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Jerry Sullivan's Hot Read: Bills make a smart move, for once

The Pegulas are the gift that keeps on giving, even when it's those chintzy plastic sunglasses. One day before the NFL draft, an unnamed Bills scout told ProFootballTalk that "We are all getting fired next week."

After the scout's quote went public, there was concern that some of the doomed men in personnel might sabotage the draft to get back at ownership. But with this bunch, how would you know the difference?

As I sat waiting for the draft to get under way from Philadelphia, I contemplated the many ways general manager Doug Whaley and his scouts could submarine the Bills' chances in the first round:

They might take a linebacker who couldn't get on the field for the NFL's worst defense, like Aaron Maybin, or a tackle who hates football, like Mike Williams. Or a running back who couldn't run between the tackles, like C.J. Spiller. Or a strong safety who never makes a big play, like Donte Whitner.

Bills trade with Chiefs to move down from 10th to 27th pick of NFL Draft

They could trade a first-rounder to move up for a quarterback who's out of the league in a few years, like J.P. Losman. Or grab a quarterback who quickly loses his job, like EJ Manuel. Or use two first-round picks to take Sammy Watkins in a receiver-rich draft to prop up the failing quarterback.

History has taught me not to expect much from these geniuses. But they actually did something intelligent. Which confirmed that it was new head coach Sean McDermott, not Whaley, who was calling the shots Thursday.

The Bills swapped the 10th pick of the first round to the Chiefs, picking up the 27th pick of the first round this year, a third-rounder this year and the Chiefs' first-round pick next year. Kansas City used the pick to select Patrick Mahomes, a physically gifted quarterback who is seen as a project.

This was the sort of maneuver that you wouldn't have expected from Whaley, especially when he's trying to win in the short term and preserve his job. I'm sure McDermott will claim it was a group decision, but it looks like the move of an empowered coach who has time to build a winner.

I've accused McDermott of middling things by keeping Tyrod Taylor to win in the short term, when he should concede that the Bills were a team in decline with an eroding roster. And I still think dumping Taylor was the right move.

But this shows that McDermott has a long-term vision and realized he needed more picks to contend down the road. He got a pick for Mike Gillislee and two extras in this deal. It will give the Bills currency to add depth this year and to possibly move up in next year's draft, which is supposed to be stronger at quarterback.

It's a good deal. But as always, time will tell. The Bills still need to find a franchise quarterback, and if they don't get one next year, it won't look as terrific as it does in the moment. One smart move isn't enough to radically change my skeptical view of the operation.

Let's see how this plays out. If Patrick Mahomes or Deshaun Watson turn into elite quarterbacks, we might look back on this as another draft where the Bills continued to lose ground in their eternal quest for their franchise QB.

Bills trade down – 2017 NFL Draft tracker and first round updates

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