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NFL Hindsight Draft Trades: The Patrick Mahomes Trade

Patrick Mahomes has been lighting up the NFL in his sophomore year, and he should be the odds-on favorite to win the MVP. Mahomes only started one game in his rookie year because the Kansas City Chiefs had Alex Smith as the starting QB. Clearly, the Chiefs saw something in Mahomes as they traded up to the #10 pick in the 2017 NFL Draft with a QB already on the roster. They had Alex Smith at the helms, but they saw him as a short-term option, while the Chiefs saw Mahomes as a franchise quarterback and could not pass on him. Through the first four games of the 2018 season, Mahomes is 4-0 with a 65.2% completion percentage, 1200 passing yards, league leading fourteen touchdowns, as well as zero interceptions. Mahomes also just led a game winning drive over the Denver Broncos on Monday night at Denver. It seems like the 2017 draft trade has panned out for the Chiefs, but how did it pan out for the team that gave up the 10th pick?

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The Buffalo Bills held the 10th pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. Defensive players Marshon Lattimore, Malik Hooker, and Jonathan Allen were available at 10, but the Kansas City Chiefs came calling looking for that pick. The Bills thought the bounty was too big to turn down, so they traded away the 10th pick for the Chiefs’ 2017 first round and third round selections, the 27th and 91st picks, as well as the Chiefs’ 2018 first round selection, which ended up as the 22nd pick. The Bills felt somewhat comfortable with Tyrod Taylor at the time, so they passed on Mahomes and Deshaun Watson, as well as other notable players, to gain more draft picks. The prize of that trade was that 2018 first rounder. The Bills would then have two first round picks in the 2018 draft, which would allow them to draft two solid players, or use that heavy ammunition to move up in the draft and select a stud. It is important to look at the picks the Bills received and see what they did with those picks to see if the trade worked out for the Bills, because it has clearly worked out for the Chiefs.

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The Bills used the 27th overall pick in the 2o17 draft on CB Tre’Davious White. This has turned out to be an excellent pick for the Bills. White became the #1 corner for the Bills, and he shined in his rookie season. He finished the year with 4 interceptions, 18 passes defended, 1 forced fumble, 2 fumble recoveries, 69 total tackles, as well as 1 defensive touchdown. White had a couple of game sealing plays in 2017, as well rookie of the month honors. The Bills ended up making the playoffs in 2017, ending a 22-year drought, and Tre’Davious White played a big part in this. White has had a slow start to the 2018 season with only four pass defended, 15 total tackles, and no interceptions four games into the season. Tre’Davious White has shown that he is capable of an All-Pro season, and he should end up having a great career for the Bills.

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The second pick the Bills received from the Chiefs was the 91st pick in the draft. The Bills did not use this pick as they decided to trade it to the Los Angeles Rams to move up in the second round. The Bills sent their second-round selection, 44th pick, and the Chiefs’ third round selection, 91st pick, to the Rams in exchange for the 37th and 149th pick in the draft. The Bills used the 37th pick on WR Zay Jones. This pick has not worked out as Zay Jones has not done much in Buffalo. In 19 career games, Jones has 460 receiving yards on 37 receptions with only two TDs. He has not been much of a gamechanger for the Bills and the big problem with him is he has 91 career targets with only 37 receptions. Jones has yet to have a breakout game with Buffalo to show he was worth the 37th pick. In a 10 pick radius, there was not much else the Bills could have done with that pick. RB Dalvin Cook was selected with the 41st pick, but the Bills have LeSean McCoy, so RB was not much of a need for them. JuJu Smith-Schuster went late in the second round with the 62nd pick, so it is hard to say the Bills should have selected Schuster instead. Hindsight says that the Bills should have selected Schuster with the 37th pick, but in the moment, it is hard to select a guy with a late second round/early third round projection with an early second round pick. The Rams definitely won this trade as they selected S John Johnson with the 91st pick from the Bills. In 20 games with the Rams, Johnson has 103 total tackles, two interceptions, 1 forced fumble, and 16 passes defended. If the Bills stood pat at pick #91, they could have landed another good defensive back to add to their secondary.

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The Bills would go one to trade the 149th pick they received from the Rams in a package to the Falcons. The Bills sent the 75th, 149th, and 156th pick for the Falcons’ second round selection, the 63rd pick. With the 63rd pick, the Bills selected OL Dion Dawkins, and they have moved him to the starting left tackle position. Dawkins has not been a Joe Thomas, but he has been an above average LT for the Bills. He has had his ups and downs, but he gives the Bills confidence that he will protect the blindside. In a few years, Dawkins could end up being a fantastic LT. The Bills have clearly won this trade as the Falcons did nothing with the picks they received.

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The final trade was the prize of the trade, and that was the Chiefs’ 2018 first round selection. With the 22nd pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, the Bills once again did not stand pat. They decided to agree to a trade with the Baltimore Ravens to move up to the 16th pick in the draft. The Bills received the 154th pick in the draft as well and sent the 22nd pick and the 65th pick to move up six spots. With the 16th pick, the Bills selected LB Tremaine Edmunds. Edmunds has had a good start in his first four games with 30 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and 4 passes defended, but he has the potential to be better down the road. He has the height and speed to wreak havoc on opposing offensive lines and become a nightmare to game plan against. Time will tell with Edmunds, but he does have the potential to become one of the best linebackers in the league. The other pick the Bills received from the Ravens was the 154th pick, and the Bills selected CB Siran Neal with that pick. Neal has seen very little playing time and might be a guy who is cut from the roster during next year’s preseason.

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The Chiefs obviously benefitted from this trade and would do it again in a heartbeat. They might have missed out on a few players if they stood pat, but they got a franchise QB in Patrick Mahomes, which can be very hard to come by. It is sort of questionable on whether the Bills benefitted from this trade. If they hung onto the #10 pick in the 2017 draft, they could have selected Marshon Lattimore who made the Pro-Bowl in his rookie season. If they kept their pick, they still could have pulled off a trade for Dion Dawkins. They would not have had the 5th round pick from the Rams trade, but they still had other 5th round picks as well as 2019 picks. Having Dion Dawkins is important as Dawkins made Cordy Glenn expendable. Cordy Glenn allowed the Bills to swap first round picks in the 2018 draft with the Cincinnati Bengals. The Bills moved up from 21st to 12th because they had a LT that could replace Glenn. Buffalo sent the 12th pick and a package of second rounders to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to move up to the 7th pick to select Josh Allen, who the Bills hope will be their franchise QB. Josh Allen was still a possibility even without the Patrick Mahomes trade, though.

The Chiefs will go down as the winners of this trade, but the Bills do not have to be the losers. If Tremaine Edmunds plays to his potential, the trade would have been successful for the Bills. This is the one piece that will determine whether the Bills lost the trade. If they stood pat at the 2017 Draft, they could have selected Lattimore and still pulled off a draft trade for Dion Dawkins. Edmunds is the one piece that was unattainable from standing pat. Lattimore is a much better replacement for Tre’Davoius White and Dawkins was still a possibility. The Chiefs will go down as the winners of this trade, but Tremaine Edmunds will determine whether or not the Bills come out as losers.

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