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2021 NFL Draft: What’s the sweet spot for a Buffalo Bills second-round trade up?

With their AFC Championship Game appearance, the Buffalo Bills don’t make their second pick in the 2021 NFL Draft until pick 61 at the back end of the second round. Not one to sit around, Bills general manager Brandon Beane could look to trade up into the middle of the second round to nab a first-round grade or a starting-caliber player who is falling down the board.

In 2020, the Bills stood firm at pick 54 to take A.J. Epenesa as their first pick in the draft, after shipping their first-rounder to the Minnesota Vikings for Stefon Diggs. In 2019, the Bills moved up in the second round from 40 to 38 to take offensive lineman Cody Ford, costing them the 158th overall selection. In 2018, Buffalo used both of their second-round picks in the trade to land QB Josh Allen at seven overall. Under de facto man in charge Sean McDermott in 2017, the Bills traded up twice in the second round; first for Zay Jones at pick 37, costing them picks 44 and 91 and then again for Dion Dawkins at pick 63 for pick 75 plus two fifth-round picks.

Clearly looking for immediate upgrades, the Bills have valued maneuvering in the second round, with Beane talking at the time about trading up even further for Ford. So where are the sweet spots for trading up from pick 61?

Pairing Buffalo’s second- and third-round picks would potentially net the Bills pick 48 where the Las Vegas Raiders are currently scheduled to pick at the 16th selection of the round. Moving up to 53 with their second- and third-round picks would get them Tennessee’s second-round selection and their fourth-round pick in return, but Tennessee already has two third-rounders.

Beyond using the third-rounder and without a fourth-round pick, the Bills are limited in their ability to move up much more than a few picks. They would need to use one of their fifth-round picks plus their sixth-round selection to move up just three spots to pick 58 in a swap with the Baltimore Ravens Kansas City Chiefs. Both fifth-rounders might get them up to the Seattle Seahawks at 56, gaining five spots. Those late-round picks might be more useful to move up in the third, fourth, or fifth rounds later on, though.

Knowing Buffalo doesn’t have a ton of spots available on their final 53-man roster, trading up to get a better-caliber player makes sense especially if you think the offseason will be truncated due to COVID-19, making it harder for rookies to make an impact on the coaching staff. The Bills just don’t have a ton of capital to move the needle in the second round.