Friday, three teams brightened the dull nature of NFL training camp and preseason. The Buffalo Bills decided Sammy Watkins wasn't their guy after all, shipping the former No. 4 overall pick in the 2014 draft to the Los Angeles Rams in one of two trades made by the team the day after their first preseason tilt. The other deal was struck with the Philadelphia Eagles.
Here are the details.
Rams 2018 2nd
Eagles 2018 3rd
BIills 2018 6th
— Benjamin Allbright (@AllbrightNFL) August 11, 2017
So, the Bills swapped CB Ronald Darby, WR Sammy Watkins and a 2018 6th-round pick for WR Jordan Matthews, the Eagles' 2018 3rd-round pick, CB EJ Gaines and the Rams' 2018 2nd-round pick. Buffalo now has two picks in each of the first three rounds of the 2018 NFL Draft.
[divider]MORE ON BILLS, EAGLES, RAMS TRADES[divider]
While they've done it with different quarterbacks, here's a WR vs. WR comparison for the last three years between Matthews and Watkins, both part of the class of 2014.
The key to these deals for the Bills may include probability. Watkins had two decent seasons to start his career then missed half of 2016. Matthews has missed just two games in three years and is considered a better route runner and operates from the slot.
But the biggest impact may come from the opportunity just created for another outside receiver.
The Bills' depth chart at wide receiver now looks like this:
The Bills have one of the youngest receiver corps in the league, despite Boldin being 37 years old in October. The Matthews-Watkins swap didn't change anything there, but Matthews is more of a possession/inside target versus Watkins' down-field ability.
Buffalo likely looks to a young player such as rookie Zay Jones to fill the big-play role.
Jones, a 2nd-round pick by the Bills (No. 37 overall) this past April, caught 399 passes in four years at East Carolina, a record for the FBS level, with 158 of them coming last season.
Here are Jones' NFL Draft Combine results:
|40||Broad Jump||20 Shuttle||60 Shuttle|
Jones clearly has speed to go with size at 6-foot-2 and 220 pounds.
Here's what NFL Network's Mike Mayock said about Jones entering Draft Day:
He's got hands and toughness. … People thought he couldn't run because most of his offense was underneath. I'll tell you right now, he ran away from people at the Senior Bowl. He went from a third- or fourth-round selection to a high second-round because he trusted the process.
The Bills lack depth in the wide receiver corps in terms of proven players. This new situation, with no Sammy Watkins, is ripe for Jones to seize an opportunity.