Buffalo Bills: Bills should use 2019 Draft to continue pattern they started years ago

Buffalo Bills. #17 (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
Buffalo Bills. #17 (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /

The Buffalo Bills enter the 2019 NFL Draft with quite a conundrum, they have some minor needs but also have a lot of anchors already in place. So, what they should do on draft day is follow the simple pattern they have already started.

For once, the Buffalo Bills have a bright future ahead of them entering the NFL Draft. They already have a franchise QB in Josh Allen and they have a young core of defensive talent ready to keep them top five in the NFL in that department.

The Buffalo Bills are penciled in to draft ninth overall this season after a 6-10 season. However, the 6-10 from 2018 does not leave me as bitter as all the 6-10’s prior. The reason for that being could be the fact that the Bills have drafted relatively well the last few seasons and while some things fell apart in 2018, the plan is already in place. Spoiler: it involves number 17.

Anyway, this draft is really one of the most wide open we have seen in a long time. For once, the Browns are not in the top five of the draft so that alone is pretty unique, but this is not about them. We also the enigmatic Arizona Cardinals and a brand new coaching regime leading the way, if they draft a QB, it could blow the whole draft wide open.

Related Story. Sean McDermott ready to lead the Bills with most of his demons finally behind him. light

My colleague here at Empire Writes Back, Alan, noted that even the Jets, who pick before the Bills could change things up too because they have no real plan. So, the Bills are in the top 10, but who will be there and who they should take there are two totally different questions. The Bills might quite literally be better off simply filling needs at this point, but that has not been what they have doing the last few years, which brings me to my next point, what the Bills should do in the draft…

The beginning of the pattern…

To start, we need to remember what they did in 2017. The Bills were stuck in mediocrity thanks to the Rex Ryan Era, boy was that not a blast, so in 2017 they entered the draft with the number 10 overall selection.

That selection would then be traded to the Kansas City Chiefs, who then go on to take, you guessed it, NFL MVP Patrick Mahomes. Do not even get me started on the “Bills could have had Mahomes” narrative. Where the Chiefs were at the time and where the Bills were black and white. Mahomes was set up to succeed in KC, maybe not Buffalo, yet, but I will get to that.

In return, the Bills would acquire the 27th overall pick from that draft. That pick would go on to become Tre’Davious White, an anchor of what is now the current core of the Bills defense. White played an integral part of the 2017 playoff run, so worth it in my book.

In addition to that, they would also get the Chiefs 2018 first round pick which at the time was a year away, I will also get to that. But, they also got the 91st overall pick from the Chiefs. They packaged that pick to help move up in the draft to get Zay Jones.

So, the Bills essentially traded back in the first round, got more and better draft capital to help build towards the future.

Trading back was the motive. Here. Also not, then General Manager, Doug Whaley, was canned after the draft. But Sean McDermott and the new ownership were in place paving the way for the offseason.

Remember, trading back in the first round…

Stunning Offseason…

After the 2017 Draft, it became clear the Bills were up to something when they traded Sammy Watkins and Ronald Darby, both were former first picks for the Bills in the 2014&15 Draft respectively, for 2018 Draft Capital, air essentially.

In those trades some where was the No. 56 pick in the 2018 draft, which would pay dividends down the road.

Notice the pattern again. The Bills, having Brandon Beane remind content with getting draft capital. Quantity over quality. Darby and Watkins were thought to be two of their best players.

The Bills made the playoffs in the 2017 season, the fist under Sean McDermott. That doesn’t have much to do with this story, just wanted to throw it in there as a reminder.

The new pattern presents itself…

Fast forward, jubilation from the playoff berth worn off or not, to the 2018 NFL Draft. Oh, what a day that would become. But remember, the Bills had, at this point, as kids these days say, “hella” draft picks. They had traded into this first round and had more mid-round picks from trades the prior offseason and even draft. Talk about superior planning.

On draft day, the Bills would end up trading the 12th pick they got from the Bengals, and the number 53, and 56 pick (the Watkins one, thanks again) to the Buccaneers for the 7th overall pick and a late round pick.

With that draft pick, the Buffalo Bills would select Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming. So, yeah they missed out on Mahomes, who was an unknown at the time and no matter how much that might always sting a little, the Bills magically turned that into Joshua Allen. So, that is not terrible.

Plus, let’s not forget they previously had Tyrod Taylor who if nothing else, was a capable NFL QB. Going into the 2018 draft, they knew more if they would need a QB. I am sure the Bills made that 2017 Draft day trade with KC knowing it was Tyrod’s make or break year. They knew to be sure to have 2018 picks stock piled for a rich QB class, essentially.

But as if Josh Allen is not the cherry on top, there is more. Allen was just the icing on the cake that is “The Process” because also in the first round of the 2018 draft the Bills would trade up again, they would take the 22 pick the Chiefs gave them from the prior season, a third round pick that they got from trading Taylor to the Browns earlier that offseason, again knowing they wanted Allen which is mind-blowing, for the 16th overall pick held by the Ravens.

With that 16th pick, the Bills would draft Tremaine Edmunds. At the time we all knew he would be a stud but he basically played every snap for the Bills in 2018 proving that trading up again was worth it.

Important middlemen….

I waited to do Bills related draft content for until free agency was over for a reason. Simply because the Bills’ needs are clearer than they have ever been as we are weeks away from the draft.

The same thing applies about the 2018 free agency class the Bills had and how it impacted the 2018 draft, but let’s keep it simple.

This free agency was hit hard by the Bills. They might have found the perfect balance between quality and quantity which makes the keeping the draft pattern possible. Some of the names the Bills signed included, John Brown Cole Beasley, Tyler Kroft, Mitch Morse, Ty Nsekhe, and Kevin Johnson.

Essentially, the Bills broke the bank (they still have money to spend I think) to get a number of different weapons for Josh Allen to have. They also did some fine tuning on defense to make sure they can be solid again. Free agency was all about building around Josh Allen, quantity of weapons and filled many other needs.

That leads to this for this year.

The draft pattern…

In 2017, the Bills traded back in the draft to get more picks which they flipped into quality talent. They still ended up with Tre’Davious White and an emerging Zay Jones in the process.

In 2018, they took all the picks they had banked to get Allen and Edmunds, probably the guys who will be the best players on the team in the coming seasons, in my opinion.

The pattern is simple. They traded back one year then traded up the next. That is why I think the Bills should aim to follow that same pattern this season. There is no clear need for the Bills anymore, per se, and they could use their top 10 leverage to trade back and strike gold again like they have proven they could do and have multiple picks that help the team as opposed to less.

Trade back. Trade up. That is what the Bills have done the last two seasons and they still ended up with White, Jones, Allen,Edmunds in the draft. Amongst others. That is incredible if you ask me. It is not about who they didn’t get, only if you are a glass half empty person. Objectively speaking, those are four solid players who could help the Bills for a long time. All by using draft capital wisely.

If the Bills do not have a clear need (much like they didn’t going into 2017 draft), then why not trade back from nine? Yeah, okay, maybe they need a wide receiver, but they could once again turn that pick into something so much more than that, which would be better. It gives them another year of having great talent and seeing where they are at.

It is simply following a pattern that they started that has still resulted in great draft picks.

While I am not saying that is what they will do, it is something they should keep in mind. Who knows how it will work out? The Bills finally have solid pieces in place and don’t need hight picks like they use to. They are probably a Josh Allen injury away from not even having a pick that high anyway.

We don’t actually know… 

Of course, there is no actual way of knowing what Brandon Beane and co. will actually do on Draft day he has never once showed his true hand. He once traded Sammy Watkins in the middle of the summer and traded for Kelvin Benjamin in the middle of the week.

He is going to do what he feels best. Whether that ends up staying, moving up, or trading back. I don’t know. We also don’t know if he want to simply fill needs, like see if D.K Metcalf falls to him, or get the best player available, whoever they think that is.

But, I at least do know that we should trust them. Trust Brandon Beane and trust the staff. The Bills made some minor coaching changes, brought in some new faces, and are building around a QB they are finally invested in (they were never invested in Tyrod).

All of the above things involve not only building a great football team, but a great culture that can change people’s perceptions about what the Buffalo Bills are and will be.

So yes, I do not know what the Bills will do on draft day. All I can speculate is what they can do. But, if the Bills want to strike gold again, there is for sure room to trade back this season and keep chugging along to find major pieces in the future. They could even trade back in ways that do not involve draft picks, but players. Either way, trading back is part of the pattern.

The pattern that has helped end a long playoff drought and a pattern that helped give the Bills fans something they have not had in a really long time, hope. Hope because they have Josh Allen, and White, and Edmunds, and Jones, and Jordan Poyer, and Micah Hyde, and Cole Beasley.

All of these things reflect the Bills ability to plan and drat. A plan and draft that is right in front of them. No matter what that is, none of us should be doubting it either way.


Things are different for the Bills as they enter this draft. There is not nearly as much riding on it as there have been in the previous years. While they cannot waste the draft pick, or any draft pick, or any dollar, the Bills can finally relax. There is a plan in place, there is little dysfunction, and there is organized movement.

Next. The Bills, the Draft, and the importance of having a true 'system'. dark

Follow the pattern, Bills, follow the pattern. But, I’ll be supportive either way.