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Saturday, April 20, 2019

NFL Draft Needs, Wants and Questions: AFC East

By Steven Weldon

Here comes the division of champions! Well, one champion. How will the AFC East respond to the continued Patriots' dominance?


The J-E-T-S were A-W-F-U-L last season, but can you blame them? Sam Darnold began his NFL career and tried as hard as he could, tossing 17 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. The entire rushing attack could barely muster 1300 yards, and their two most talented defensive ends managed a total of 12 sacks. That's not enough.

In this new era with Adam Gase, Darnold will have help with new running back Leveon Bell as well as the addition of a real linebacker in C.J. Mosley. All that money to those two new players means a star rookie is going to have to be a big help. The picks that make the most sense at their #3 pick would be defensive lineman Quinnen Williams of Alabama, or edge rusher Josh Allen out of Kentucky. They've got a nice pick in this defense deep draft.

The Jets are in a much better spot than their New York counterpart, but they have had much less to show for it. While the Giants have won two super bowls in the last 12 years, the Jets haven't been to the playoffs since 2010. It's getting old.

NEED: Fresh legs on the defense, Sam Darnold to improve in year two.
WANT: Leveon Bell to quit making music and get in the workout room after a year off.
QUESTIONS: Big moves, will they pan out? Or is it just another year in the doldrums?


The Ryan Tannehill experiment is over. Adam Gase has taken his talents north to New York. It is time for the Dolphins to start from scratch. Ryan Fitzpatrick is slated to be the starter a quarterback for this project and that is just a sad sentence to write.

They can build toward the future with the #13 pick by taking an offensive lineman, which is where a great team comes from. Jonah Williams of Alabama could be here at the pick. On the other side of the coin, drumming up excitement in South Beach could be Dwayne Haskins, a quarterback from Ohio State who has fallen in many draft boards.

Buckle up 'Fins fans, it's going to be a long year.

NEED: Devante Parker to catch everything possible and Kenyan Drake to have a breakout year.
WANT: Ryan Fitzpatrick to duplicate what he did in the first two games for the Buccaneers last season, all season long.
QUESTIONS: Who is the centerpiece of the Dolphins' rebuild?


The Bills have improved their offense and are ready to build around Josh Allen. The quarterback, not the edge rusher for Kentucky. After a flurry of free agency moves to shore up the offensive line and receivers, the Bills will likely look to draft a talented defensive player, as many of the top-ten picks may be.

Montez Sweat, of Mississippi State could be their pick here. He dropped a little due to a heart condition that was found, but it's not as serious as it could have been.

NEED: To be taken seriously! Also, make the playoffs.
WANT: Everyone to forget about Nathan Peterman.
QUESTIONS: Is it neck and neck between the Bills and Jets for the second best team in the division?


Ah, the defending champions. A large majority of people and pundits went through the season doubting whether this Patriots team was the real deal. They turned it on at just the right time. While flashing a shiny ring answers a lot of questions, losing Rob Gronkowski to retirement creates more. Julian Edelman is still here, as is solid running back Sony Michel. It's all about maintaining in New England, and as long as Tom Brady is the quarterback and Bill Belichick is the coach, they'll have stability.

A particular need, however, is a playmaker on offense. #32 pick could be too late to take a talented tight end to replace Gronkowski, but just in time to take AJ Brown, a wide receiver from Ole Miss. Also, a talented wideout could be Parris Campbell out of Ohio State.

NEED: A good value at a late pick, building for the future.
WANT: Tight end of similar quality of Gronk. 
QUESTIONS: How long do the Patriots have at this rate? When will Tom Brady kick tires on retirement?

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