Hey, did you guys know that Tom Brady might have asked for footballs to be underinflated by half a pound per square inch in December of 2014 and we’re still talking about it in May of 2016? What a time to be alive. The AFC East struggles to get much legitimate attention apart from “Deflategate”, but it should be one of the more interesting division races in this upcoming season. The Patriots have been the kings of the division for over a decade now, but the Jets and Bills are certainly catching them, with the Dolphins continuing to try and return to playoff form.
Round 1 Pick 19: Shaq Lawson, EDGE, Clemson
Round 2 Pick 47: Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama
Round 3 Pick 80: Adolphus Washington, DL, Ohio State
Round 4 Pick 139: Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
Round 5 Pick 156: Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas
Round 6 Pick 192: Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU
Round 6 Pick 218: Kevon Seymour, CB, USC
Analysis: In Rex Ryan’s first season as head coach of the Bills, they were in the playoff hunt until the very end, however a lack of defense, shockingly for a Rex team, kept them from making the playoffs. That was addressed early and often in this draft. Shaq Lawson, who should have been taken higher than this, will help provide the pass rush that was lacking from the Bills last season. He’ll replace Mario Williams. Reggie Ragland will be the David Harris of this defense, like Ryan had in New York. This was a very good value for Ragland. Adolphus Washington has some baggage, a reason why he fell into the 3rd, but he’s a former 5 star recruit, and Rex is as good as anyone as getting the most out of players’ “2nd chances.” Cardale will be a nice developmental option, and he could be ready in two to three years. He has all the physical tools you need, but he’s very raw. Jonathan Williams is another nice selection, as Buffalo is cornering the market on power backs, with the selection of Karlos Williams a year ago also. Listenbee might be the fastest player in this class, and he’ll be another deep threat with Sammy Watkins. Seymour is a really good athlete, and will provide depth in the secondary.
Round 1 Pick 13: Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
Round 2 Pick 40: Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
Round 3 Pick 73: Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
Round 3 Pick 86 : Leontee Carroo, WR, Rutgers
Round 6 Pick 186: Jakeem Grant, WR/KR, Texas Tech
Round 6 Pick 204: Jordan Lucas, S, Penn State
Round 7 Pick 223: Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
Round 7 Pick 231: Thomas Duarte, TE, UCLA
Analysis: The Dolphins continue to baffle me as a franchise. I was really happy that they decided to end Tunsil’s slide, and select the best lineman in the draft. Word is he’s gonna start at guard, but he’s an instant upgrade at any position. They traded up for Xavien Howard, who is a gigantic project. He’s a good athlete, but his technique is an absolute mess. Then they took Kenyan Drake in the 3rd, who is basically a 3rd down back and return man. You have to manufacture touches for him, which unless you’re an absolute freak, I’m against this type of selection this high in the draft. I really like the Leonte Carroo pick, as he should have gone well before this, but I don’t know who he plays over right now. Jakeem Grant is an absolute blast to watch, but he’s likely too small to play wide receiver, so all he’s really gonna be used for is returns. I can’t speak too much on Jordan Lucas, but #DraftTwitter said good things. Doughty is likely a career backup, but in the 7th round, it’s fine. Thomas Duarte is one of my favorite late round picks. He’ll remind the Dolphins of Charles Clay, and should contribute immediately.
New England Patriots:
Round 2 Pick 60: Cyrus Jones, CB, Alabama
Round 3 Pick 78: Joe Thuney, OL, North Carolina State
Round 3 Pick 91: Jacoby Brissett, QB, North Carolina State
Round 3 Pick 96: Vincent Valentine, DL, Nebraska
Round 4 Pick 112: Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia
Round 6 Pick 208: Kamu Grugier-Hill, S, Eastern Illinois
Round 6 Pick 214: Elandon Roberts, LB, Houston
Round 6 Pick 221: Ted Karras, OL, Illinois
Round 7 Pick 225: Devin Lucien, WR, Arizona State
Analysis: The Patriots, despite their 1st round pick being forfeited due to the Deflategate scandal, still came away with a nice haul. A few of their picks came as surprises, as they normally do with the Pats and they always make it work. Jones is the best punt returner in this class, and will play slot corner. Thuney was a solid lineman for NCSU, the only draftable OL blocking for their next pick. I was extremely surprised when they selected Jacoby Brissett, as they already have Jimmy Garapolo on the roster. However, Brady is suspended for the first four games of this season, so now they’ll have two quarterbacks on the roster. Vince Valentine might be their Wilfork Jr, if he can play up to his athleticism. Malcolm Mitchell, a former top cornerback recruit in HS, doesn’t go down after the catch, and has a solid frame. He was a nice pick. Grugier-Hill is an athletic freak, he’ll likely play multiple roles in the secondary. Roberts is a linebacker from Houston who plays like his hair is on fire. He’ll be a special team demon. Karras provides more depth to the offensive line, he was rock solid at Illinois. Lucien is a deep threat for developing.
New York Jets:
Round 1 Pick 20: Darron Lee, LB, Ohio State
Round 2 Pick 51: Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
Round 3 Pick 83: Jordan Jenkins, EDGE, Georgia
Round 4 Pick 118: Juston Burris, CB, North Carolina State
Round 5 Pick 158: Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
Round 7 Pick 235: Lachlan Edwards, P, Sam Houston State
Round 7 Pick 241: Charone Peake, WR, Clemson
Analysis: Todd Bowles almost got his team to the playoffs in his first year, and he added some more tools to try and get there in year two. Darron Lee is an insane athlete at linebacker, he’ll likely be the Jets’ Deone Bucannon type player, who can blitz and cover. Hackenberg was a surprise pick, but they’ve done a lot of research and background on the quarterback. If he can develop into what his tools indicate he should be, they made a good pick. Jordan Jenkins is one of the most steady players in this class. He could have gone higher than this and not many people would have taken issue with it. Burris is a big corner, he could eventually move to safety, but was a nice pick in the 4th. Shell is likely a right tackle only in the NFL, but he’s a solid pick at this spot. He’s not small, either. Taking a punter is always iffy, but in the mid 7th, it’s whatever. Peake was a height/weight/speed guy from Clemson, who fell due to injury concerns, apparently. He’ll likely make the roster.