Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley and the rest of his staff are going through the work of finalizing their board for the 2014 NFL Draft. And if you'll allow it to, Whaley's thoughts on WGR Sports Radio 550 Friday morning could make you believe the Bills are hot and heavy for South Carolina defensive end Jadeveon Clowney.
There have been a couple of different articles written by national writers over the past month insinuating that the Bills could be one of the parties looking to move up to the first overall pick in order to draft Clowney. More on that in a moment, but Whaley's words about Clowney were not only complimentary of the defensive end, but fans could also be drooling over the hypothetical situation the GM laid out.
"If you're gonna miss, I'd rather take a chance on a guy that's 6-5, 270, that runs a 4.5," he started off. "Now think about this, you have Mario Williams, Kyle Williams, Marcell Dareus and Jadeveon Clowney. I mean, that's gonna strike fear in a lot of offenses. And if they go max protect, you can't double everybody, and if you do you've gotta put eight in the box. And then that helps our DB's and everybody involved. Is he gonna be a cornerstone? You never want to say absolutely, because there have been big misses before. But if I'm gonna miss, I'm gonna miss on a guy like that."
Every team in the NFL would want Clowney and the type of rare attributes he brings to the table. The bigger question is this: are the Bills willing to deal away the necessary assets to move up high enough in the draft order to select him?
Whaley touched on the concept of trading up in his time with Howard Simon and Jeremy White, and said he wouldn't be conflicted about moving up if the circumstances were right.
"Not a problem as long it's not a detrimental aspect to our team down the road," he said. "It's going to be a calculated risk, but if we think this guy is gonna get us over the hump and get us in the playoffs --which is our stated goal -- why not make the deal?"
The GM was then asked if there were players the Bills specifically would move up for that can have that type of impact.
"There are a few. There are a few," Whaley remarked. "But again, you just have to see how restrictive it is for you in the future with your team. If you're gonna be giving up a lot of draft choices, maybe that's not the way to go. Maybe it might be better to move back and collect draft choices. It's all a case-by-case basis."
The biggest takeaway from those two quotes is that Whaley referenced the terms "detrimental" and "restrictive" when you're dealing with the way would a trade would affect them in the future. And with his philosophies to build and develop through the draft, trading away two potential big assets to that very line of thinking may not be the way to go.
For the Bills to move up to get Clowney, it would likely cost them this year's first and second-round picks, 2015's first-round pick, and maybe even the first-round pick in 2016 among other things. Would Whaley, with his draft principles, be willing to do that?
And, look at the other side of it for Houston. Are they really willing to move that far down in the draft order this year, when there are said to be four elite prospects available?
The adoration for Clowney by Whaley is all well and good, but past the fantasy of adding the defensive end to the current lineup in Buffalo, the notion of trading up for the first overall pick might not have much steam.