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[BN] Blitz newsletter: If unable to trade up, could Bills draft top-rated guard to replace Incognito?

The Bills get back to work Monday with the start of the offseason conditioning program. Coach Sean McDermott and General Manager Brandon Beane will address the media at 1 p.m. You can follow along with live coverage on BNblitz.com.

Each day through the NFL Draft, the BNblitz.com newsletter will aim to feature a question asked by a reader to a member of our staff.  You can leave questions in the comments section below. Here is today’s question and answer from Jay Skurski.

Dan Miller asks: If they can’t trade up and Quenton Nelson is there at 12, is he now the pick?

Jay: Let me start by saying I don’t think there is any chance Nelson will be there at No. 12. I’d be stunned if he fell out of the top 10, with Chicago at No. 8 a logical landing spot — if he’s even on the board then.

That said, it would be hard to argue the Nelson pick, since nearly every draft evaluator considers the Notre Dame guard to be one of the two or three best players in the class. Getting a player with All-Pro potential who can fill an immediate need would make sense.  

Unless, that is, you’re in the “they have to take a quarterback no matter what” camp, which is a defendable position, too. Richie Incognito’s retirement created another hole the Bills wish they didn’t have to fill, but it shouldn’t dramatically change their plan. If that was to acquire a quarterback in the first round, they should still do that.

The reality is, this is still a rebuilding team. Yes, that sounds weird to say about a playoff team, but that was smoke and mirrors. Teams that think they are close to a championship don’t trade their starting quarterback away. General Manager Brandon Beane and coach Sean McDermott remind fans at every opportunity of how much work remains. There is an obvious plan they are following, but the biggest part of that is identifying a franchise quarterback. For that reason, I’m skeptical the team will stay at No. 12 overall, unless it simply can’t find a trade partner. In that worst-case scenario, Nelson would be a nice consolation prize, but even if he has a Hall of Fame kind of career, how much will it really matter without that franchise quarterback?

There are players who can replace Incognito currently on the Bills’ roster. Ryan Groy can move over from the center competition and play guard. Or John Miller can try and resurrect his career after losing his job to veteran Vlad Ducasse in 2017. The Bills could also add a guard later in the draft, particularly if they don’t have to sacrifice a lot of their picks in a trade up.

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Bucky Gleason: Enough already with dark clouds hanging over Buffalo sports.

Jerry Sullivan: Incognito seems like a lost, damaged soul.

Sully's mailbag: Beane in a tough spot on decision to move up.

Pre-draft visit: The Bills will reportedly host "fast rising" Maryland WR D.J. Moore this week.

Draft preview: Jay Skurski ranks the top 10 cornerbacks and assesses where the Bills stand at the position.

ICYMI: Hall of Fame quarterback Jim Kelly was released from a New York City hospital on Saturday, 17 days after undergoing a 12-hour upper jaw reconstruction.

Party on FridayHuddle with News sports writers Tim Graham, Vic Carucci and Jay Skurski to talk draft strategy and all things Bills in the shadow of The Buffalo History Museum’s exhibition, “Icons: The Makers and Moments of Buffalo Sports.” Bring your own Buffalo sports treasure and have local appraiser Rob Schilling tell you its worth.

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Got feedback on this newsletter or our Bills coverage? Email Josh Barnett at jbarnett@buffnews.com. Find us on Facebook by clicking here and follow @BNBlitzNow on Twitter.

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