It seems as if Bills fans are largely split on the selection of EJ Manuel with the 16th pick in the first round last night. Most draft pundits are down on the selection since the majority of them graded Manuel as a second round choice. What bears consideration though is what else came from the move to select Manuel.
Obviously the Bills valued Manuel as the top quarterback in the draft. They very well could have taken him at eight and have walked away with the player they wanted all along. While it would have been considered a massive reach – much like the pick at 16 is as well – the Bills could rest easy knowing they came away with the player they targeted.
However, they remained patient and swung a mutually beneficial deal with the Rams to slide back in the first round. The overall haul of the deal gave the Bills an additional second round pick while seeing them move back eight spots in the first round (16th overall) and seven spots (78th overall) in the third round. They also added an extra seventh round pick.
St. Louis came away with the opportunity to get Tavon Austin – the player they coveted most – and Bills were forced to wait and see if they’d still have the pick of the litter at 16. They did.
It’s safe to assume that the Bills would have been able to pick from at least three or four of the draft’s top quarterbacks at 41 had they gone a different route at 16. But as I wrote earlier, if this is the guy they know they wanted, it’s okay that they took Manuel at 16. Now the focus should shift to the second round.
Having two more picks in the top 50 gives the Bills a ton of flexibility and the chance to immediately stock the cupboards in a way they wouldn’t have been able to previously. With cornerback, wide receiver, tight end, linebacker (if Dansby isn’t signed) and even offensive line on the wish list, the Bills should exit the second round with two of those slots filled with two excellent talents.
There is a host of quality talent at receiver and tight end at the top of the second round along with a number of players at various positions who were originally given first round grades. So coming away with two offensive weapons for Manuel to throw to likely won’t be seen as a loss by anyone.
In fact, it might be safe to argue that the whole will be greater than the sum of its parts depending on which positions are targeted at 41, 46 and even 78 before the night is out. For a team in need of depth, securing picks that will impact the roster the most needs to be valued and the Bills did exactly that.