NFL Draft Rumors: Why Trading Up for Matt Kalil Would Be Wise Move by Bills

Gary DavenportNFL AnalystApril 26, 2012

LOS ANGELES - NOVEMBER 29:  Matt Kalil #75 of the USC Trojans walks on the field after the game against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish on November 29, 2008 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum in Los Angeles, California.  USC won 38-3.  (Photo by Jeff Golden/Getty Images)
Jeff Golden/Getty Images

After making one of the biggest splashes of the 2012 offseason in free agency by adding defensive end Mario Williams, the Buffalo Bills are reportedly considering an aggressive draft day trade that would address one of the team's biggest areas of need on the offensive side of the ball.

Mark Gaughan of the Buffalo News reports that the Bills have a "legitimate" interest in trading up to the third overall spot in the 2012 NFL draft, where the team would then select All-American offensive tackle Matt Kalil from USC.

The Minnesota Vikings may not get a better offer than the one the Buffalo Bills appear ready to make for the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

The Bills' interest in Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil is legitimate, a source tells The News. Charley Casserly of the NFL Network reported Wednesday night the Bills are willing to part with the No. 41 pick and flip first-round spots to move up.

The more one looks at the top of the draft board, the more it looks like the Bills have a good chance to move up, with the Vikings or someone else, to get Kalil.

Gaughan's report would seem to lend credence to speculation that has been swirling since Wednesday, when Casserly first reported the Bills' interest in moving up to acquire the 306 pound offensive lineman, sentiments that were echoed by Evan Silva of NBC Sports Wednesday evening.

If G.M. Buddy Nix has identified Kalil as a truly elite, franchise-caliber left tackle capable of making quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick better, there shouldn’t be anyone trying to stop him.

While the old draft trade chart is admittedly outdated, it’s at least worth a look here. Per the old chart, Buffalo’s Nos. 10 and 41 overall picks equate to 1,790 “points.” The third overall pick is worth 2,200 points, and No. 4′s value is 1,800 points. So the Bills could get just shy of the fourth pick based on the old points system.

After inking starting quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick to a $59 million contract extension last year the Bills watched starting tackle Demetress Bell depart in free agency. That makes trading up in this year's draft a very sensible proposition for Buffalo, especially given that as the Washington Post recently reported the Vikings aren't averse to the idea of moving back and adding draft picks.

General manager Rick Spielman said the Vikings have Kalil graded equally with two other players, LSU cornerback Morris Claiborne and Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon, who will be available after quarterbacks Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III are gone.

Though cornerback and wide receiver are positions of depth in this draft, they’re also places on the roster where the Vikings need a lot of help. So what if the Vikings decide to spoil all those mock drafts and pass on Kalil? Not only could they decide to take Claiborne or Blackmon, but there’s also the possibility they trade out of the top five to stockpile more picks for either this year or the future.

The $64,000 question, of course, is whether or not the 10th and 41st overall picks will be enough to pry the third overall pick from the Vikings, but I'm assuming it's not an unreasonable price to pay for a quality young blindside protector like Kalil, especially for a team whose biggest hole would seem to lie at his position.

So, while the first two choices in Thursday's first round appear to be foregone conclusions it seems that the draft day drama may be set to heat up quickly after that, and one of the most aggressive squads in the National Football League this offseason may have one more trick up their sleeves.