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2022 SB Nation NFL Writers’ Mock Draft: Bills find trade-up opportunity

When you have a consensus top player available and multiple draft picks who won’t make the team, go get your guy

Traditionally speaking, when we hit the annual NFL Writers’ Mock Draft in the spring, we look for logical places for the Buffalo Bills to trade up. In 2022, no big-swing options presented themselves. With Buffalo picking 25, a trade up to the teens to get a player we really coveted would have been too rich.

As always I had my trusty triumvirate of NFL Draft experts at my side—Dan Lavoie, Andrew Griffin, and Bruce Nolan—advise me on all things relating to the NFL’s annual selection meeting.


SB Nation Writers’ Mock Top 10

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars/Big Cat Country: Aiden Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
  2. Detroit Lions/Pride of Detroit: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
  3. Houston Texans/Battle Red Blog: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame
  4. New York Jets/Gang Green Nation: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
  5. New York Giants/Big Blue View: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
  6. Carolina Panthers/Cat Scratch Reader: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
  7. New York Giants (via CHI)/Big Blue View: Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
  8. Atlanta Falcons/The Falcoholic: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
  9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)/Field Gulls: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
  10. New York Jets (via SEA)/Gang Green Nation: Drake London, WR USC

We waited until pick 11 to even address a potential trade up. We targeted LSU cornerback Derek Stingley, Jr. in this spot, but when we looked at the compensation, it was a very rich deal. We used the Kansas City Chiefs’ trade up for Patrick Mahomes as our model, and pick 25, pick 89 (third round) and next year’s first-round pick for a cornerback is an awful lot. While one of our advisors said “mmmmmaybe,” we ultimately decided to wait. Then the Washington Commanders picked Stingley at 11 anyway, so it’s unlikely we could have traded for him.

After that pick, we looked at the rest of our big board. The top safety was gone, there’s no need to trade up for an offensive lineman, the WR talent is still strong, and some of our favorites for the 25 spot (LB Devin Lloyd, CB Trent McDuffie, and CB Andrew Booth) were still available. McDuffie went 12th overall, but as the rest of the top 16 continued to fall, there were no worries we would be left without a good candidate at 25.

Picks 17 through 19 got us nervous, with three straight WRs off the board. I’m convinced the Bills need to add a pass catcher in this draft at WR and/or TE, with the urgency depending on what new offensive coordinator Ken Dorsey wants to do with 2-TE sets. If he’s going to stick with one TE, I want to add a WR who can play early and often if Stefon Diggs or Gabriel Davis miss time. If he wants to run 2-TE, I want to add a tight end who can contribute in Year 1 if Dawson Knox or O.J. Howard get hurt. This run on wide receivers wasn’t good for that conversation, but we still had multiple guys on our board worth drafting at 25.


SB Nation Writers’ Mock Top 19

  1. Jacksonville Jaguars/Big Cat Country: Aiden Hutchinson, DE, Michigan
  2. Detroit Lions/Pride of Detroit: Kayvon Thibodeaux, EDGE, Oregon
  3. Houston Texans/Battle Red Blog: Kyle Hamilton, Safety, Notre Dame
  4. New York Jets/Gang Green Nation: Ikem Ekwonu, OT, NC State
  5. New York Giants/Big Blue View: Evan Neal, OT, Alabama
  6. Carolina Panthers/Cat Scratch Reader: Malik Willis, QB, Liberty
  7. New York Giants (via CHI)/Big Blue View: Sauce Gardner, CB, Cincinnati
  8. Atlanta Falcons/The Falcoholic: Jermaine Johnson, EDGE, Florida State
  9. Seattle Seahawks (via DEN)/Field Gulls: Trevor Penning, OT, Northern Iowa
  10. New York Jets (via SEA)/Gang Green Nation: Drake London, WR USC
  11. Washington Commanders/Hogs Haven: Derek Stingley Jr., CB, LSU
  12. Minnesota Vikings/Daily Norseman - Trent McDuffie, CB, Washington
  13. Houston Texans (via CLE)/Battle Red Blog: Travon Walker, DE, Georgia
  14. Baltimore Ravens/Baltimore Beatdown: Charles Cross, OT, Miss. State
  15. Philadelphia Eagles (via MIA)/Bleeding Green Nation: Jordan Davis, DT, Georgia
  16. New Orleans Saints (via IND/PHI)/Canal Street Chronicles: Kenny Pickett, QB, Pittsburgh
  17. Los Angeles Chargers/Bolts From the Blue: Jameson Williams, WR, Alabama
  18. Philadelphia Eagles (via NO)/Bleeding Green Nation: Chris Olave, WR, Ohio State
  19. New Orleans Saints (via PHI)/Canal Street Chronicles: Garrett Wilson, WR, Ohio State

We had been chatting as the picks came in, but after the run on wide receivers, I asked all three of my advisors to provide me with a Top 5 Remaining Big Board. Clemson CB Andrew Booth, Jr. was the only player on all three lists.

“There’s nobody I want to move for. Booth is closest but he feels like he’ll fall,” wrote one of my advisors after the top 19 picks.

Armed with a consensus top player but comfortable taking one of a handful of players, I started making some calls to see if I could get a cheap trade up. I’m not willing to give up my third-round pick, but I’ll package some Day 3 picks to move. I don’t have many holes on my roster, so it’s not likely that all those picks will make the team anyway, right?

The Pittsburgh Steelers bit at pick 20. Here was my lowball offer:

- Pick 25
- Pick 130 (4th)
- Pick 168 (5th)
- Pick 203 (6th)

Buffalo still has picks in the second and third rounds plus late picks in the sixth and seventh rounds to address holes and upcoming losses of players at pass catcher, running back, safety, linebacker, interior offensive line, and more. The Bills would end the draft making five picks, and there’s a good chance all could make the roster. Even though Booth might fall, I don’t want to risk missing the one guy my three advisors all liked.

Booth solidifies the CB2 position for the next several years and can help Tre’Davious White return from injury at his own pace. He can push Dane Jackson for that second CB role and even if he stays as the third cornerback, the Bills will have a cost-controlled option to start at CB if someone gets hurt. Especially with the age of the safeties and the cost of the rest of the back-seven starters, having Jackson and Booth at cornerback for the next few years is huge. I was willing to pull the trigger to move up.

Bills’ remaining picks

  • Round 1 - No. 20 (Andrew Booth, Jr.)
  • Round 2 – No. 57
  • Round 3 – No. 89
  • Round 6 – No. 185
  • Round 7 – No. 231

Poll

Do you approve of our move?

This poll is closed

  • 11%
    I like the trade, don’t like the pick.
    (120 votes)
  • 49%
    I don’t want to trade up.
    (526 votes)
  • 39%
    Love the trade, love the pick
    (421 votes)
1067 votes total Vote Now

I also sent trade proposals to the rest of the picks in the 20s, not knowing if the Steelers would bite and keeping my options open for Booth. Only one team blog agreed to the move.

Pick 21 (New England Patriots)

- Pick 25
- Pick 130 (4th)
- Pick 168 (5th)

“I don’t know if that would be enough for me to make the swap. Belichick would probably do it in a heartbeat but I like the idea of keeping everything on the straight and narrow. We’ll stay out at 21.”

Pick 22 (Green Bay Packers)

- Pick 25
- Pick 130 (4th)
- Pick 185 (6th)

The Packers declined. They already have extra picks in the draft because of the Davante Adams trade. When it came time for their pick, they were a hard no. They really liked the player they were able to secure.

Pick 23 (Arizona Cardinals)

- Pick 25
- Pick 130 (4th)

As long as we take Booth, the Cardinals would make the trade. They are targeting an offensive lineman and have two top players left, so moving down two spots ensures they get one of them.

Pick 24 (Dallas Cowboys)

- Pick 25
- Pick 168 (5th)

They passed.