The Bills are expected to target a quarterback in the NFL Draft, but they might need to move even higher than the 12th pick to get the player they want.
What would it take to acquire the second overall pick?
The News unveiled a draft pick trading calculator this week that can help answer that question.
Bills general manager Brandon Beane said Monday at the league meetings that he's very happy picking at 12, but added that he'd be willing to give up the Bills' 2019 first-round pick if the right opportunity presented itself. Which is to say, anything could happen.
So let's imagine what it would look if the Bills wanted to acquire the No. 2 pick from the Giants. Even if the Browns take a quarterback first overall, the Bills could still get one of their top choices at No. 2, and they would cut in front of the Jets at No. 3.
When plugging potential trades into our draft calculator, the first thing that becomes apparent is that any team trying to move to the top of the draft is going to pay a fortune. The high demand and limited supply of top draft picks almost guarantees teams will significantly overpay for a trade up.
The Jimmy Johnson trade value chart – which is nearly 30 years old and a bit subjective but is still the baseline for draft charts used around the league, according to Beane – assigns 2,600 points of value to the second overall pick. The Bills would need to package several picks together, including multiple first-rounders, to even come close to that.
Here's what a roughly even would look like, according to the Johnson chart:
• 2nd overall (2,600 points)
• 12th overall (first round, 1,200 points)
• 22nd overall (first round, 780 points)
• 56th overall (second round, 340 points)
• 65th overall (third round, 265 points)
• 187th overall (sixth round, 16.6 points)
Total value: 2,601.6 points.
The difference in draft value of this deal is just 1.6 points, which is about as even as it gets (that's the equivalent the 231st overall pick, a seventh-rounder).
Would the Giants even go for that package? Who knows. Another team could come in with an even better offer. Giants GM Dave Gettleman, who worked with Beane and Bills coach Sean McDermott in Carolina, might want high picks in future years instead of loading up in this year's draft.
Calculating for future picks is even more of an inexact science, but the working theory seems to be that you devalue a pick by one round for each year in the future. For example, trading a 2019 second-round pick would only carry the value of a 2018 third-rounder, though future first-round picks might be treated differently.
But also consider the other two draft value models in our calculator. The Harvard chart and the Football Perspective chart are not subjective like the Johnson model. They assigned value to picks based on the average performance of players selected at that draft position. Their methodologies differed slightly, but the conclusion was the same: The Johnson model significantly overvalues the top picks.
Both performance-based draft charts grade the 5-for-1 trade outlined above as a tremendous steal for the Giants. They say the Bills would be essentially giving away the value of a top-10 pick by agreeing to that trade. And even that deal might not be enough for the Giants to go for it.
Trades up to the top of the draft using the Johnson model almost always result in a loss of true value, according to the other charts. But teams holding the top picks have something that everyone wants, especially in a year with a good quarterback class, and a market of desperate teams can drive the price up even higher.
The hope for Bills is that the gambit – should they choose to make it – returns a franchise quarterback.