Bump: Bills WILL TRADE No. 4 pick and here's why

If you're lucky enough to read Shout! as well as coming to this web site, you might know that in my assessment of this year's likely top 10 draft picks, I put in the Bills' slot "John Henderson or trade down."

Perhaps I should have been stronger; I really think Buffalo will trade its fourth pick overall for a choice somewhat lower in the first round. Also, I used Henderson as kind of a place-holder for the four draft-eligible defensive tackles considered to be of similarly high quality.

This has nothing to do with the "Tom Donahoe always trades away high draft picks" theory, though it does gibe with his general rule of acquiring as many choices as possible. The likelihood is that he would trade that fourth pick for one nearer the 10th position in the first round, and a later-round (perhaps fourth or fifth) choice.

There are three reasons why this makes sense.

1. The Bills can lure a team wanting a quarterback or an offensive lineman to take that pick and give Buffalo two players for one. That would give the Bills again 12 picks. If 11 of those players again make the team, coupled with the 11 survivors from the 2001 draft and the free agents already signed, the team would have a majority of players brought in by the Donahoe-Gregg Williams regime. They would be players Williams felt fit the mold of the team he wants to have.

2. Even trading down a few places in the first round, Buffalo would be guaranteed still to have a shot at one of the four tackles -- Henderson, Albert Haynesworth, Wendell Bryant or Ryan Sims -- or at strong safety Roy Williams.

3. The Bills would save significant salary-cap dollars in this and future years by signing a player who wasn't among the elite picks.

Donahoe has said he hasn't yet heard from other teams seeking the Bills' first-round pick. He also has said he's not afraid to do anything in the draft, such as going as high as the fourth pick to get Roy Williams.

Most likely, though, he's betting he wouldn't have to, and that he could take the same player at a lower cost -- the same as he did with Nate Clements in 2001.

Talk with Shout!'s Lary Bump and Mike Doser in the Shout! chat room during NFL Draft 2002, April 20-21. They'll be at Bills headquarters covering the activity.


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