The Buffalo Bills have not been shy about trading up in the NFL Draft under Brandon Beane, but the general manager warned that there likely won’t be any fireworks in the draft this year.
After leapfrogging their way up the draft board in 2018 to land Josh Allen and then moving up again to land Tremaine Edmunds in the second round that year, both the offense and defense are largely set going into the 2021 NFL Draft. While Beane didn’t rule out another trade-up, he cautioned fans not to look for any big deals.
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Beane Reveals Draft Strategy
Speaking to Buffalo news station WKBW ahead of Thursday’s start to the NFL Draft, Beane said that he has been in discussion with other general managers, but cautioned that the Bills would only make a move up the board in the right scenario.
Beane on a potential draft day trade:
"I wouldn't expect anything big but if the right player was there and we thought it was a logical move and I didn't have to give up too many assets, you know me, I'll definitely do that but we've had more conversations the other way." @WKBW pic.twitter.com/ClgCLL6NAU
— Matthew Bové (@Matt_Bove) April 29, 2021
“Even us, whether it’s taking a slight move up, I wouldn’t expect anything big,” he said, via WKBW’s Matthew Bove. “But if the right player was there and we thought it was a logical move and [didn’t] have to give up too many assets, you know me, I would definitely do that.”
Beane also didn’t rule out a move back out of the first round if it meant landing more picks on Day 2.
“But we’ve also had more conversations the other way of, listen, if the board gets cleaned out, we don’t think we have a lot of value with the 30th pick of the draft, then we would look to trade back and add some assets that we could use on Day 2 and Day 3,” he said.
Bills Could Move Up For Running Back
Ahead of the start to the draft on Thursday, there had been some speculation that the Bills could make a slight jump up the board to land one of the top offensive skill players. Appearing on the Ryen Russilo podcast, ESPN’s Todd McShay said the Bills were interested in trading up for a pick in the low 20s to land Clemson running back Travis Etienne. McShay said the Bills loved the idea of pairing him with Josh Allen and giving Buffalo’s running game the boost it lacked last season.
— Buffalo Rumblings (@BuffRumblings) April 29, 2021
But NFL writer Peter King believes the Bills can stay put and still snag Etienne. As the USA Today’s Bills Wire noted, King’s mock draft has Buffalo taking the talented running back with their No. 30 overall selection — which would appear to fit Beane’s strategy to avoid any big deals.
As King wrote, Etienne could be a great fit for the Bills’ offense.
Etienne would be a great puzzle piece in an offense that craves speed in the backfield. Etienne doesn’t have the speed of some of the fleet backs or wideouts who run Jet sweeps (he’s a 4.44 guy), but the book on him is he cuts and fakes at top speed, which can make up for the fact that he has good but not transcendent speed. Plus, Etienne is very good in the screen game. He had 22 plays of 40 yards or more at Clemson, with a ridiculous 78 touchdowns in four seasons.