NFL Draft Rumors: Bills, Lions, Browns

Despite the draft routinely having 32 first-round picks, one for each NFL team, most draft rooms will not have 32 players with first-round grades. This makes things especially difficult for playoff teams who, barring a trade, always pick at the back end of the first round. One of those teams this year is the Bills, who reportedly do not have 28 players with first-round grades despite holding the 28th overall pick, according to Mark Gaughan of The Buffalo News.

Most NFL teams will, on average, have somewhere from 18 to 24 players with first-round grades. For teams that fall outside the first 24 picks, the strategy is usually to hope that one of your players falls through the cracks and finds their way back to you. Some teams get antsy and, when only one or two first-round prospects remain, trade up to ensure they get their guy. Other teams refuse to draft players higher than their projected value and trade back to ensure that they find players in the appropriate draft slots.

After trading up last year for tight end Dalton Kincaid, Bills general manager Brandon Beane addressed both situations this week, saying, “You know, I’ll take any call. You know me. Next week the phones start ringing all over the place. Teams that want to bail out…I don’t know if teams in the top 10 are calling us, I wouldn’t expect that. Teams in the teens will start calling because maybe they got their eye on a couple guys and, if they don’t get those, they would as soon add something maybe, depending on what’s on the board. We’ll assess them all, have conversations, see who’s on the board when their picks come up. And we’ll be doing the same. We’ll also be looking the other way.”

Here are a few other draft rumors from around the NFL:

  • The 2024 NFL Draft will be taking place in Detroit, MI, this year. Despite all the fans who are expected to be in attendance, the Lions won’t hesitate to trade back out of the first round, should the opportunity present itself, per Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. Detroit holds the 29th pick in the draft, a perfect spot for teams looking to trade back into the first round in order to include a fifth-year option in their draft pick’s contract. General manager Brad Holmes doesn’t stress about disappointing fans, saying, “We have to do the right thing for the organization, and if it makes sense and it lines up and it’s the right thing to do, then we have to do the right thing…and hopefully our fans will forgive us.”
  • In each of the last two drafts, the Browns haven’t had a first-round pick. Then, as fans eagerly awaited their first pick of the draft in the second round, the team traded back, forcing those fans to wait until the third round. It’s a strategy that makes a bit of sense. After trading away draft picks for players, trading back to acquire more picks can be helpful. This year is a familiar look, with the Browns’ first pick coming late in the second round at 54th overall, but general manager Andrew Berry intends to break the recent trend. According to Tony Grossi of ESPN, Berry communicated that he will try to avoid trading out of the second round this year, if possible.
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