When word surfaced yesterday the San Francisco 49ers agreed to trade quarterback Alex Smith to the Kansas City Chiefs for two draft picks, I envisioned a scenario of how the Buffalo Bills could benefit.
Thanks in part to additional draft picks from trades and compensatory picks the 49ers will receive later, the 49ers will be the owners of anywhere from 13 to 15 draft picks for the 2013 NFL Draft.
If you have been following the 49ers lately, you know full well that San Francisco is a veteran-laden team with very few holes. There is no way San Francisco needs to draft more than seven or eight rookies, much less 13-15 rookies to round out their team for the upcoming season.
What will the 49ers wind up doing with all of their surplus of draft picks? One school of thought has San Francisco putting together a package of draft picks to ship to the New York Jets for CB Darrelle Revis. Everybody that watched Super Bowl XLVII knows the 49ers secondary could use an upgrade or two.
Here is an article from The Red Zone, along with their tweet, talking about the 49ers' interest in Revis.
Besides Revis, San Francisco has other key decisions they need to make. For example, they are still wrestling with a decision on safety Dashon Goldson, who they gave a franchise tag to back in 2012, but weren't able to work out a long-term contract with him. Do they give Goldson the tag again in 2013, or let him walk?
While trading for Revis makes sense to a degree, the Jets will no doubt have multiple teams bidding against each other to drive the price up for Revis. The 49ers might find the going rate for Revis is too rich for their blood.
So, here is the proposal that I worked out, along with a hat-tip to the folks at Draftek.com, who devised an updated chart, which is an essential tool for evaluating the points of any trade involving draft picks. They refer to it as the "Drafttek.com Interactive Trade Chart - 2013 NFL Draft Version".
The Bills would trade their first-round pick overall (No. 8) and their fifth round pick (No. 136 overall) to San Francisco for their first-round pick (No. 31 overall) and their two picks in the second round (No. 34 and 61 overall). Adding up the total points according to the chart we referenced, the Bills are surrendering 1,438 points, compared to the 49ers giving up 1,452 points on their end. Basically a wash.
The 49ers would then own the No. 8 overall draft pick to select Mike Mayock's top safety in the 2013 draft class, Kenny Vaccaro from Texas. That allows the 49ers to let Goldson walk away in free agency and put that franchise tag nightmare situation to rest. The trade also trims one extra unnecessary rookie from their 2013 haul, which is a secondary consideration.
For Buffalo, the benefits are obvious. Buffalo would then own five draft picks within a 40-pick span, from No. 31 to No. 71 overall. The five picks would be: No. 31, 34, 41, 61 and 71. With those five draft picks the Bills could address a number of issues facing the team right now. They already had holes at wide receiver, linebacker, quarterback, tight end and cornerback. If the team isn't able to re-sign Andy Levitre, they can draft a guard as well.
With the departure of veteran defensive players this offseason like George Wilson, Nick Barnett, Terrence McGee and the announcement yesterday of the retirement of Chris Kelsay, that represents a number of holes on the Bills depth chart. Buffalo has decided not to tender offers to wide receivers Donald Jones and David Nelson, leaving the wide receiver corps very thin after Stevie Johnson.
The extra draft picks would give the Bills an opportunity to let the draft come to them naturally. They can fill their needs with the best available athlete according to their assigned grades and not have to reach for anybody (which is something the team has notoriously done in prior drafts).
The 2013 draft class has been described by NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock as being interesting in that there isn't much of a drop off in the quality of talent from pick No. 5 to No. 25 overall. The Indianapolis Scouting Combine proved that the 2013 draft class has talented depth at wide receiver, cornerback, and a host of linemen (offensive and defensive) that would still be on the big board with picks in the No. 31-71 range.
Since none of the quarterbacks in the upcoming draft have been deemed worthy of the overall No. 8 pick, the Bills have three opportunities to draft a quarterback at either No. 31, 34 or 41. They would own three draft picks in the second round and could use any of those picks to select the quarterback of their choice.
As for players at the other key needs for Buffalo that could be available in the 31-71 range, here are some examples found in the latest Draftek.com mock draft, (Version 15), which was released earlier today:
Offense projections in 31-71 range: Stanford TE Zach Ertz, USC QB Matt Barkley, Kentucky G Larry Warford, Baylor WR Terrance Williams, Alabama RB Eddie Lacy, Alabama OL Barrett Jones, Tennessee WR Justin Hunter, Georgia WR Tavarres King, USC WR Robert Woods, Tennessee QB Tyler Bray, North Carolina St. QB Mike Glennon and Clemson WR DeAndre Hopkins.
Defense projections in 31-71 range: Notre Dame LB Manti Te'o, LSU OLB Sam Montgomery, LSU FS Eric Reid, Texas OLB Alex Okafor, Washington CB Desmond Trufant, Florida S Matt Elam, Rutgers OLD Khaseem Greene, So. Mississippi OLB Jamie Collins and Auburn OLB Corey Lemonier.
The only quarterback that Draftek.com revealed was gone by pick No. 31 was West Virginia QB Geno Smith. Every other quarterback was still left on the board.
There is still available talent after pick No. 71 via Draftek.com, such as West Virginia WR Stedman Bailey, So. Carolina RB Marcus Lattimore, Syracuse QB Ryan Nassib and SMU DE Margus Hunt.
So based on the names listed above, if Bills fans could pluck any five names, you would realize the potential of new talent that could bolster the Bills roster. Here is one example of five picks: QB Barkley, TE Ertz, OL Jones, OLB Okafor and WR Bailey. The possibilities are endless.
The Bills would also have the ability to trade down again if it allowed them to pick up an extra pick in the third or fourth round, if they so desired. Buffalo can fill a number of essential needs just by completing one trade. Will Buddy Nix be willing to drop down in the first round to be able to dominate Day Two of the draft? Food for thought.