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.