AFC East Draft Grades
I think the Bills did a lot of good things to help their defense. Both their 2nd round pick Torell Troup (NT) and 3rd round pick Alex Carrington (DE) should immeadiately help their front 3 as they transition to a 3-4 defense. The Bills added a couple of pass rushers in 6 round, and both Arthur Moats and Danny Batten have a chance to be effective starters. Troup might have been a bit of an overdraft, but nose tackle was a significant need. The real problem with the Bills draft is what they did on offense, or what they didn’t do. With the 9th overall pick the Bills selected C.J. Spiller, the dynamic running, receiving, returning back out of Clemson. Spiller does everything, except the two things the Bills need the most, throwing the ball and blocking for those who do. And after Fred Jackson‘s performance last season, Spiller doesn’t figure to get a ton of carries/catches. The 9th overall selection was a lot to spend on a third down back/return man. While the Bills added O-linemen Ed Wang and Kyle Calloway later, and got decent value where they selected them, that isn’t enough to address one of the worst offensive lines in football. Grabbing QB Levi Brown late gives you a little upside, but the Bills consistently passed on high rated quarterback prospects, guys who do actually project to be starters. For me the Bills didn’t fill needs or get enough high upside players. Grade D+
The Dolphins didn’t have a sexy draft, with the exception of the trade for Brandon Marshall, who does very much weigh into this grade (well 50-60% of Marshall, since they gave up a pick next year). With Marshall in the fold, Miami was able to trade back in the 1st round, add some more picks, and still get the guy they wanted DE Jared Odrick. Odrick is a perfect fit for the 3-4 end position and should generate a decent pass rush from that slot. Miami then grabbed a couple of solid linebackers, in 2nd rounder OLB Koa Misi and 4th rounder A.J. Edds, both have starting upside and should help immediately on special teams. Misi, especially should develop into an excellent starter and pass rusher. In between the two LB’s the Dolphins selected their lone offensive player (not counting Marshall) in guard John Jerry. Jerry is a very solid prospect, who helps give the Dolphins one of the deepest offensive lines in the league. There is a ton of potential with this unit’s backups, which will go a long way in helping the offense move the ball. Miami did pick up Reshad Jones in the 5th round. He is a bit raw as a safety, but has the talent and athleticism to develop into a starter at either safety spot. Grade B+
New England Patriots:
The Patriots went up and down this draft at will, which of course surprised no one since they do it every year. What’s even better is they even were able to start setting the table for next season, by trading a 3rd round pick for a 2nd rounder next season. Even with giving up a 3rd rounder, the Patriots still ended up with 12 draft picks including 5 in the top 3 rounds. The Patriots bolstered their defense early by adding CB Devin McCourty in the 1st round, OLB Jermaine Cunningham and ILB Brandon Spikes in the 2nd round. All three players should find an immediate home in New England, and while none might be a full-time starter in year one, they will all contribute. On offense the Patriots did a great job finding weapons for Tom Brady, by adding a pair of pass catching tight ends (Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez) and a very promising receiver (Taylor Price). Late in the draft New England picked depth picks across the offensive and defensive lines, in addition to a backup quarterback Zac Robinson. Overall this was a very solid and deep draft for the Patriots, and the only complaint might be that they didn’t address the offensive or defensive lines earlier, since they are razor thin at both positions. Grade B+
New York Jets:
The Jets only ended up with 4 picks but they made the most out of them. It is even more impressive considering they were able to trade for Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes using draft picks, giving Mark Sanchez all the weapons he needs to be successful. CB Kyle Wilson was an absolute steal at the bottom of the first round, and gives New York the best corners in the league. With an improved pass rush, the Jets defense should go from dominate to unstoppable. Adding Vlad Ducasse and Joe McKnight, both should be solid players and Ducasse should be a full time starter from day one. The only thing I don’t like about the Jets draft is that Ducasse and McKnight both only replace holes that the Jets created over the weekend, and aren’t a huge upgrade. While they are younger and cheaper than the players they are replacing, I’m not sure if they will be better this next season, which is troubling since the Jets are built to win the Super Bowl. I was shocked with how little they got in return for Leon Washington, one of the better 3rd down backs in the league. Overall I liked the Jets draft and I think they got solid value, but I don’t love the corresponding moves New York made. Grade B
Check back throughout the day as the rest of the divisions are posted!