Niagara Gazette

Sports

March 28, 2014

MEILER: Bills' interest in top pick makes no sense

Niagara Gazette — Most NFL teams hope to make a splash at the entry draft.

If recent reports are true, the Buffalo Bills might be cannonballing off the deep end.

Veteran NFL scribe Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report wrote Thursday that sources indicated the Bills may be interested in moving up to the top of this year's draft, a surprising revelation of a potential move that would be nothing more than a blindfolded swing for the fences.

This year's draft could go down as one of the deepest in recent history. Analysts have raved about the potential of the top 10-15 available players, meaning the Bills should have a few options when they pick at No. 9. Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews and wide receiver Mike Evans have been popular projections in recent mock drafts, as has Alabama safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.

So why would the Bills trade up?

General manager Doug Whaley and head coach Doug Marrone would have to fall in love with a prospect, and even then they'd have to weigh the potential reward to the inherent risk.

Setting the bar low, it would likely cost Buffalo the No. 9 pick, its second-round pick (No. 41) and a first next season to move to the top of the draft. That's three potential starting-caliber players for one, a cost Whaley and Marrone would have to be sure was worth it before moving up.

Which brings up the next question: Which top prospect would be worth it?

The top players not expected to be around at No. 9 are quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and (possibly) Blake Bortles, wide receiver Sammy Watkins, offensive tackle Greg Robinson, defensive end Jadeveon Clowney and linebacker (and University at Buffalo product) Khalil Mack.

Watkins, Robinson and Mack should be ruled out based on the availability of similar players at No. 9. Evans, Matthews and UCLA's Anthony Barr should all be available to when Buffalo picks, and the gap between them and the members of the top trio probably isn't worth trading up.

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