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Draft Analysis – AFC East

AFC East

by Dwayne Wilton

Now that the draft process is complete, we will do a series of articles discussing the draft picks of each team by division. Since these players have yet to set foot on an NFL field, we don’t do draft grades. We don’t believe a draft should be graded for at least two years, which gives players some time to develop.

Today we start the series by looking at the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills:

Round 1                E.J. Manuel                       Quarterback         Florida State

Round 2                Robert Woods                  Wide Receiver      USC

Round 2                Kiko Alonso                      Linebacker            Oregon

Round 3                Marquise Goodwin         Wide Receiver      Texas

Round 4                Duke Williams                 Safety                     Nevada

Round 5                Jonathan Meeks              Safety                     Clemson

Round 6                Dustin Hopkins               Kicker                    Florida State

Round 7                Chris Gragg                       Tight End             Arkansas

The Bills released Ryan Fitzpatrick who had been their quarterback for the last three years. They picked up Kevin Kolb, but they obviously didn’t think he is the long term answer. The team took a big step in selecting E.J. Manuel in the first round. I think that was a good way for them to go. They obviously liked Manuel better than Geno Smith and Manuel gives them a chance to run the up tempo, zone read offense that Doug Marrone ran at Syracuse. Manuel is raw and may take some time to develop. Kolb may be the starter in week 1, but you have to believe that the Bills want to get Manuel on the field as soon as possible. The selection of Robert Woods in the second round gives them a receiving weapon to add to Stevie Johnson. Woods is a very good route runner with decent speed who will help move the chains. Marquise Goodwin gives them a weapon with Olympic class speed. He needs some work on route running, but he can help immediately in the return game and you can’t coach speed. Kiko Alonso is an inside linebacker that doesn’t shy away from contact. He should have a good chance to make the starting lineup. Duke Williams is a big hitter that should excel on special teams and eventually should get a chance to start. Chris Gragg was a steal in the 7th round. He is a very good receiving tight end that doesn’t block well, but has good speed that can stretch the defense.

Miami Dolphins:

Round 1               Dion Jordan        Defensive End                   Oregon

Round 2              Jamar Taylor       Cornerback                        Boise State

Round 3              Dallas Thomas    Guard/Tackle                    Tennessee

Round 3              Will Davis            Cornerback                        Utah State

Round 4              Jelani Jenkins    Linebacker                         Florida

Round 4              Dion Sims           Tight End                            Michigan State

Round 5              Mike Gillislee     Running back                     Florida

Round 5              Caleb Sturgis      Kicker                                  Florida

Round 7              Don Jones           Safety                                   Arkansas State

The Dolphins shocked the experts by trading up to the 3rd overall pick and taking Dion Jordan. The shocker wasn’t the fact that they traded up, but who they took. Most people thought when they traded up it was to take offensive tackle Lane Johnson. Instead, they decided to help their defense. Jordan is extremely athletic and should be a very versatile player for them. Although he didn’t have big-time production at Oregon, he was used in a variety of ways. If the Dolphins use him strictly as a pass rusher, he could easily be a double digit sack guy. Another need was corner and the Dolphins picked up two of them, Jamar Taylor in the 2nd round and Will Davis in the 3rd round. Taylor was a player that was rising up draft boards and some people had him going in the 1st round. He has good speed and does a good job in man coverage, but is not as good in off coverage. Davis is a physical corner with great concentration. Both corners do a good job of reading the QB and breaking on the ball. After losing Jake Long to the Rams, most people thought the Rams would go for an offensive tackle in the 1st round, but they waited until the 3rd round to pick up Dallas Thomas. Thomas has played both tackle spots and will be given a chance to win a starting job. I like him as an inside player, but the Dolphins obviously believe he can play tackle. Jelani Jenkins is a tough player that played the majority of the year with a cast due to a broken thumb. Despite the cast, he intercepted a pass against Florida State. He will be primarily a special team’s player in his first year. Dion Sims may have been the best blocking tight end available in this draft. He is a massive player that is like having a third tackle on the field, but he also has soft hands and can contribute in the passing game. Mike Gillislee only had one year as a starter, so he should have a lot of tread left on the tires. He’s a physical runner that gets better as the game goes on. He doesn’t have great speed, but he can get to the edge.

New England Patriots:

Round 2               Jamie Collins                      Linebacker          Southern Miss

Round 2               Aaron Dobson                    Wide Receiver    Marshall

Round 3               Logan Ryan                         Cornerback         Rutgers

Round 3               Duron Harmon                  Safety                    Rutgers

Round 4               Josh Boyce                          Wide Receiver      TCU

Round 7               Michael Buchanan             Defensive End     Illinois

Round 7               Steve Beauharnais             Linebacker           Rutgers

Does anyone manipulate the draft better than Bill Belichick? The Patriots only had 5 picks coming into the draft, but ended up with 7 picks by the time the day was over. After trading out of the 1st round, the Pats picked Jamie Collins as their first pick in the 2nd round. Collins is super athletic and he blew up the Combine. His broad jump of 11’ 7” is a combine record. He will probably start off backing up Jarod Mayo on the weak side, but I look for him to eventually be their starter. Aaron Dobson may have had the best hands of any wide receiver in the draft. He rarely drops a pass and his back-handed, one-handed catch against East Carolina is a Youtube sensation. The Patriots have a complicated offense, so he will probably be brought along slowly, but I can see him as a receiver that Tom Brady will love. Logan Ryan began the run of three Rutgers players taken by the Patriots. Ryan is a long, wiry corner with average speed. He is a competitor that could play corner or safety. Josh Boyce is a big play threat with 4.38 speed. Since Randy Moss left, the Pats have not had a receiver that could take the top off a defense, but Boyce could be that guy. Michael Buchanan and Steve Beauharnais were steals in the 7th round. I like Beauharnais a lot. He isn’t flashy, but he’s just a good football player that finds the ball.

New York Jets:

Round 1               Dee Milliner                       Cornerback                         Alabama

Round 1               Sheldon Richardson         Defensive End                    Missouri

Round 2              Geno Smith                         Quarterback                       West Virginia

Round 3              Brian Winters                     Guard                                  Kent State

Round 5              Oday Aboushi                     Guard/tackle                     Virginia

Round 6              William Campbell              Guard                                 Michigan

Round 7              Tommy Bohanon                Fullback                            Wake Forest

With Darrelle Revis being traded to Tampa Bay, the Jets needed another corner and the top rated corner fell to them at pick 9. Some people had Milliner in the top 5 but he fell a little due to some injury concerns. He is a complete corner that is well schooled in press coverage. He hasn’t played much off coverage, but I think he could do it. You can’t play corner for Nick Saban without being a good tackler, so he also brings that to the table. I’m not as big on Sheldon Richardson as most people, but I do like him better as a 3-4 defensive end, which is where he will play for the Jets. He will probably also move inside to defensive tackle on passing downs.  Mark Sanchez was served notice with the drafting of Geno Smith. If he butt fumbles this year, he can sit on the bench. It will be interesting to see how the Jets play this. Smith is probably not ready to play right away, so will the Jets keep Sanchez around, or will they cut him, play David Garrard and get Smith coached up? My only concern with Smith is that he seems like he may be a little thin skinned. His tweet about doubters before the draft was reminiscent of Donovan McNabb. I’m not saying he’s a bad guy, but if he wants to play in New York, he will have to learn to relax and not worry about other people’s expectations. Just go play your game Geno.  The Jets next three picks were offensive linemen. Winters is a former left tackle that should be a good guard. Aboushi will probably play either right tackle or guard. I don’t see him as having the athleticism to play on the left side. William Campbell was a defensive lineman for Michigan, but will be looking to switch to the offensive side in the NFL. Tommy Bohanon could be a really good football player for the Jets. He is a weight room standout who plays with good balance. He has good hands and should be able to help out in the passing game.


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