Rumors came out last Friday that the Texans were interested in trading out of their #1 pick. The frontrunner according to these sources to trade up was none other than those Buffalo Bills. When the story broke out, it was spinned to mean one thing or another. Whether true or not, trading up to #1 is an interesting idea for the Bills, but why would they actually do it, and what would it be for?
Why the Bills would do it
The Bills have a defense on the brink of being elite. Last year they finished 1st in the AFC in sacks and top 10 in pass defense and turnovers. The only downside was their run defense was atrocious but thankfully they fixed that with the signings of Keith Rivers and Brandon Spikes. However with the scheme change to a 4-3 means DE and SLB are positions that are lacking a truly great talent. This is where the top of the draft could be greatly beneficial to them. If the Bills believe that they are ready for the playoffs (and they are) then a move like this would give a shot of adrenaline to a franchise which has been a disappointment the last decade.
Who would it be for?
Even though the media has linked this QB or that QB to the Bills (only to find out later that the Bills had zero interest), the one position they would not trade up for is QB. The Bills are all in behind EJ Manuel and have said so over and over to the point where it is absurd to think otherwise (yet people still do). No if the Bills wanted to trade up it would be for two players; Jadeveon Clowney and Khalil Mack. Both of them are the best at their current position and immediately would make a good defense elite.
Khalil Mack is a local player from the University of Buffalo and is considered a better version of Von Miller. He can rush the passer, stop the run and drop back in coverage. Mack would immediately be slotted at SLB and give the Bills as nasty linebacking group of Kiko, Spikes and Mack. Plus it would give the Bills another elite pass rusher and in my opinion you can never have too many pass rushers.
Now on to Clowney who I believe is the only player in this draft worth trading up for. Clowney comes from the SEC and was such a dominant threat that teams gameplanned entirely around him. His junior year had teams double or triple teaming him, holding him on every play, even running the plays away from Clowney. While his stats suffered, it allowed his teammates stats to improve dramatically (similar to what Mario did last year). Having Clowney would give the Bills the best front four in the AFC and give the AFC East QBs nightmares. Also with the glaring hole at the DE position opposite of Mario and the fact new DC Schwartz likes rushing four, Clowney would be the perfect fit.
Neither of them fill the biggest needs of right tackle or safety but in my opinion, the 1st pick can either be for a need or to make a super unit, a unit so dominating that teams have to gameplan completely around it. Either Mack or Clowney would give the Bills a nasty unit of pass rushers that would send teams running. Plus with the inclusion of Spikes and Rivers, running it up the gut will not lead to any success either. This would give the Bills a truly dominating defense, similar to what the Seahawks and Niners have, a defense that can allow a young offense to grow and develop long-term success.
The cost would potentially be high, with more than likely at the minimum the cost would be this year’s 1st, next year’s 1st and this year’s 2nd, but for the chance to get either Clowney or Mack would potentially be worth it. However the only way I would or the Bills would get behind it is if they get an elite WR talent in Free Agency. The Bills are trying very hard to get Desean Jackson and he would be the type of talent that would make the Bills more comfortable in taking a gamble on getting the #1 pick. If they don’t get Djax, then the idea of them trading up is….Inconceivable!