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Bills tried to trade up to No. 1, still landed Sammy Watkins at No. 4

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

The Bills really wanted Sammy Watkins. (USATSI)
The Bills really wanted Sammy Watkins. (USATSI)

More Draft coverage: 2015 Mock Drafts | 2015 Top 100 | 2014 Draft Grades | News

If the first-biggest development in the 2014 NFL Draft was the Jaguars taking quarterback Blake Bortles third overall, the second-biggest development came a pick later, when the Bills traded up from No. 9 to grab wide receiver Sammy Watkins.

This behind-the-scenes video on BuffaloBills.com explains exactly how it all came together, along with the revelation that the Bills actually tried to move up to the top spot in the draft.

"We went with Houston right off the bat," said Jim Monos, the Bills director of player personnel. "We tried to go to No. 1 and they weren't having it, they knew who they wanted, so we started working our way right down."

But before the Texans made it official and drafted Jadeveon Clowney, the phone rang in the Bills' war room and it's the Browns, who have the No. 4 pick.

Bills general manager Doug Whaley explains: "[Cleveland general manager] Ray [Farmer] asks me, 'Are you still interested and if you are, here are the specifics of what we would request to make sure we get fair value for you guys moving up. I took the notes down, I said we'd get back to you, we obviously have to make sure our guy is there and as the pick gets closer to your pick we'll be back in touch."

Meanwhile, the Rams take Greg Robinson second overall.

Next up: The Jags.

Monos said the Bills "really didn't know" who Jacksonville would target with the No. 3 pick. "We had just heard so much ... that they needed a receiver we thought that this was going to be Sammy. We knew that if Jacksonville didn't take him we had a shot."

The Jags took Bortles.

"At that point," Bills general manager Doug Whaley explained, "I got on the phone and called [the Browns], came back with another counteroffer, and [Browns GM Ray Farmer] said 'I'll call you back.' The [clock] starts ticking and you're excited, you're anxious, you know it's very close. And they called us back, came with another counteroffer, we countered that, and [Farmer] said 'let me think about it' -- and then he said 'hold on, I got another call.'

"That's when the whole room got silent and there was a pause. ...

"Thirty seconds later, he called back and said, 'Let's go over the deal again, we made sure of the specifics, he repeated it, I repeated it ... and then we sent it into the league," Whaley said.

"Now I have to get Sammy on the phone. ... There was a lot of commotion just because he was in New York but, yeah, he was ecstatic and it was just something you'd never thought would come to fruition."

The video also shows how the Bills ended up with tackle Cyrus Kouandjio in Round 2 and linebacker Preston Brown in Round 3.

"You know, you look at your haul with those three picks ... coming out of that you felt really excited," Manos said. "Our philosophy: Your first three rounds are starters or considerable contributors and we feel like we got those."

 
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