There’s an assortment of directions the Bills could go when they’re on the clock with the 10th pick in next Thursday’s NFL Draft. Wide receiver, cornerback, quarterback, tackle, safety, and linebacker are all viable options, based on need and interest from the organization.
Truthfully, the Bills are handicapped with minimal cap space and have only 72 players currently on the roster for next season. Throw in the six draft picks Buffalo currently possesses and that number will balloon to 78, leaving the team woefully shy of the 90-man limit allowed for training camp this summer. Getting to 90 is going to be a struggle with these limitations, and considering how deep this 2017 draft class is at many of the positions Buffalo needs to fill, trading back from the 10 spot to acquire more picks and thus more players, is an extremely attractive option. One the Bills are probably already considering.
As the old saying goes though, it takes two to tango. Trading back in the draft can’t happen without a trade partner. So what teams may be willing to make a move with the Bills to move up to 10? Well, here’s five potential suitors…
1) Cleveland Browns – Pick 12th
Assuming the Browns do the logical thing with the first overall pick and select Myles Garrett, they’ll surely be chomping at the bit to get themselves a quarterback, next. Similar to what many believe the Browns are doing right now, by leaking their interest in a quarterback at No. 1 in an effort to dupe a team into trading up, at 10 the Bills could attempt to beat Cleveland at their own game, if they haven’t traded back into the top 10 already. Buffalo’s interest in quarterbacks is well documented. They’ve held pre-draft visits with Temple’s Phillip Walker and Pittsburgh’s Nathan Peterman, and watched private workouts for three of the class’s top talents: Mitch Trubisky, DeShone Kizer and Patrick Mahomes. The Browns have expressed strong interest of their own in Trubisky, and if he’s somehow still available at 10 with the Bills sending smoke signals that they’re going to take him, don’t be surprised if Cleveland attempts to swap places with Buffalo.
That could go for other quarterback prospects as well, but essentially if Cleveland has any worry that the Bills will nab a QB they’re interested in at 10, they’ll consider trading up, especially with all the draft capital they have. For Buffalo, it’s not a bad idea either, as they’d drop just two spots in the first round to 12 and likely bring in another pick or two in the process.
2) Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Pick 19th
Safety and running back remain Tampa Bay’s two biggest needs entering the draft, and while trading up if say, Malik Hooker fell to 10 is possible, a deep safety class could encourage the Buccaneers to wait altogether. Now, running back on the other hand, may be worth moving up for. LSU’s Leonard Fournette is of course the crown jewel of the class and could be taken in the top 10, with FSU’s Dalvin Cook and Stanford’s Christian McCafferey considered the second and third RBs of the class. With the Eagles also potentially eyeing a running back five picks in front of Tampa Bay, leapfrogging them to snag one could make sense.
Whether or not Fournette is available at 10, all depends on how valuable the teams drafting in the first nine spots value the running back position or if they need one. Last year Dallas took Ezekiel Elliot third overall and he had a monster year, so perhaps their is more value to taking a ballcarrier early than previous years. Fournette may even go in top five according to some experts, which means Dalvin Cook would be next in play. If Tampa Bay really wants to jump Philadelphia to ensure they get one of the top running backs in the class, trading up to 10 with Buffalo makes a ton of sense.
3) Houston Texans – Pick 25th
Houston has one major need and we all know what it is. Quarterback. They jumped at the opportunity to rid themselves of Brock Osweiler’s albatross of a contract, essentially paying Cleveland a second round pick just to take him off their hands, and probably figured Tony Romo was a real option for them, until he announced his retirement.
That leaves the Texans with Tom Savage as the man pulling the strings under center, who is far from a long-term solution at quarterback. Trading up to snag one could very well be in play for them, especially if multiple QBs come off the board early. Again, when the 10th pick rolls around, Buffalo can broadcast their QB interest to the rest of the teams – genuine or not – and maybe force a team like Houston to trade up to ensure they get their guy. Recent reports indicate that for Bill O’Brien, that could be Texas Tech’s Patrick Mahomes. Now, moving 15 picks is going to come with a lofty price. That’s good news for the Bills of course, who could acquire a haul of picks in return.
4) Detroit Lions – Pick 21st
The Lions most pressing need entering the draft is linebacker and in a top-heavy linebacker class, trading up to ensure they get a superior talent makes a lot of sense. Alabama’s Rueben Foster is considered the top LB in the class of 2017 and a perennial top-10 pick, but injuries and off-the-field issues could leave some teams passing on him. If Foster is still on the board at 10, don’t be surprised if the Lions anxiously attempt to move up and snare him. Foster isn’t the only linebacker in play though for Detroit if they were to trade up. Temple’s Haason Reddick has seen his stock rise immensely in recent weeks and is another guy who will surely be gone by the time they’d draft at 21. If the Lions want a shot at either of these guys, sending the Bills some picks to move up to 10 is a good idea, however, like Houston it will come with a steeper price, considering they’d jump up 12 spots into the top 10.
Foster isn’t the only linebacker in play though for Detroit if they were to trade up. Temple’s Haason Reddick has seen his stock rise immensely in recent weeks and is another guy who will surely be gone by the time they’d draft at 21. If the Lions want a shot at either of these talents, sending the Bills some picks to move up to 10 is a good idea, however, like Houston it will come with a steeper price considering they’d jump up 12 spots into the top 10.
5) Arizona Cardinals – 13th
Carson Palmer’s best days are behind him as he enters his age 37 season, making quarterback an undeniable need for the Cardinals. Arizona has been able to get by for a decade, by taking a chance on aging veteran quarterbacks and hitting, but haven’t really had a young, franchise quarterback of their own to nurture.
This could be the year they go get one and it may require jumping a team like Cleveland – drafting one spot in front of them at 12 – to ensure that they don’t miss out on their favorite talent. For head coach Bruce Arians, it sounds like that guy is Notre Dame’s DeShone Kizer. So, if some of the top talents are off the board early and Arizona becomes fearful that Cleveland could has their eyes on Kizer, making a deal with the Bills to move up to 10 could be a real possibility.
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