The Bills made a big splash on the first night of the draft, sending the ninth overall pick in the draft, a 2015 first-round selection, and a 2015 fourth-round pick to the Browns for the ability to secure the rights to receiver Sammy Watkins.
It was a bold move by G.M. Doug Whaley. Some would call it insanity to give up that much for an unproven receiver. If it’s insanity, it was calculated.
Whaley knows he’ll soon have a new owner. Whaley needs to make the team into a contender so that the new owner won’t be able to sell firing Whaley to the fan base. Otherwise, Whaley will be a former General Manager, and former General Managers in recent years have had a hard time becoming General Managers again.
But if Whaley was opting for calculated insanity, Whaley should have gone all in, taking the best available player with the ninth overall pick in 2014 and then promptly signing Saints tight end Jimmy Graham to an offer sheet.
By crafting an offer sheet that the Saints wouldn’t or couldn’t match, the Bills could have had him for first-round picks in 2015 and 2016. Which means that could have used their 2014 first-round pick while also giving up future picks that Whaley may not be there to use.
In the end, the Bills gave up more to get Watkins than they would have had to give up to get Graham. For Watkins, it was two first-round picks (one of which was a top-10 selection in 2014) and a fourth-round pick. For Graham, it would have been a first-round pick in 2015 and a first-round pick in 2016.