Most of the 2014 NFL Draft grades have been passed out and just about everybody agrees that Buffalo Bills general manager Doug Whaley did a pretty good job with his team's class. Afterall, the Bills landed a playmaker in Sammy Watkins, one of the better offensive tackles in Cyrus Kouandjio and grabbed solid value picks in the later rounds.
But there always seems to be a "but" when discussing the Bills' class this year, and that centers mostly around the price the team paid to move up from the ninth overall pick to the Cleveland Browns' spot at No. 4. Grabbing the best receiver in the draft might be worth it for some, but NFL Media analyst Charles Davis thinks the 2015 first-round and fourth-round picks involved in the trade to get Watkins was too much of a price to pay.
"In this draft, as deep as it is, the types of players they could have got without giving up future draft picks could have (gotten the same thing) accomplished," Davis said on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft." "Obviously they wanted a better target for EJ Manuel, but I wouldn't have made that kind of a move. This isn't like the Falcons going up to get Julio Jones thinking he can get them to the Super Bowl."
Watkins without a doubt upgrades the Bills' passing game by giving them a true No. 1 wideout who has the speed to stretch defenses. Widely regarded as one of the top offensive players in the draft, the 6-foot-1, 211-pound receiver should start opposite of Robert Woods and give Manuel another option when he drops back. The team did recoup the fourth-round pick sent to Cleveland by trading Stevie Johnson to the 49ers, but the Bills do so while also losing a receiver who's posted three 1,000-yard seasons. Plus, the Bills likely get back a pick that should be much lower in the round than theirs would have been.
Whaley clearly wanted to go for broke on offense and that win-now mentality seemed to be at the forefront of the team's draft. Given the needs the team still has and how difficult their division is, one still has to wonder if the team gave up some of their ability to compete down the road by moving up to get a single player at the deepest position in the draft.
"I look at it and say what was the alternative?" NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah said. "You sit at No. 9 and you get Odell Beckham. Maybe you take him a little early, but you still have a one and a four next year. I'd rather have that package than pay it to get Sammy Watkins. I do admire their coverage and conviction."
No matter what the outcome ends up being for the Bills in the long run, the move should put pressure on Doug Marrone's squad to end the team's 14-year playoff drought sooner rather than later. Watkins was brought in to be a difference maker, but his new team still has a tough hurdle to clear in division rival New England and a long history to overcome.
Follow Bryan Fischer on Twitter @BryanDFischer.