Bills Looking To Add Depth During Draft
Wheeling and dealing very possible again this year.
by Steve Saslow
April 20, 2005

NFL Draft 2005Every year the draft brings some interesting possibilities for all the teams and it is no different this year for the Bills. They don't have a first round pick thanks to last year's draft day trade that netted them J.P. Losman. Their first pick is slated for 55th overall and will happen in the early to mid evening hours. Knowing the tendency of Tom Donahoe to make moves, there is a good chance the Bills won't stay there.

One of the things that make this draft very interesting is the lack of top level talent. This can work to the Bills advantage. Many teams are trying to trade down. Since the Bills are one of three teams without a first round pick, many teams have already called them about a deal to allow the Bills back in the first round. Donahoe said this is highly unusual at this point before the draft. Almost all of the top 10 picking teams have expressed interest in moving down since the value is pretty similar and the cap hit for lower picks creates better value.

The other thing to be determined is where will Travis Henry land? It is a very good possibility he will be traded on Saturday. Bills fans will want to keep an eye out on Tampa Bay and Arizona in the top 10. The Buccaneers may move up to number two to take a QB. If that is the case, they are expected to pursue Henry. The Cardinals are expected to take a running back or move down. If they don't take a back, they will most likely be on the phone with the Bills to re-ignite the Henry for Shelton trade talks. At that time, they probably will be willing to swap second round picks to get the deal done. That would move the Bills up 11 spots but it may not be worth it for them with Tampa Bay and Philadelphia also expressing interest. The Eagles have 13 draft picks and may be willing to package a couple for Henry, something Donahoe covets.

So it seems almost certain that the Bills will be picking in different spots than they are slated for at this time. When they do pick, what positions will they look at? The team will be drafting for the long term as most of the starters will be returning. It is no secret that they need depth on both sides of the line, Donahoe said it himself, you can never have enough defensive and offensive linemen. With their first pick they may look at center. The top tackles will be gone in the second round but the top centers may remain, the team is looking for a long term solution if Trey Teague leaves after this year when his contract expires. Teague may also move to tackle, leaving a hole in the middle of the offensive line.

The team has done a good job drafting defensive tackles in past years but the loss of Pat Williams opens up the door to add another big tackle on day one of the draft. The need for tight end has dissipated now that both Mark Campbell and Tim Euhus are considered ahead of schedule on their rehab from torn ACLs.

The team may be looking long term by drafting a cornerback. Nate Clements will be an unrestricted free agent after this year and may be too expensive to keep. In fact, some rumors have the Bills trading him on draft day to get some value before losing him. I highly doubt that will happen and Tom Donahoe said in a wireless chat that there is no truth to the rumor. Regardless, you can never have enough cornerbacks. A wide receiver and quarterback are also possible on day two to compete for roster spots in training camp.

With no glaring need, the Bills can surely go for best available player after the first pick or two this gives them more flexibility to wheel and deal, something that has always been expected from Donahoe. It should make for an interesting draft, even though the Bills may not pick for seven hours or so but don't venture to far from your TV or you may miss some big news.