Buffalo GM unlikely to shop No. 3 pick

INDIANAPOLIS -- Buffalo Bills general manager Buddy Nix likes owning the No. 3 pick in this year's draft.

But he doesn't want to make a habit of it.

"I'm going to tell you this, partner: I don't want to draft third again," Nix said Thursday at the NFL scouting combine.

Buffalo earned its lofty draft position with a dismal 4-12 season.

Nix conceded he's prone to hold onto the pick and won't shop it before the draft.

"I wouldn't ever say we wouldn't do that," Nix said. "But I never have been one to do a lot of that. I don't like giving up a player, especially if you're sold on one."

Nix added the Bills would be open to trading out of their slot on draft day, but only if the players they've targeted are claimed within the first two picks.

"If the guys that you think merit a 3 are gone, then I think you have to look at moving back," Nix said. "We need as many picks as we can get."

But Nix indicated the Bills prefer to stay put.

"If there's a guy that you were dead set on getting," Nix said, "you better take him and not move down, thinking you can get him at No. 7 because you might not, and then you don't have the player. If there's a guy we think we're dead set on, we're going to take him."

The third selection is a premium asset and might be considered more valuable this year. Labor strife could delay free agency until after April's draft. While there's no collective bargaining agreement (CBA), clubs are prohibited from signing free agents or making trades that involve players. Teams could be forced to address personnel needs for the first time when they go on the clock.

Plus, a rookie salary cap is expected for the next CBA. That would make the top few premium selections more economical and limit the kinds of losses incurred when the Oakland Raiders drafted quarterback JaMarcus Russell first overall in 2007 or the New York Jets took pass-rusher Vernon Gholston sixth in 2008.

Those factors lead Nix and other NFL executives to believe there will be more draft-pick trades this year.

"That certainly will cause more movement," Nix said.

Nix also pointed out the added value of early second-round picks because the draft is broken into three days now. The first round takes place April 28. The second and third rounds are April 29. That gives several hours in between the end of the first round and the start of the second to trade with a team desperate for a player still on the board.

The Bills also own the 34th pick.