AFC East Draft Outlook

With less than two weeks until the draft, we’re doing our best to inform you, the reader, of what to look forward to on draft day. If you missed any of our preview series, check under the “Draft Previews” tab for all the links. Why is the draft such a big deal? It’s like Christmas in April for NFL teams. We’re also working on setting up a CoverItLive Blog with some fellow bloggers for during the draft, so feel free to drop by and chat with us!
We got some big-time help from Twitter for these AFC East Previews. Eric from JetsTwit and Bills fan for life Tony C. gave us some great info on their teams.
AFC East Draft Outlook
2009 Record: 10-6
Lost 33-14 to Baltimore in AFC Wild Card Round
Draft Picks: 22 (1-22), 44 (2-12), 47 (2-15), 53 (2-21), (4-21), (6-21), (6-36), (7-22), (7-24), (7-40), (7-41), (7-43)
The big question here is how long will Wes Welker be out for? Randy Moss is entering the final year of his contract, and it seems as if the marriage that seemed so perfect between him and Brady has slowly been crumbling. We’ve been saying for a while that we feel like New England, with the most picks of any team in the draft, is very much in the Dez Bryant sweepstakes. They have traded up before to take a player they wanted (Jerrod Mayo in 2008). We really wouldn’t be shocked to see them move up to take Bryant. One distinct possibility is to trade with Jacksonville at 10.
Beyond that, New England needs to continue their youth revival on defense. One particular point of emphasis needs to be at linebacker. Mayo is a beast on the inside, but they need someone on the outside who can consistently pressure the quarterback. Adailus Thomas has been a big disappointment. The Patriots could also use help along their D-line. They re-signed Vince Wilfork at NT, but could use some help at DE after losing Richard Seymour. Penn St’s Jared Odrick would be an ideal fit for their defense. With their slew of 2nd round picks, they can pick up some needed talent, or utilize the picks as trade ammo to move up. New England is always active on draft day and we don’t expect anything different from them here. The Pats have also had their name mentioned as a potential landing spot for Tim Tebow. This would make a lot of sense. They don’t need a starting QB now, and Tebow would have time to sit and learn the system. New England also uses a lot of shotgun sets, which would play to Tebow’s strengths. Belicheat could also be creative with him in goal line sets.
AFC East Draft Outlook
2009 Record: 9-7
Lost 30-17 to Indianapolis in AFC Championship Game
Draft Picks: 29 (1-29), 61 (2-29), (4-26), (6-29), (7-29)
The Jets treated Free Agency like their draft. They brought in Antonio Cromartie from the Chargers and Santonio Holmes, who between them have 10 children with 7 different mothers. Jets fans will love their contributions on the field, but these guys are also entering the night club capital of the world. Women of New York, you have been warned. The Jets also scooped up LT from the Chargers. Yawn. He’ll get injured in Week 2 and it’ll be the Shonn Greene show. We really liked Greene at Iowa, and he’s going to be a beast behind their O-line this year.
Eric from Jets Twit (Twitter) threw some kernels of wisdom our way in thanks for Santonio Holmes. Enter the world that is his fascination with the New York Jets and Social Media!! J-E-T-S TWIT TWIT TWIT!! (Website)
1. What did you see as the biggest need(s) for your team to address this offseason?
The Jets had to address the running back position first when they let Thomas Jones go and Leon Washington still a big question mark with his recovery on that broken leg. Signing LT was big in my mind because they needed to replenish the leadership they lost with TJ. Many think that he is washed up but I know it was a big move especially with our O-line (the best in the league last year based on the best rushing O).
2a. Have they addressed any of these so far in Free Agency?
Yes as stated above, but Santonio Holmes was just plain ROBBERY. The Steelers gave him to us for a song but they just wanted to cut their garbage and try to re-establish their reputation BUT big Ben is going to make that impossible.

Antonio Cromarite was HUGE. He’s a problem child off the field as well, but on the field bundled with Revis we probably have the best CB tandem as well as the best secondary when you add Poole from the browns to replace Kerry Rhodes. Poole loves to hit often and hard! Just hoping that he doesn’t get another concussion
2b. Which do you think are better addressed in the Draft?
I think the Jets now are free to take the best available at ANY position. If we lock up Jason Taylor (looks like it is most promising that he’ll be a Jet), then we can do a lot in the draft. We can drop down, move up (we have done it the last 3 consecutive years) to get the player we covet which could be a DE, Safety or WR.
3. Who is on your draft wish list?
Dez Bryant, Taylor Mays, Jared Odrick, and Golden Tate.
Our Take:

In the draft, the Jets could use some help at the OLB spot. Adding a pass rusher like Jerry Hughes from TCU would go a long way to making their defense even better. They don’t have many needs on offense, besides adding depth along the O-line, particularly at tackle for the future. They could use some depth at secondary as well.
AFC East Draft Outlook
2009 Record: 7-9
Draft Picks: 12 (1-12), 73 (3-9), (4-12), (6-4), (6-5), (6-10), (7-5), (7-12), (7-45)
Miami made one of the biggest moves of the offseason to land WR Brandon Marshall. This very well could be an answer move to the Jets picking up Santonio Holmes. While Marshall has had his issues off the field, he is not on the verge of a season-long suspension like Holmes. Chad Henne is coming into his own as the Dolphins quarterback, and he is supported by a solid run game led by Ronnie Brown and Ricky Williams. Brown has found his niche running the Wildcat offense, but with Henne coming into his own, the Dolphins have had to rely less and less on the Wildcat to move the ball.
The Dolphins need some anchors for their 3-4 defense. The two positions of biggest need are nose tackle and outside linebacker. They added Karlos Dansby on the inside to a linebacking unit that was weak at best last year. With the departure of Joey Porter, Miami needs a pass-rushing linebacker, which they could easily snag at #12 by taking either Brandon Graham, Sergio Kindle, or Jason Pierre-Paul. The Dolphins, who are short on picks in the early rounds of the draft, could look to trade down, as it is likely someone like Dan Williams (NT-Tennessee) would still be available later in the first round. Our bet is that they take Williams in the first to anchor their run defense then go after pass rushers later in the draft.
AFC East Draft Outlook
2009 Record: 6-10
Draft Picks: 9 (1-9), 41 (2-9), 72 (3-8), (4-9), (5-9), (6-9), (6-23), (7-2), (7-9)
Buffalo is in trouble. They’re at the heart of a rebuilding effort without a franchise quarterback. Their defense is mediocre at best, and rumors are swirling about the team moving to Toronto. Can the Bills turn it around and work out a package with the city of Buffalo to keep them there? They made a splash move last year to land TO in free agency. Big shocker, it didn’t work out – they still sucked. After firing their offensive coordinator a few weeks before the season started, Buffalo’s offense was in shambles for most of the season. They need help all over the field, but mostly at quarterback.
Tony Chimera, Bills fan since birth and occasional writer on various Bills fansites, was kind enough to drop by and offer up some words of wisdom on the situation in Buffalo. Hit him up on Twitter if you want more Buffalinfo.
1. What do you see as the biggest need(s) for your team to address this offseason?
First of all, greetings Steeler Nation. Enjoy the relaxation and happiness that comes with a well run organization. As Bills fans, we dream of that day. I hope your former employee, Doug Whaley, now Assistant GM of the Bills helps us get there. Onto the teams needs, we have a bunch of them, OT, QB, LB, DL, and WR. I would include a Buffalo based new owner in that mix but I think that is out of scope for this discussion.

2. Which positions of need do you think would be better addressed in Free Agency? In the Draft?
Free Agency has been an extension of our offseason – a whole lot of talk with nothing happening. As of right now, we have signed an OT, Cornell Green. He can’t be worse than what we have, but he is a stopgap RT option. We should continue to target some depth at the OL spots in free agency. The real needs which may go unfilled in free agency are DL and LB. I would expect we’ll sign one veteran WR option as well. In the draft, the first round comes down to OT or QB. If Claussen or Bradford are there, I’d expect us to take them. If not or if we aren’t in love with tehm, expect Brian Bulaga, OT or Trent Williams, OT. The saving grace for the Bills is that they do have a lot of young talent signed for awhile so building through the draft seems like the way to go until you start winning.
3. Who is on your draft wish list?
If I was running the Bills, I would focus my attention on the long term versus the short term. In that vein, I would look at the best player available with the biggest boom potential matched with college production. I would note if we drafted this way last year we would have Michael Oher instead of Aaron Maybin. (My draft apolplexies are legendary. Maybin, Whitner, and Marshawn Lynch ranks as all time temper tantrums. My order of interest for the first round:
1. Rolando McClain – Middle of the D has been porous. Combine him with Poz and we have a start.
2. Brian Bulaga – OT is never a sexy pick, but he’ll be a good one.
3. Jimmy Claussen – I like him better than Bradford (injuries) and think he may be successful, but I hope he isn’t there to pick. I think next year is a better QB class and the Bills don’t need another California raised QB (Rob Johnson, JP Losman, And Trentative “Checkdown” Edwards is the current trifecta.
If the Bills do something bizarre like draft Tebow number 9, send flowers and money to my wife and kids. 🙂
In the 2nd and third rounds, I’d target the DL – Terrence Cody or Cam Thomas, DT would be our Casey Hampton (I’m guessing he likes buffalo wings – probably 40 at a time) and assuming we don’t get a QB earlier I like a developmental player like Jarrett Brown or Darryl Clark later. The rest of the draft would be DL, LB, OL focused. some potential late round gems might be Geno Atkins, DT, Jeff Owens, DT, Micah Johnson, LB, Perry Riley, LB, Greg Hardy, DE, Hall DAvis, DE, Clifton Geathers, DE, Thomas Austin, OT, and Cord Howard, OL. For other positions in later rounds, I like Andrew Quarless, TE, Marcus Easley, WR,Walter McFadden, CB, and Robert Johnson, S.
In summary, we have a really bad team in Buffalo. With a perfect draft and a little luck, we could get back to respectability in 2011 or 2012. In the meantime, expect a 3-13 or 4-12 team at best.
Our Take:

If Buffalo wants to sell tickets and have any hope of keeping the team in Buffalo, they need to make a splash in this draft. That likely means taking a quarterback. They may have to trade up to take Clausen, but it might be worth it. Clausen could step in and play now, and with the tandem of Marshawn Lynch and Fred Jackson in the backfield, he wouldn’t have to make a ton of plays. Bills fans aren’t expecting much this next season, so why not make a move for a franchise QB? They need to keep getting younger and better on the O-line, and last year’s picks of Eric Wood and Andy Levitre should continue to improve along the interior. The Bills are moving to a 3-4, which should turn Aaron Maybin into a monster on the outside. The Bills are still a few years away from contention, but adding a QB that can actually get the ball to Lee Evans is a must.
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