National reporters: A big move up the board unlikely for Bills

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By now just about every Bills fan has tried to find a way to work the NFL draft trade value chart to get Buffalo up from picks 21 and 22 in round one to the top of the board where the top quarterback prospects figure to be selected. Buffalobills.com talked to some national reporters at the Senior Bowl, who echoed some of GM Brandon Beane's thoughts on being disciplined and not overpaying to chase quarterback talent.

"They did such a masterful job last year getting the extra first-round pick and still drafting a stud at corner in Tre'Davious White," said NFL Network Insider, Ian Rapoport of the Bills. "The reason you get all these picks is not necessarily to go give them away the next year and jump up. I think they can move around. They certainly have the artillery to move around. But it's not like saying, 'They have two ones next to each other so they can use those and move up to five.'"

"I think we're going to see a run and probably see four quarterbacks all go in the top 10 there. The cost of what it would be, I don't know," said NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah. "You do all this work to accumulate all these picks, I don't know if you want to part with all of them in a gamble to try to get up there and get one of those four."

As far as quarterbacks who could still be on the board when the Bills are on the clock at 21, provided they choose to stay there, is Oklahoma State QB Mason Rudolph.

"I think he'll be there," said Jeremiah of Rudolph. "You talk to people around the league they're all over the map on him. You love his size, the production that he brings. He throws a really pretty deep ball. I want to see if he can drive the ball down the field to see if the arm matches the body. Unfortunately, with the foot injury we don't get the chance to see him out here this week.

"I think a majority of teams have him in that second round range, but this wouldn't be the first time we see a guy targeted in the second round sneak up into the bottom of the first."

Whether the Bills go quarterback with their first pick or not, Rapoport just doesn't see the Buffalo front office making a rash move to chase quarterbacks.

"First of all, the evaluation has to match. I think we could see four quarterbacks, at least three in the top 10. Are those the guys they have rated as ones and everyone else not so much? So first it comes down to the evaluation," Rapoport said. "I'm just not convinced that this is a leadership that's going to take their picks and trade them. You lose value there when you just jump up and make the biggest trade you can."

And as enticing as some of the quarterback talent might be, there are issues to sort out with each of them.

"It's a fascinating quarterback draft because there's a lot of talent and there's depth, but every single guy has question marks," said ESPN college football analyst Greg McElroy. "It comes down to how comfortable are you taking a guy with those question marks and would you be willing to adapt an offense around him?"

For McElroy the only one worth doing that for is this year's Heisman Trophy winner.

"Baker Mayfield might be one of the best college quarterbacks we've seen in some time," he said. "But is he going to be able to mold into the traditional style of offense? Or do you want to create an offensive mentality involving RPOs and involving some of those zone read concepts that he ran so effectively at Oklahoma? I would expect to see all four of those guys to come off the board a lot earlier than most project because there are so many quarterback needy teams in the top 10.

"If I was an owner or a head coach I would absolutely roll the dice on Mayfield. In a heartbeat because I know how much the game means to him."

So where does that leave the Bills?

"You're probably more likely to address some of your other needs," said Jeremiah. "In my opinion just continue to fortify the trenches on both sides of the ball."

And ideally Jeremiah would address the defensive side of the ball first. With two of the Bills veteran defensive tackles set to become free agents along with two of their veteran linebackers, early draft commitment to the front seven makes sense.

"I think this is a good draft to get that done," said Jeremiah. "You look out here on the field this week and you see a guy like Harrison Phillips from Stanford and his stock continues to climb. Da'Ron Payne is not in this game, but he's one of the more interesting players coming out of Alabama. Those guys would look really good in that Buffalo front and playing in that division where you want to be really strong up the middle. They'll have some options there."

Jeremiah and Rapoport still wouldn't rule out a trade of some kind where the Bills move a few spots up or down to land a coveted prospect that's still on the board. But you can't make a move unless there's a team willing to work with you.

"We can all talk about how there are some great quarterbacks that are going to be gone early and everyone is going to trade up," Rapoport said. "To make a trade happen, someone actually has to want to do it.

"So if you're the Broncos you'll have opportunities to trade out at five, but maybe they'll just want to take the quarterback. There are going to be a bunch of teams there who are going to get crazy offers. Well what is it worth to give up on your possible franchise quarterback?

"It's like when the Browns traded out a couple of years back. Yes, they got a really good deal, but they didn't get Carson Wentz or Jared Goff. So how good is that deal really? And that's the question now."

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