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2021 NFL Draft: Trading into top ten would be costly for Buffalo Bills

We aren’t including players here.

If the Buffalo Bills believe they are one player away from getting over the hump into the Super Bowl, a massive trade could be just what the doctor ordered to obtain a top-flight player. General manager Brandon Beane hasn’t been shy about making moves, but even with first-round trades and multi-step moves such as those to acquire Stefon Diggs or jettison Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby, this would be the mother of all trades.

Back in 2011, the Atlanta Falcons did just that. After going 13-3 in 2010 with a Pro Bowl QB, the Falcons pushed all their chips into the center of the table to move up from 27 to six to select WR Julio Jones to pair with Roddy White. Falcons general manager Thomas Dimitroff traded a first-, second-, and fourth-round pick plus the next year’s first- and fourth-round picks to move up 21 spots.

Jones has seven Pro Bowls, two All-Pro teams, and is the NFL’s all-time leader in receiving yards per game. He couldn’t have done much better. But was the trade worth it?

The Falcons went 10-6 and 13-3 in the next two seasons before falling off a cliff to 4-12, starting a string of three straight seasons without a playoff berth. They went 11-5 in 2016 , scoring 540 points in the process, and lost the Super Bowl.

Dimitroff has said he would make the move again and again, citing Jones’s success in the league. Especially with the Falcons up against the salary cap, he bet on Jones having an impact he couldn’t get from a cheap veteran, and in that he was right.

Will the Bills similarly mortgage their future after a successful season where they find themselves up against the salary cap?

Florida tight end Kyle Pitts is the name I keep hovering around for a move like this. He is a game-changing player with the versatility to impact any game in the mold of other top tight ends around the league. He also may not make it to pick five. If a run on QBs at the top of the draft pushes him down to the bottom half of the top ten, it might be enticing.

Sitting at pick 7, the Detroit Lions already have a stud tight end and a long rebuild in front of them. Maybe they’re keen on trading down to pick up ammo. Let’s put together a hypothetical. (Rich Hill trade values in parentheses.)

Buffalo gets

  • 1 - 7 (426)

Detroit gets

  • 1 - 30 (196.31)
  • 2 - 62 (83.98)
  • 3 - 93 (42.07)
  • 2022 first-round selection
  • 2022 fourth-round selection

It’s a bigger swing than the Falcons, moving up from 30 to seven (23 spots) instead of 27 to six (21 spots), and it requires Buffalo’s third-round selection in 2021 instead of the fourth-rounder the Falcons sent.

That trade would be close to balancing out. According to the Rich Hill chart, 187.78 is left over, which is roughly the equivalent of the 32nd overall pick. Because it’s a year from now, there would need to be a sweetener and that fourth-rounder could (should?) be enough to do the trick.