I know what you might be thinking.
How the heck does the trade of the top overall pick really make a difference to the Buffalo Bills in 2016, who own the 19th overall pick? As we all well know, the variables of the NFL Draft is a big part of the reason for its popularity.
To think about how the Los Angeles Rams moving up to the top selection helps the Bills, admittedly, one needs to travel down the rabbit hole a bit. It’s a rabbit hole based in logic, but a vortex nonetheless.
But hey, it’s April, so why not have a little fun, right? So first, let’s review:
The Tennessee Titans dealt the first overall pick to the Rams in exchange for the 15th, 43rd, 45th, 76th, and a first and third-round pick in 2017. The Rams also got a fourth and sixth-round pick, but that doesn’t matter much for our purposes here.
So, with the Rams at the top pick, that means they’re taking a quarterback — and if you sift through all the smoke out there from the morning, it’s looking like more are saying it’s North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz than Cal’s Jared Goff. If that holds true, that means Cleveland is likely standing pat and taking Goff at second overall, and the Bills are already making out because of this deal.
Why, might you ask? Allow me.
Now, rather than one of those two quarterbacks lingering in the top 10 for either San Francisco (7th overall), Philadelphia (8th overall), or any other team that could move up to take one, the stakes are even higher for those quarterback-hungry teams. Paxton Lynch has become the most interesting player in the draft, because his eventual landing spot might just be higher than many were anticipating.
Don’t count out Lynch with the Chicago Bears at 11, or either of the potential trade-up teams: the New York Jets, and the Denver Broncos to get into the Top 15. It is the top 15, because the Bills are doing a good job at convincing the world that they want a quarterback in the first round — or that they’re firmly in the quarterback market.
Here’s the thing: unless the name on that card for the Bills is Carson Wentz (which it won’t because he’ll be long gone), it is my personal belief that the Bills will not be selecting a quarterback at 19th overall. I know: they had dinner with Paxton Lynch, they had Michigan State’s Connor Cook in for a visit, they met with Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg around the time of his pro day — I’ve seen all the hubbub.
I don’t believe the first-round quarterback hype.
With that in mind, and the fact that three, or what they probably hope is four quarterbacks going in the Top 18 picks, all that does is shift the rest of the board down. Ole Miss tackle Laremy Tunsil gets pushed down, which means Oregon defensive linemen DeForest Buckner gets pushed down — and the latter of those two is the key.
The Bills are taking a long, hard look at the defensive linemen available in the draft, and the longer that Buckner waits in the green room, the better it is for them. All the Rams trade up to the top spot, and the subsequent quarterback craze is doing is pushing the talent the Bills are actually inclined to draft down the board and closer to their selection. It doesn’t even have to be a defensive lineman, it all helps in their search for an impact defensive player.
So Sheldon Rankins, Darron Lee, Reggie Ragland, or insert name here… whomever is the apple of their eye, the chances that player is available at 19 just improved mightily thanks to the quarterback rush.