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Bills have legit shot to move up

The Minnesota Vikings may not get a better offer than the one the Buffalo Bills appear ready to make for the No. 3 overall pick in the NFL Draft.

The Bills' interest in Southern California left tackle Matt Kalil is legitimate, a source tells The News. Charley Casserly of the NFL Network reported Wednesday night the Bills are willing to part with the No. 41 pick and flip first-round spots to move up.

The more one looks at the top of the draft board, the more it looks like the Bills have a good chance to move up, with the Vikings or someone else, to get Kalil.

Obviously there could be a team waiting in the wings to make a last-minute pitch for the third pick. But the prospects at the top of the draft board and the needs of the top six teams do not suggest the Vikings are going to create a bidding war for No. 3.

Quarterback is the most likely target of a team looking to move up into the top five. Texas A&M's Ryan Tannehill is the No. 3 QB in the draft. But none of the top six, based on all the reports out there, are interested in Tannehill. Cleveland could make a case for Tannehill. But the Browns reportedly are set to take a much surer bet, Alabama running back Trent Richardson. It says here it would be a huge mistake for the Browns to risk the No. 4 pick on a QB who has just 19 college starts (Tannheill's total). Cleveland probably can not risk moving down if its heart is set on Richardson. But if Cleveland would be just as happy with a receiver, the Browns could move down to No. 10 and hope for Notre Dame's Michael Floyd.

Tampa, at No. 5, needs a cornerback, a linebacker or a running back. The Bucs can sit right there and get either LSU corner Morris Claiborne or Boston College LB Luke Kuechly. Don't expect the Bucs to move. St. Louis is No. 6 and desperately needs a wideout for QB Sam Bradford. The Rams had a league-low nine - NINE - TD passes last season. There is speculation the Rams could use an offensive tackle, which is why the Bills would want to move ahead of them in a bid for Kalil. Would the Rams pass up Oklahoma State stud WR Justin Blackmon in favor of Kalil? I say no. The Rams have two high picks playing tackle in Rodger Saffold and Justin Smith. Both were well regarded entering last season. Both struggled badly in the deep-drop offense of Josh McDaniels, who now is back in New England. Saffold and Smith are better than they showed last year and will be better with better coaching, which Jeff Fisher will provide. The Rams need a wideout. They could, however, move back in the draft and still aim for Floyd. They're a trade partner for the Bills, too, if the Vikings don't want to pull the trigger on a move down to No. 10.

Then we get to No. 7, Jacksonville, which is eager to trade down. Lots of teams could be calling the Jaguars for a move up for any number of players. There is speculation Philadelphia might move up to No. 7 to get defensive tackle Fletcher Cox. Some other team could make a move with the Jags for Tannehill. Failing that, Tannehill still would be on the board for Miami at No. 8, the most logical destination for the Texas A&M QB. Nevertheless, if a team wants Tannehill, why move up to No. 3? 

There are at least two prime ways a Bills bid to move up breaks down. One is if the Browns are going to pull a surprise. The other is if the trade partner isn't confident about what it will get at the No. 10 spot. Minnesota needs a corner or a receiver (in addition to a tackle). One would think either CB Stephon Gilmor or Floyd will be there at No. 10. Cleveland needs a WR (Floyd?). St. Louis needs a WR (Floyd?).

Round One promises to be an evening of intrigue.

---Mark Gaughan

 

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