didn’t fare quite so well, overpaying close to 30%. It’s noted that trades near the top of the draft shouldn’t be expected to follow the charts very closely. Strictly based on cost though, the easy argument is that the Bills lost by a small margin.
There is a difference between cost and value though. I’ve been on the side of overpaying for the quarterback the Bills coveted under the argument that the value of landing “their guy” would outweigh the sunk cost. The question we examine here then is if the value justified the “overpay.”
The Bills have long been connected to Josh Allen, to the point where he was overwhelmingly selected as the expected first pick during the Buffalo Rumblings Contributors roundtable. Sometimes a smokescreen provides the most truth and I can’t help but come away thinking anything other than that the Bills landed “their guy.” Pre-draft I presented that I would have been fine with them trading to the second (or even first) pick to land “their guy.” The savings cost to nab him at seven leaves me ecstatic. Brandon Beane played “chicken” with a decision that will decide his fate and those of his entire team and won. It’s arguable that Allen would have fallen further, but with at least the Arizona Cardinals also reportedly interested in him, the evidence suggests it wouldn’t have been much further.
Regarding the value aspect, to this author the single most important difference between landing “the guy” versus “a guy” can be captured by the idea of commitment. When it’s your guy, you throw all your weight behind him and that is a hard thing to put a price on. For this trade, the value of landing their guy easily outweighs the slight overpay per charts.
Brandon Beane indicated he had been ready to move two firsts for Allen, with rumors suggesting some teams might have been asking. The timing of the trade also was likely a major catalyst in moving back up for Edmunds, who was felt to be a steal at pick 16. The wait allowed Beane to retain the 22nd pick. Without it, Edmunds probably isn’t a Bill.
The value is also quite high on the Edmunds trade. The Bills select a prospect they anticipate will be an impact player at a position of dire need. They flipped a third round prospect to a fifth rounder, which presumably decreases the chances of that player having a long-term home in Buffalo. It’s a price, but one easily parted with for the anticipated returns.
In the end, the success of these moves will be determined on the field. This would be the case no matter who they identified as “their guy(s).” We won’t know how it all plays out for quite some time. For today’s consideration, Brandon Beane executed a draft day plan to land two prospects his team identified as must have for Buffalo. In doing so, he made sacrifices that were acceptable, at minimum. If they pan out, those sacrifices will be insignificant.
The following cartoon was created following pre-draft moves, but sums up my thoughts nicely. Job well done, Beane!