NFL Sport

AFC East Draft Gradings

Dave Miller breaks down how each of the AFC East Division teams fared in this year’s NFL Draft.

Buffalo Bills

Round 1- Ed Oliver DT, Houston

Round 2- Cody Ford T, Oklahoma

Round 3- Devin Singletary RB, FAU

               Dawson Knox TE, Ole Miss

Round 5- Vosean Joseph LB, Florida

Round 6- Jaquan Johnson S, Miami Florida

Round 7- Darryl Johnson DE, North Carolina A&T

              Tommy Sweeney TE, Boston College

The Buffalo Bills did exactly what the New York Giants should have done and took the best player available with their first round pick. That player was Ed Oliver, who had a lot of hype coming into the draft about both his ability and potential. Oliver has been likened to players such as Aaron Donald, and if those are his comparisons then he will most certainly be dominating the AFC East for at least the next 15 years. Oliver is dominant in the middle of the defensive line and a great pass rusher, drafting him will help the Bills fill the void of legend Kyle Williams who retired in the past offseason. If Oliver can fulfil the hype, then he may well exceed the achievements of Williams.

ED oliver.jpg
Ed Oliver sacking Baker Mayfield of the Cleveland Browns

In the second round the Bills took a first round talent in Cody Ford to help beef up the offensive line. Ford, along with other highly rated linemen dropped into the second round and he will be a long-term steal. The Bills had offensive line issues last season and it hampered the run game so much that LeSean McCoy was almost non-existent at times. With Ford they are taking a giant step in the right direction. In round three the Bills continued their trend with offense and took a running back and a tight end. Devin Singletary is seen as the future of the running back position for the team. His quick burst in short areas will help out the Bills massively. For now he may have to sit behind the experienced McCoy and Frank Gore. Tight end Dawson Knox is a former quarterback who the Bills view as a project, regardless of his current ability he adds some much needed help to what was a poor offense last season. In the later rounds they stocked up on team depth as Vosean Joseph will help add speed to the Bills linebacker core. Whilst Jaquan Joseph is a player that will last a long time in this league with his instinctive play.

Overall Grade: B

Miami Dolphins

Round 1- Christian Wilkins DT, Clemson

Round 2- Josh Rosen (Traded with Arizona)

Round 3- Michael Dieter OL, Wisconsin

Round 5- Andrew Van Ginkel LB, Wisconsin

Round 6- Isaiah Prince OT, Ohio

Round 7- Chandler Cox FB, Auburn

Round 7- Myles Gaskin RB, Washington

Since the Dolphins got rid of Ndamukong Suh they have failed to replace him, but Christian Wilkins looks set to be that man. Wilkins is a fantastic player that dominated on the Clemson defensive line last year and will definitely be destructive in the NFL. Cameron Wake also left the Dolphins in the offseason, so the addition of Wilkins to that defensive line was very much needed. With their second round pick the Dolphins traded for former Arizona Cardinals quarterback Josh Rosen. Before the trade they looked set to start the season with Ryan Fitzpatrick as their starter and it seemed more than evident that they would ‘Tank for Tua’. Now things are much more open as Rosen will cost the Dolphins next to nothing as they enter a low risk high reward situation. In my eyes he was the best quarterback selected during this year’s draft and has a huge chance to be the franchise signal caller in Miami if he plays well. He showed positive signs last season and behind a functioning offensive line we could see the best of Rosen.

Josh Rosen
Miami quarterback Josh Rosen playing for UCLA

The addition of Michael Dieter in the third round means that the Dolphins will be getting a starting guard on the offensive line. A great pickup for Miami to get a starting lineman in the third round and he will fill a big hole as he will help protect Rosen this season. The other four draftees will more than likely end up as project players with the potential to start in the future. Andrew Van Ginkel could develop into a solid pass rusher with meaningful game time and the correct coaching. However, he still has some time before he gets there. Isaiah Prince may even get the chance to be a starter at right tackle from the off, a good pre-season and start to the season will determine that. Either way, expect to see Prince as the starting right tackle in Miami at some point. With the Dolphins believing that they have taken players that can start right away it is huge opportunity for them to try and push on this season.

Overall Grade- B

New England Patriots

Round 1- N’Keal Harry WR, Arizona State

Round 2- Joejuan Williams CB, Vanderbilt

Round 3- Chase Winovich DE, Michigan

                 Damien Harris RB, Alabama

                 Yodny Cajuste OT, West Virginia

Round 4- Hjalte Froholdt OG, Arkansas

                 Jarrett Stidham QB, Auburn

Round 5- Byron Cowart DE, Maryland

               Jake Bailey P, Stanford

Round 7- Ken Webster CB, Mississippi

Having lost Gronk to retirement in the offseason, the Patriots had to find a new main target for Tom Brady. That target came in the form of first round wide receiver N’Keal Harry. Harry is a good deep threat as well a great contester for the ball. The Patriots will be hoping that their new star receiver can win the tough one-on-ones and make life for Brady easier when driving down the field. The Patriots got exactly what they wanted in the second round by taking cornerback Joejuan Williams. Williams was loved by the Pats and they will be delighted with the fact that they were able to trade up for him. His versatility will be key in the secondary and will also allow the McCourty twin’s safety tandem to finally happen.

Former Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski retired this offseason

The Patriots got an absolute steal in the third round by taking defensive end Chase Winovich. He’s a disruptive player who will make an immediate impact in Bill Belichick’s defense and will be a great backup player to D’onta Hightower and Kyle van Noy. They also managed to get Alabama running back Damien Harris in the third round, who was a very highly rated player on a lot of people’s draft boards. Harris is good in all three phases of a running backs game (rushing, receiving and blocking) and will be a great addition to the triple headed monster the Patriots love to use. The Pats also added two offensive linemen in this draft and will be hoping that Yodny Cajuste will be able to become the team’s starting right tackle at some point. If he is able to improve his footwork and overcome his injury issues this transition may happen sooner rather than later. Hjalte Froholdt is a guard that has been described a ‘Bill Belichick’ player and will most likely be a backup. Jake Bailey was brought in to act as competition for experienced punter Ryan Allen, but his days could be numbered. Bailey could be snapped up if he is placed on the practise squad and Belichick will not want to risk losing him, especially if he impresses in training camp and pre-season. Also, having watched his tape; the strength of his leg and his precise accuracy may win him the starting job if he can replicate his college form.

Overall Grade: A+

New York Jets

Round 1- Quinnen Williams DT, Alabama

Round 3- Jachai Polite Edge Rusher, Florida

               Chuma Edoga OT, USC

Round 4- Trevon Wesco TE, West Virginia

Round 5- Blake Cashman LB, Minnesota

Round 6- Blessaun Austin CB, Rutgers

There was a lot of talk and discussion about the Jets trading out of the third overall spot in favour of acquiring more draft picks. However, they made the correct decision by sticking and arguably taking the best player in the draft. Quinnen Williams has been tipped to become a hall of famer and dominate offensive lines for the next 15+ years in the NFL. His ability to be disruptive and play in the opposition backfield will be huge for the Jets. His presence will likely mean that there will be less attention on the other defensive linemen, making them more dangerous as he will be double and triple teamed.If this happens, it will be a credit to how good he is at getting to the quarterback and stuffing the run, expect him to be on the field for almost every defensive snap in a similar manner that Fletcher Cox is for the Eagles. Despite all this talk of how good he is now, the man is still only 21 years old and has a lot of developing left to do. The Jets have a very scary player on their hands.

New York Jets’ latest star Quinnen Williams

Jachai Polite may have questions about his professionality, but if he can keep his on the field career at the centre of his attention then he could really dominate on the outside of the Jets defensive line. Polite has all the ability to get to the quarterback at ease and could very easily become the steal of this draft. Chuma Edoga could be an effective long-term piece to the Jets puzzle and could be just as important as Polite and Williams. Edoga has been tipped to become a starting tackle for the team and will add some much needed aggression and protection for franchise quarterback Sam Darnold. Tight end Trevon Wesco will definitely help improve the pass and run blocking, especially against the blitz, but he will also be another receiving target for Darnold who was short of them last season.

Overall Grade: A-

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