4 things to know: Bills opt out of 1st round, will kick off in 2nd

4 things to know: Bills opt out of 1st round, will kick off in 2nd

ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Bills dealt with an enemy and an old friend Thursday night. Trading pick No. 28 to the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs, and pick No. 32 to the Carolina Panthers, the Bills will now make their first selection in the 2024 NFL Draft at the start of Friday night’s second round.

Buffalo improved its draft position for the remaining two days of the draft, moving up 38 spots into the third round (No. 95) in the deal with the Chiefs, replacing the pick dealt to Green Bay (No. 91) for cornerback Rasul Douglas at least season’s trade deadline, while giving up a fourth-rounder (No. 133). They jumped 59 spots into the fifth round (No. 141) in the trade with Carolina, sending back a sixth (No. 200). The Bills also went up 27 slots in Saturday’s seventh round (No. 221) in the deal with the Chiefs.

“We’re excited about tomorrow,” general manager Brandon Beane said at the conclusion of the first round after midnight. “We’ve now got three picks instead one,” in the second and third rounds.

Who was on the board?

Kansas City picked Texas speedster Xavier Worthy, a player some projected Buffalo to draft, after four other wide receivers were drafted before the Bills came up on the clock. Worthy is the fastest 40-yard dasher (4.21 seconds) in the history of the NFL Scouting Combine. Two more receivers went before the end of the first round, as San Francisco selected Florida’s Ricky Pearsall at 31, and Carolina picking South Carolina’s Xavier Legette at 32.

Josh Allen’s WR wishes for the ’24 NFL Draft

With seven receivers drafted at Buffalo’s biggest position of need in the first round, and three going after the Bills original selection came up in the draft order, wideouts in play for Buffalo’s first pick Friday include: Georgia’s Ladd McConkey, Florida State’s Keon Coleman, and Adonai Mitchell from Texas. Buffalo’s additional draft capital also could facilitate a trade for an established receiver to replace Stefon Diggs.

Beane said the Bills did not try to move up in the first round to secure a receiver, and did not receive any offers from team’s looking to drop down. “Most people would seem to be sticking around their area,” Beane said. “We were checking the whole night, around our area and back. And we were just like every year following the board and where we think the value is.”

“I honestly thought we were going to pick at 32,” Beane added, “but then talked to my buddy Dan,” Morgan, the Panthers GM who previously worked for the Bills.

Remember when?

In the last instance of the Bills and Chiefs making a draft day trade, Kansas City moved up to select superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes in 2017. Buffalo got cornerback Tre’Davious White with the 27th pick, and obtained an extra first-round selection in 2018. That helped the Bills maneuver to draft their own franchise QB in Josh Allen, while also nabbing linebacker Tremaine Edmunds in the 2018 first round.

Yet as Mahomes has led the Chiefs to three championships, White and Edmunds are no longer with the Bills. The defensive cornerstones came and went before Allen could lead Buffalo to the big game.

Worthy’s worth will be on display when Kansas City visits Buffalo this season, and it seems fated that the Bills will need to figure how to defend the playmaker in future playoff matchups.

Beane claimed there was no hesitancy to make a traded that could fortify their competition in the AFC. “It’s really for me what is the best deal for the Bills,” he said. “If we don’t do a deal with Kansas City, they can go do a deal with the next team.”

Beane’s track record

Having moved up in the first round each of the past years, and four times since 2018, this was Beane’s first time trading down on the draft’s opening night.

“I would say Vegas lost on me today,” Beane said. “If they pay attention to us, which I’m sure they do, they probably would peg us to move up. I know just hearing around here … people were saying were were trying to aggressively move into the top 10. No team ever called me to say we want to move back there. And I’m not calling up there a day ahead or whatever. That was all just smoke.”

The last time Buffalo’s GM traded a way a first-rounder without moving up was in the 2020 deal for Stefon Diggs. The Vikings selected All-Pro receiver Justin Jefferson with the No. 18 pick that year.

First night first

This is the sixth time in history that the Bills did not make a first-round pick. It’s the only time Buffalo has opted out of the opening round after the draft begun.

The previous trades in which the Bills dealt away a future first acquired these players: LB Cornelius Bennett (cost first pick in 1988-89 drafts), QB Rob Johnson (’98), QB J.P. Losman (’05), WR Sammy Watkins (’15), and Diggs (’20).

2024 NFL Draft Tracker: Keep up with every 1st round pick and every trade


Jonah Bronstein joined the WIVB squad in 2022 as a digital sports reporter. The Buffalonian has covered the Bills, Sabres, Bandits, Bisons, colleges, high schools and other notable sporting events in Western New York since 2005, for publications including The Associated Press, The Buffalo News, and Niagara Gazette. Read more of his work here.

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