Matt Kalil Bills Rumors: Why Trading Up Would Harm Buffalo's Promising Offseason

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2012

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 10:  Matt Kalil #75 of the USC Trojans speaks to reporters after his blocked field goal in the final seconds of the game preserved a 17-14 win over the Utah Utes at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on September 10, 2011 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
Harry How/Getty Images

Perhaps more than any other team, the Buffalo Bills have been rumored to be interested in a wide range of players at the No. 10 pick in the NFL draft, a reflection of their many needs.

Despite that, rumors are beginning to swirl that they are interested in trading up.

According to CBS Sports analyst Charley Casserly, the Bills are looking to move up in order to select USC offensive tackle Matt Kalil.

While Casserly didn't say which spot Buffalo is looking to assume, he does believe that the Bills would part with their second-rounder if it meant getting Kalil.

One team that many believe is looking to trade down is the Minnesota Vikings, as they may not be sold on Kalil for themselves. Another option, should the Vikes pass on Kalil, is Buffalo trading up to the No. 5 spot currently occupied by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, as they don't have a clear need that trumps all others.

No matter the trade partner, the Bills would probably have to part with the No. 41 pick as well as the No. 10 pick to move up.

In one respect, it would help solidify the offensive line, provided Kalil becomes a Pro Bowl player. But on the other hand, Buffalo also has needs at linebacker, cornerback, safety and wide receiver, so a trade would forfeit the opportunity of getting two immediate starters.

The Bills have made some incredible progress since the end of last season, as they have re-signed wide receiver Stevie Johnson and beefed up their pass rush in a big way by landing both Mario Williams and Mark Anderson.

If the Bills want to be a playoff team, though, it is important that they make an effort to fill all of the holes on their roster.

As good as Kalil seems like he should be, he is far from a sure thing.

Many offensive tackles with more hype surrounding them have busted, and there have been some concerns regarding his character. According to Bob McGinn of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, one anonymous scout questioned Kalil's demeanor:

Not one of my faves, one scout said. More of it is just his character. He doesn't have an offensive lineman's character, especially when you take into account how good his brother is in that way. He's got a real sense of entitlement. Hey, he's got a lot of talent. He'll overcome some of those things if he doesn't want to wash out, if he doesn't want to end up being Robert Gallery.

Obviously, that is just the opinion of one scout, but those aren't things that you want to hear about a prospect you're planning on investing in heavily.

If the Bills trade up for him, then they are neglecting other areas, and they simply can't afford to botch this pick, having missed the playoffs every year since 1999.

Also, as much as improving at left tackle would be nice, I'm not sure it is anywhere near the Bills' most pressing need. Buffalo allowed the fewest sacks in the league last season, and while I realize that had a lot to do with the use of quick timing patterns in the passing game, it's tough to argue with results.

Demetress Bell signed with the Philadelphia Eagles, meaning last year's fourth-round pick Chris Hairston is the current starter at left tackle.

Hairston didn't play a ton last season, but when he did, he looked quite promising. He was viewed as a nice value pick last season, so he definitely has the potential to be a starter.

On top of that, while Buffalo may not get a superstar if it stays at No. 10, you never know.

The Bills would have so many options to improve the team at that spot and then many more in the second round as well. With two out of the first 41 picks, the Bills should be able to get two immediate starters, but that wouldn't be the case in the event of a trade up.

It is certainly possible that Kalil could develop into an elite tackle, and there is no doubt that he would be an asset to the team. But for an organization that is desperate to sniff the postseason, it simply isn't a good idea to give up additional picks.

Buffalo has drafted fairly well over the past couple of seasons, so it's fair to be optimistic that the Bills could hit on both of their first two picks. If that is the case, then their combined impact will likely outweigh whatever Kalil accomplishes.

Because of that, standing pat or even trading back are better options for Buffalo at this point.


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