Despite having the reigning NFL MVP on their roster and coming off of yet another Super Bowl appearance, the New England Patriots are having somewhat of a turbulent offseason with noise surrounding the team and their relationships with said MVP Tom Brady and All-Pro tight end Rob Gronkowski. Things seemed to have cooled recently, but some are starting to see possible cracks in the organizations foundation.
With that being said and the Bills coming off a season that saw them finally make it back to the playoffs, a strong Miami side in a mini-rebuild, and the Jets in position to finally land a franchise quarterback, intrigue was certainly swirling around the division.
Now, lets get right to it and see how things came together over the course of the weekend…
Buffalo Bills: B-
1.) Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
1.) Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
3.) Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
4.) Taron Johnson, CB, Weber St.
5.) Siran Neal, S, Jacksonville St.
5.) Wyatt Teller, OG, Virginia Tech
6.) Ray-ray Mccloud, WR, Clemson
7.) Austin Proehl, WR, North Carolina
The Bills maneuvered tremendously in Round 1, twice moving up and taking Allen and Edmunds. It was only a matter of when and how much it would cost the Bills to move into the Top 10 for whichever quarterback began to fall. It came to fruition at the seventh overall pick and two second round picks. Selecting Phillips in Round 3, could turn out to be a steal. He is the perfect fit for Buffalo’s 4-3 front. He will be a starter sooner than later. Adding depth to the secondary with Johnson and Neal was smart. Especially with Neal. He has the ability to lineup at either corner or safety. Teller, was a quality pick in Round 5. He has the nasty disposition that you need in the trenches, but the failure of the Bills to further address the offensive line is a problem. They lost three starters and their right side could have been upgraded, regardless of the losses suffered on the left side of the line. This is a big whiff, especially after drafting a franchise caliber quarterback.
Miami Dolphins: B-
1.) Minkah Fitzpatrick, S, Alabama
2.) Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn St.
3.) Jerome Baker, LB, Ohio St.
4.) Durham Style, TE, Notre Dame
4.) Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona St.
6.) Cornell Armstrong, DB, Southern Miss
7.) Quenton Poling, LB, Ohio
7.) Jason Sanders, K, New Mexico
It’s clear that the Miami Dolphins are sticking with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback. They reloaded the tight end position in order to give him both a safety valve in Gesicki and an extra inline blocker in Style. Ballage is the good compliment to Kenyan Drake and can help take the pressure off of Tannehill. He can be a thumper between the tackles and catch the ball out of the backfield. He had 64 catches over his last two seasons. On the defensive side of the ball they addressed their two biggest concerns in the secondary and at linebacker. Hopefully Baker will finally sure up the linebacking corps after years of failed attempts. It will be intriguing to see if the ‘Phins will use Fitzpatrick more at corner or safety, either way he’s an upgrade and brings the kind of leadership that head coach Adam Gase is looking for.
New England Patriots: B-
1.) Isaiah Wynn, OG, Georgia
1.) Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
2.) Duke Dawson, CB, Florida
5.) Ja’whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue
6.) Christian Sam, LB, Arizona St.
6.) Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami
7.) Danny Etling, QB, LSU
7.) Keion Crossen, DB, Western Carolina
7.) Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida St.
The Pats caught some people off guard by selecting two offensive players in the first round. It was obvious during the season that the defense was the team’s weak link and yet they made an effort to further protect 40-year old Tom Brady with Wynn and give him an extra weapon in Michel, who is a special talent. In line with the “Patriot Way” both players were captains at Georgia. Dawson, in the second round, is an intriguing prospect. He was stuck behind first-round talent at Florida, but finally shined when given his opportunity. He could develop into a valuable slot corner, especially in today’s sub-package heavy defenses. The weakest link in the Pats defense in 2017 was there linebacking corps. They addressed that with back to back picks in Bentley and Sam. Both are tackling machines. Berrios and Izzo are your classic Patriot selections.
New York Jets: B
1.) Sam Darnold, QB, USC
3.) Nathan Shepherd, DT, Fort Hayes St.
4.) Chris Herndon, TE, Miami
6.) Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane
6.) Foley Fatukasi, DT, UConn
6.) Trenton Cannon, RB, Virginia St.
All of the Jets fans’ prayers were answered with the selection of Darnold. Things didn’t workout too well the last time the organization drafted a USC quarterback in the Top 5 (Mark Sanchez), so hopefully things will go better this time. They paired him with a safety valve in Herndon later on in the draft, who could emerge as a starter. He was injured his final year in college and that hampered his development. Herndon will be worth watching, especially with Austin Seferian-Jenkins gone. The Jets took two developmental defensive lineman in Shepherd, a small school prospect who turned heads at the Senior Bowl, and Fatukasi who had a tremendous season in 2015 and failed to duplicate it.