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Bills tried to move to No. 1 to ensure Sammy Watkins selection

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The Buffalo Bills really, really, really wanted Sammy Watkins.

The Bills traded away a lofty package to the Cleveland Browns to move from No. 9 to No. 4 in order to select Watkins on the first day of the draft. The cost to the Bills to move up was for a first- and fourth-round pick next year in order to move up five spots.

However, the Bills were setting their sights to higher and costlier opportunities in order to secure that Watkins would be heading to Buffalo.

In a video posted to the team’s website, Jim Monos, Buffalo’s director of player personnel, confirmed our report ahead of the draft that the Bills were attempting to move up as far as the No. 1 overall selection for Watkins.

We went with Houston right off the bat,” Monos said. “We tried to go to No. 1. They weren’t having it. They knew who they wanted, so we started working our way right down.”

Rams general manager Les Snead said on PFT Live on Monday that he had conversations with an unnamed team that ultimately did trade up about moving up to No. 2 as well. The “unnamed team” was obviously Buffalo.

Cleveland called before the Texans submitted their pick for Jadeveon Clowney to confirm that the Bills were still interested in moving up to No. 4 if their player (Watkins) was still on the board following the first three picks. Buffalo didn’t have a feel for what the Jaguars were going to do with the third overall pick and sweated out their selection.

“We really didn’t know,” Monos said. “Jacksonville never tipped it. We had just heard so much that they needed a receiver. We thought that this was going to be Sammy. We knew that if Jacksonville didn’t take him we had a shot.”

With Jacksonville selection Blake Bortles, the path was clear to Watkins for the Bills.

The price Buffalo paid to get Watkins was substantial, but the Bills were willing to give up even more to get their guy. Now Buffalo will have to see if he was worth the investment.

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72 Responses to “Bills tried to move to No. 1 to ensure Sammy Watkins selection”
  1. buffnaked says: May 16, 2014 1:57 AM

    A lot of people say the Bills overpaid to get to #4. But if they gave up the same package to get to #1 overall to select Watkins it would be a steal…. doesn’t quite make sense at the end of the day.

    If Bills pick in the same spot next year we gave up (choose two) a Maybin, McKelvin, Gilmore talent for a potential superstar in Watkins.

  2. pooflingingmonkey says: May 16, 2014 2:00 AM

    Watkins will like playing in Toronto in 2-3 years. Ok, eh?

  3. brownsmakemecrazy says: May 16, 2014 2:00 AM

    Sammy will be worth it, just like Julio Jones was worth it, when the Browns traded down like a bunch of clowns.

    Teams dont mind giving up extra picks to the Browns, because they know the Browns will either 1. Trade those picks again or 2. Screw up their picks anyway

  4. slbasegame257 says: May 16, 2014 2:03 AM

    Someone needs to tell the Bills that Sammy Watkins is just a WR, not a QB. A QB touches the ball every snap but a WR touches the ball maybe once every 4 or 5 snaps. When was the last time a team one a super bowl with a WR drafted in the top five? It’s just not the impact position that people think it is.

  5. 4thandlonger says: May 16, 2014 2:09 AM

    The history of rookie receivers says he’ll be nothing more than average in his first year. So he’s unlikely to improve the bills who will likely give up pick 9 and another decent pick all for him. But from then on he’ll probably be good.

    It’s still too big a haul for a WR in a draft where there were heaps of them. One man can only do so much anyway. If I was their QB I’d rather have a good OL, multiple good WR’s and a good TE than just one great receiver.

  6. ivanpavlov0000 says: May 16, 2014 2:10 AM

    It sounds like the Bills were concerned about the rumors that Detroit was planning to deal up to get him. If it was a smokescreen, Mayhew did a great job.

  7. britishraven says: May 16, 2014 2:29 AM

    He would have to be the second coming of Jerry Rice for a trade to #1 to make sense

  8. operwapitsai says: May 16, 2014 2:48 AM

    Always interesting to see the truth after all the smoke screens have settled. Good reporting guys

  9. jshawaii22 says: May 16, 2014 3:06 AM

    If Buffalo does as good as Atlanta did with Julio, they’ll be OK.

    Now, they just need someone who can throw it to Sammy.


  10. nostalgicsound says: May 16, 2014 3:07 AM

    Better hope he’s the next megatron… No pressure kid.

  11. rugg13 says: May 16, 2014 3:34 AM

    14 years and counting. And people wonder are the Bills organization blows

  12. campcouch says: May 16, 2014 3:42 AM

    I wish the Bills luck along with the Browns because the Lake Erie teams have had it rough. But Sammy Watkins at #1? I guess you can draw parallels with Detroit and Atlanta offensively,young QB and all world receiver,but I couldn’t imagine the price they would have paid Houston for the number one. I mean Cleveland pilfered them by moving 4 slots down and pillaging a first and fourth rounder next year…which may sting more if Buffalo has a bad season. Good thing they did manage what they did,because I bet that price would have crippled them for 3 years.

  13. nyctraffic says: May 16, 2014 4:04 AM

    The Falcons found out that such a move (to get Julio Jones) was worth it, but not worth it. The guy is dynamic and can be game-changing, but the sacrifice of picks left some major holes that are just now being partially filled. And you can’t ignore how easily and often these high-priced receivers get injured. I’m guessing Buffalo fans will get more thrills than actual victories with this prized pick.

  14. leanback360 says: May 16, 2014 4:29 AM

    Probably worth it

  15. paoconno says: May 16, 2014 4:31 AM

    I think Watkins may be the surest prospect in this draft. Guy is just a flat-out playmaker. But giving up two first rounders for him, essentially, seems a bit steep. However I thought the same thing about the Julio Jones trade…and he was looking like the second best receiver in the NFL before his injury.

  16. gbart22 says: May 16, 2014 4:37 AM

    No one was going to take him so that’s awfully bad draft managing.

  17. goraidersgospurs says: May 16, 2014 4:51 AM

    Soo did Browns want Sammy or NO? Was Oakland ready to select Watkins if browns pass on him more detail please!!!

  18. JackedUpSports says: May 16, 2014 5:08 AM

    that’s absurd

  19. Marv says: May 16, 2014 5:37 AM

    Even if Watkins becomes something close to Calvin Johnson, this is still not a good trade. They need more than this single reciever.

    Stevie Johnson reminds me of the Marshawn Lynch situation. Traded him away, became a great piece for a great organisation. Same could be true for Johnson now.

  20. allaboutdabillslikebuffalo says: May 16, 2014 5:40 AM

    Let the hating begin. Go bills

  21. zoxitic says: May 16, 2014 6:35 AM

    Ill call it right now. Sammy Watkins is a hall of famer.

  22. joemontanawasthegreatest says: May 16, 2014 6:46 AM

    Wow, he better be the next Jerry Ricecake.

  23. tncm333 says: May 16, 2014 6:47 AM

    So much for St Louis being open for business @2. They were all about getting that extra 1st for next year and Cleveland was giving one away. And weren’t afraid of price as they sought out the #1 pick. They still could have gotten a top LT, or a top player. Wonder why the balked?

  24. hansenbrothers says: May 16, 2014 6:57 AM


  25. pfu2 says: May 16, 2014 7:02 AM

    Cleveland’s GM Ray Farmer made a fantastic trade here! 2015 first & a fourth to drop 5 spots? Wow, incredible haul for Ray Farmers first draft. He is a GM to watch, he’s quickly getting Cleveland on track.

  26. restorativejusticeprogram says: May 16, 2014 7:06 AM

    Oh, Buffalo — don’t you know that desperation is not attractive.

  27. limitfive says: May 16, 2014 7:26 AM

    Nothing ventured…. nothing gained!

  28. piratefreedom says: May 16, 2014 7:34 AM

    Wow, as if a team like Buffalo spending what they did to trade up wasn’t bad enough they were trying for the #1 pick, to get a receiver.

    If Buffalo fans hadn’t suffered so much already in the 21st century I would find this hilarious.

  29. exboomer says: May 16, 2014 7:47 AM

    No price is to high when you haven’t been to the playoffs for 14 years…just sayin.

  30. realfootballfan says: May 16, 2014 7:52 AM

    No pressure, Sammy. I love his game, but how’s he going to live up to these lofty expectations because unlike Julio Jones, he’s not coming in with a Pro Bowler lined up opposite him?

  31. thevikingslol says: May 16, 2014 7:55 AM

    While I still think they may have given up too much… that still doesn’t excuse the fact that the Minnesota Vikings are the worst franchise in all of sports.

  32. gah05 says: May 16, 2014 8:06 AM

    Watkins good but that good? For an Andrew Luck type QB maybe, not quite understanding the Bills here. I hope Sammy is as good as Whaley thinks he is.

  33. udkidd says: May 16, 2014 8:10 AM

    If Calvin Johnson didnt go #1 then Sammy Watkins shouldnt either. No WR should go #1.

  34. jimmyt says: May 16, 2014 8:11 AM

    This is the first time in a while that Cleaveland has had a good draft. That was a good trade. If Buffalo stinks it up this year that first rounder next year could be a high one.

  35. bullcharger says: May 16, 2014 8:17 AM

    The problem with a great WR is he can be taken out of the game. Notice how Detroit, Cleveland, Arizona and Houston all have great receivers and are not going to the Super Bowl every year. The year Arizona went it was because of the QB.

  36. iloveagoodnap says: May 16, 2014 8:19 AM

    It all depends on EJ Manuel. If Manuel is good, it was worth it. If he is not, it wasn’t, because it doesn’t matter who you have at WR if your QB cant get him the ball.

    This is why I’m the only person who likes the Bills and doesn’t thing it was a good selection. Because now if EJ doesn’t pan out, then next year they have no draft pick to replace him and a great WR prospect with no one to toss him the pigskin.

    Please step up, EJ.

  37. duwaynebaird says: May 16, 2014 8:21 AM

    Trading up to No. 1 to take a WR is how you become such a proud franchise in the first place. In my opinion, you have to consider Calvin Johnson the benchmark of expectations for a Top 5 WR. I don’t think Sammy Watkins can do his catch and run stuff to the same extent in the NFL. I watched him shred my Buckeyes, but our pass defense was awful in a lot of other games besides that one.

  38. thelastwordyaheard says: May 16, 2014 8:21 AM

    bust.. this guy disappeared for huge stretches & especially when he played the #1 pick’s team

  39. cwilliams135 says: May 16, 2014 8:34 AM

    He better be Jerry Rice for the price they paid

  40. drdonkey says: May 16, 2014 8:44 AM

    Great conviction, don’t think they paid too much. Good deal for both teams. Can’t wait to watch Watkins on Sundays.

  41. titusyoungslegalcounsel says: May 16, 2014 8:54 AM

    I love it, up until the draft he was considered a can’t miss franchise player. Now that the Bills traded up for a “sure thing” it’s now suddenly a questionable move.

    Wish we were New England where every move was considered brilliant

  42. swimmer2010 says: May 16, 2014 8:54 AM

    He should be REALLY good, but he won’t be Jerry Rice…Rice was a once every 100 years player IMHO…

  43. bearssuck says: May 16, 2014 8:57 AM

    He can be great, but if you don’t have a QB he’s worthless. The Bill’s QB is average at Best.

  44. realdealsteel says: May 16, 2014 9:02 AM

    Depends on the QB. If Manuel takes the next step forward, Watkins will look good. If Manuel doesn’t, Watkins looks pedestrian. Simple as that.

  45. chris6523 says: May 16, 2014 9:06 AM

    The price for a move like that would have been Buffalo’s entire draft. Or more. For a wide receiver?

  46. bennyb82 says: May 16, 2014 9:07 AM

    “Houston wanted 4 first round draft picks and 50% ownership of Buffalo, so we had to pass.”

  47. jwcarlson says: May 16, 2014 9:08 AM

    When will these teams learn that there’s between 0 and 1 WR that’s worth paying too much for every few generations.


  48. jc1958cool says: May 16, 2014 9:11 AM

    better than the jaguars pick! what a reach, Watkins is a true top 3

  49. jpaq68 says: May 16, 2014 9:24 AM

    This shows just how desperate Bradnon, Whaley and Marrone are to save their jobs.

    Even the greatest reciever can’t catch a pass that sails over his head or out of bounds.

    Manuel is fragile and will never be able to acurately throw a pass beyond the 6 -7 yard range. These three are either too stupid or too prideful to admit they made a mistake when they over reached for Manuel in last years draft and now they’re stuck with him for at least the next two seasons.

    The Bills should have selected another QB with theur second pick and cut their losses with EJ.

  50. alewatcher says: May 16, 2014 9:30 AM

    Wide receivers are the shiny hood ornament of football.

  51. smokim says: May 16, 2014 9:36 AM

    “better than the jaguars pick! what a reach, Watkins is a true top 3”

    Jags got their QB andWR Marqise Lee at 39 that rivals Watkins. That’s hardly better than the Jags pick.

  52. whooligun says: May 16, 2014 9:48 AM

    I respect a team that goes after a player they think can really help the team.

  53. qdog112 says: May 16, 2014 9:51 AM

    I like the commitment. They did not waver or mince words. They knew who they wanted and were willing to go get him.

    Who can argue with that type firm decision-making? I guess they saw him play.

  54. EJ says: May 16, 2014 10:02 AM

    Watkins was a great selection, I’m just hoping Manuel is going to be the QB he needs to be in order to give the ball to his weapons.

  55. bullcharger says: May 16, 2014 10:13 AM

    The good thing for Buffalo is Watkins will probably peak around the time Brady retires. Calvin Johnson has had his best stats in years 5,6 and 7.

  56. restorativejusticeprogram says: May 16, 2014 10:17 AM

    Considering Buffalo’s history of first round picks, trading away next year’s pick was like trading away a guy you know who will be out of the league in 3 years.

  57. chargerdillon says: May 16, 2014 10:58 AM

    The only player with 2 #1’s in any given draft is a franchise qb. Anything else you hurt the rest of your teams development by giving away a prime pick to upgrade other parts of your team.

    Does anybody remember Keenan Allen the best rookie WR last year? He was drafted in the third round behind lots of guys who didn’t produce squat.

    Unless you have a franchise QB, investing in a WR is a wildcard at best.

    You cannot teach, coach, or draft chemistry.

  58. NoobTubeTV says: May 16, 2014 11:04 AM

    I just don’t see Watkins being that ‘once in a lifetime’ to give up a future 1st Rd pick…

  59. nflpropickemking says: May 16, 2014 11:08 AM

    Great story.Thanks PFT!

  60. slick50ks says: May 16, 2014 11:28 AM

    He’s really not “that” good.

    And the price was ridiculous.

    QB’s make WR’s, not the other way around.

  61. coseybedaman says: May 16, 2014 1:00 PM

    So many people commenting on this board who don’t even watch the Bills. It’s embarrassing to read some of these comments. The following people have never been a bills fan.
    1. Anyone who thinks Stevie is a #1 WR
    2. Anyone who wanted yet another second tier receiver in draft
    3. Anyone who doesn’t know SJ became more trouble than he was worth and Woods and Williams are just as talented
    4. Anyone who thinks they won’t have a respectable Oline
    5. Anyone who feels the Bills don’t know who their QB is. They love EJ and are going to give him every chance to succeed. Just because the average NFL fan thinks the Bills have “no QB” doesn’t make it true.

  62. longsufferingbillsfans says: May 16, 2014 1:02 PM

    Considering what my Bills gave up, there is certainly going to be a ton of pressure on Watkins to perform at a VERY high level. Anything short of pro bowl stats yr 1 will be greeted with fan uprising, calling for heads, etc.
    Personally I don’t agree with the move up regardless, because we are not 1 player away from being a contender. The risk increases further when new stud WR has unknown commodity at QB. Complicating matters is if this isn’t a home run, we are screwed for fixing it in next years draft as our 1 & 4 are gone.
    Again, I don’t like it now but I’d love to see them prove me wrong and make playoffs this season. **sigh*** Buffalo dreamer signing off…

  63. denko310 says: May 16, 2014 1:04 PM

    Bills did not give up 2 firsts for Watkins. They swapped picks this year and Browns get the 2015 1st round and 4th. Also falcons gave up a lot more for Julio jones and Sammy Watkins had a WAY better college stats.. Everyone is just hating on the Bills they got the BEST offensive player in the draft by far #billsmafia

  64. skoobyfl says: May 16, 2014 1:15 PM

    Best player in the draft, that’ll show on the field as well.

  65. thetruthcampaign says: May 16, 2014 1:23 PM

    Right, and the Lions tried to move to #1 to get Ebron.

  66. realnflmaster says: May 16, 2014 1:51 PM

    Julio Jones had Matt Ryan. Sammy Watkins has a trash can.

  67. camgreezy says: May 16, 2014 2:10 PM

    Kind of amazing how many EJ Manuel experts we have out there when the guy played half a year in his rookie season. Did you guys expect him to put up 5000+ yds or something as a rookie?

    Look at all the “greats” in the league now and compare their rookie stats to his, you might be surprised. I was at the 2nd jets game last year and the chemistry he is developing with Goodwin is awesome. Goodwin burns everyone and Manuel hits him in stride.

    But I guess nobody remembers those ones…

  68. johnnyquick says: May 16, 2014 2:28 PM

    If you can’t get him the ball….

  69. woodygg says: May 16, 2014 5:00 PM

    One of the worst trades ever. Just helping keep themselves in the cellar.

  70. woodygg says: May 16, 2014 5:02 PM

    They gave up way too much.

  71. buffalosportsfan12 says: May 17, 2014 4:05 AM

    Nothing bothers me more than people saying the bills gave up 2 first round picks to get him. THEY SWAPPED THIS YEARS FIRST ROUND PICK THEN TRADED NEXT YEARS SO THAT IS ONLY GIVING UP 1 FIRST ROUND PICK. Anyone who says they gave up 2 has no idea what they’re taking about and it’s makes absolutely 0 sense to say they gave up 2. It’s common sense people

  72. Andee says: May 19, 2014 10:52 AM

    If the Bills had traded up to number one and *not* drafted Clowney, I would have had a stroke.

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