Bills acquire Bryce Brown in trade with Eagles
Running back will be behind C.J. Spiller, Fred Jackson on depth chart
The Bills closed the National Football League draft much like they began it: They added a few more hulking offensive lineman, and made a few more trades on Saturday.
On the trade front, the Bills completed a deal with the Philadelphia Eagles to acquire running back Bryce Brown.
In the draft, they used two of their final four picks on big-bodied offensive lineman. Baylor guard Cyril Richardson, who is listed at six-foot-four and 343 pounds, was selected with the 153rd pick. And the Bills took a calculated risk on drafting Miami offensive lineman Seantrel Henderson with their final selection, 237th overall.
Henderson, who is listed at six-foot-seven and 331 pounds, raised attention at the NFL combine by acknowledging his college suspensions were related to marijuana use. Henderson started 26 of 43 games for the Hurricanes, and at one point was projected to having first-round potential.
Bills general manager Doug Whaley said drafted Henderson because every person deserves a second chance.
The Bills rounded out their picks by drafting Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell in the fourth round and Florida Atlantic linebacker Randell Johnson at 221, with their first of two seventh-round picks.
The Bills committed three of their seven draft picks to offensive line positions. Alabama tackle Cyrus Kouandjio, listed at six-foot-six and 322 pounds, was drafted in the second round.
Buffalo also made another trade on Saturday by swapping draft picks with Tampa Bay, giving up the 149th pick, for a seventh-rounder this year and a fifth-rounder next year.
Busy 3 days
The moves capped a busy three days for Whaley, who took over after Buddy Nix stepped down last year.
The Bills began the draft by trading up five spots to select Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins with the No. 4 pick. Buffalo then traded receiver Stevie Johnson to San Francisco on Friday.
Add it up, and the Bills have given up three draft picks, including a first-round selection next year, and Johnson. In exchange, they added four draft picks, plus Brown.
The wheeling and dealing actually began a month ago, when Buffalo gave up a sixth-round draft pick to acquire receiver Mike Williams in a trade with Tampa Bay.
It's an aggressive, "win-now" approach being taken to improve a team that hasn't had a winning finish since going 9-7 in 2004. And Buffalo has gone 14 seasons without a playoff berth, which is the NFL's longest active playoff drought.
The franchise is also in a period of transition following the death of owner and founder Ralph Wilson in March. The Bills are going to be put up for sale, with new owners potentially identified by the end of July.
By acquiring Brown, the Bills filled a need for depth without having to address it in the draft. He'll serve in a backup role behind co-starters Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller.
Brown has 190 carries for 878 yards and six touchdowns in two seasons with the Eagles. He overcame fumbling issues during his rookie season to finish with 564 yards rushing and four touchdowns in 16 games, including four starts.
In Buffalo, Brown joins an offence that ranked second in yards rushing last season.
"Yeah, I was definitely surprised," Brown said. "But I think it's a great opportunity for me to come in and be able to contribute any way that I can. I'm excited about the journey. And I can't wait to get started."
Cockrell, listed at six-feet and 190 pounds, was selected with the 109th pick. He finished with 12 interceptions in starting all 49 games he played over four seasons.
Cockrell also held his own against elite receivers. That was evident in Duke's 52-48 loss to Texas A&M in the Chick-fil-A Bowl on Dec. 31, when he limited Aggies star receiver Mike Evans to four catches for 72 yards.
"I think the word that comes out with Ross is he is always consistent," said Jim Monos, the Bills director of player personnel. "No matter if it's Mike Evans or Sammy [Watkins], he's played against all these guys and he is always consistent."
Cockrell showed leadership in serving as a team captain over the past two years. And Cockrell showed commitment to his education. He enrolled in a master's program in political science after earning his degree in December 2012.
Richardson, started 42 of 51 games in four seasons, and is coming off a senior season in which he became the first Baylor player to be named the Big 12's offensive lineman of the year.