Without a first-round pick, Buffalo Bills fans have lost some of their zest for the 2020 NFL Draft (while simultaneously watching some sweet Stefon Diggs highlights). They’ve turned to speculating about a few different topics, including the possibility of trading back into the first round. That’s not going to happen.
General manager Brandon Beane said last week during his virtual press conference that the team was going to be sitting out the first round (while simultaneously watching some sweet Stefon Diggs highlights, too). The reason they will be inactive is due to the cost of trading back into the first round.
In 2018, the Baltimore Ravens traded up into the end of the first round. They used picks 52 and 125 plus a 2019 second-rounder to move up to 32 and also received the 132nd pick.
Buffalo currently sits at pick 54, so a very similar spot to the Ravens’ position in 2018. It’s about the same trade as Buffalo giving up their second- and four-round picks in 2019 plus a second-round selection in 2021.
Obviously, that cost would be pretty darn steep with Buffalo entering the portion of the rebuild where they have to give substantial contacts to their young core of players. That future second-rounder could be a replacement option for an aging veteran on the defensive line, defensive backfield, or offensive line.
If you wanted to use just 2020 draft capital, it would look even crazier. Buffalo would likely need to give up picks in the second, third, fourth, fifth, and sixth rounds just to get to first-round trade value. It would gut the cheap depth and potential home-run swing you can find in the draft.
The Ravens made the move to secure a cost-controlled year of a young quarterback, looking ahead at the fifth-year option. First-round picks have a team option for a cheaper fifth year than using a franchise tag but second-round picks don’t. Using the trade up wasn’t just a way to secure the ability to draft him, it was also to delay a ballooning of his contract by one more year.
Buffalo already has a cost-controlled QB on their roster for the next several years and there isn’t a position with a great enough impact for Buffalo to make this move. It’s much more likely you see a falling player with a first-round grade that Beane trades up to get in the 40s.