Bills trade efforts rewarded with prized LB Reggie Ragland

Posted Apr 29, 2016

Buffalo's personnel department determined late Thursday night they were going to try to make a trade to get in position in round two to take LB Reggie Ragland. Their day long efforts were ultimately rewarded following a trade with Chicago.

The first round was over, but Buffalo’s personnel staff was seated around the head table in the Bills draft room Thursday night contemplating how they would make a move up the board to land Alabama LB Reggie Ragland. The SEC Defensive Player of the Year was their second choice when they were on the clock at 19 earlier that evening behind Shaq Lawson. Their high grade on Ragland prompted them to devise a solution to land what they saw as an extraordinary value anywhere in round two.

“During the day we contacted every team starting with Cleveland,” said GM Doug Whaley of the team holding the first pick in round two Friday. “We worked our way down until we found a partner in Chicago. As soon as that happened and he was on the board it was a no brainer.”

It became clear before even day two of the NFL draft started that Cleveland’s demands at 32 were too steep. The three teams after them were unwilling to move out of their spots in Tennessee, Dallas and San Diego at 33, 34 and 35 overall. Baltimore at 36 was willing to deal, but Jacksonville at 38 had an easier move to make and swung a deal with the Ravens.

The Jaguars took a linebacker, but it was another player who fell down the board in UCLA’s Myles Jack. In fact the medical concerns with both Jack and Notre Dame’s Jaylon Smith, who went 34th overall to Dallas may have been a key in enabling the Bills to get Ragland after finding a trade partner in Chicago at 41st overall.

“If you’re looking at teams that were looking at linebackers and they jumped in (and picked Smith and Jack) instead of picking Ragland then yeah they pushed him to us and we’ll take it.”

The value the Bills felt they got landing a player they not only had with a first round grade, but who they were willing to take at 19th overall had them as boisterous as they’ve ever been in the draft room.

RELATED: 5 things to know about LB Reggie Ragland

“We’re just happy he did (fall),” said Whaley. “We liked him. We would’ve taken him at 19. When he was still there we made a concerted effort to try to go up and get him and luckily for us we found a trade partner with Chicago.”

Buffalo parted with their second-round pick at 49 along with their first fourth-round pick (117 overall) and their fourth-round pick in 2017 to move up eight slots to make Ragland their pick. For Whaley it was easy collateral to part with to land a player they see as one who can provide immediate impact and production.

“For what we need and what he brings to our team and the caliber of player he is, a fourth rounder this year when we have two, and a fourth rounder next year we thought we made out on it,” Whaley said.

As encouraged as head coach Rex Ryan was by the pick of Lawson on Thursday night, knowing the caliber of player they got in Ragland, a player they thought could be out of reach, had him ecstatic.

“I would say on a scale of one to 10 it was a 10,” said Whaley of Ryan’s excitement level. “We all were excited. It wasn’t just Rex. It was our whole scouting staff. We pegged these guys and I give all the credit to the scouting staff. They did a bunch of work and pegged these guys early on. It’s a Buffalo Bills pick and everybody is excited and everybody is on board and everybody is really, really ready to get this season started.”