ORCHARD PARK N.Y. (WIVB) – In his first year as general manager of the Buffalo Bills, Doug Whaley seems to embody the old mantra: “Expect the unexpected.”
In describing his approach as GM, Whaley said, “Simple but interesting. You never know what I am going to do.”
During the 2014 NFL Draft, Whaley, who at age 41 is among the league’s youngest general managers, captivated NFL fans with a total of five trades in three days. The Bills front office commenced the draft festivities by trading up from the ninth overall pick to the fourth overall pick, where the organization drafted Clemson receiver Sammy Watkins. In return, Buffalo gave Cleveland their 2015 first-round and fourth-round picks. The move indicated a ‘win-now’ mentality.
“Nowadays you don’t have that much time to prove yourself and have a long-term plan,” Whaley explained. “Everyone says we are in a ‘win-now’ mode, but I disagree. You are always in a ‘win-now’ mode when you are in the NFL because it’s a results-based business.”
Whaley, a former collegiate football player, played linebacker and safety at the University of Pittsburgh. His competitive nature has carried over into his current role.
“It’s the closest thing you can get to playing,” Whaley said. “It really fires up my juices and gets me excited. The draft is our Super Bowl as scouts.”
From the outside looking in, it appears as though the Bills front office took a fearless approach. By sacrificing a first-round pick in 2015 it seemingly as if the team is going double or nothing with their current roster of players and their 2014 first-round pick. According to Whaley, the stakes are high, but it’s easy to gamble when you know all the cards that are in play.
“We don’t look at it as a risk because we are prepared and we did all our research and we just think it is a calculated gamble,” he said. “We have missed the playoffs 14 years, so why are we going to do the same thing and expect a different result?”
Whaley’s moves may be unexpected due to his willingness to go outside the norm to adapt to situations. However, when it comes time for the team to step on the field, there is only one expectation as far as Whaley’s concern and that is to win.