AFC East: News and Notes

Over a week after the NFL Draft, some questions have been answered some have been raised. One thing for sure is that the landscape in the AFC East has changed.

Division Report as of 5/07/07

Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots

    BUFFALO BILLS     Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots


--The complexion of pass defense in the AFC East changed when the champion New England Patriots traded for Randy Moss. Said general manager Marv Levy: "They got themselves a very talented player, no question about that. Talk about our corners, they're going to have a lot fun. Right."

--Owner Ralph Wilson was looking for at least two starters in this draft and was outwardly elated his team was able to land Cal RB Marshawn Lynch with the 12th pick and Penn State LB Paul Posluszny with the 34th pick after trading up with Detroit. "We feel they are going to come in and start right away for the team," said Wilson during a post-draft introduction to the media of Lynch and Posluszny. "They fill a big gap for us. With today's environment and with free agency, you lose players, but we get two great prospects." Said Lynch: "When you say we're coming in as a starter, that's a big accomplishment. I'm going to work for that. I'm not here for a free handout."

--Lynch will wear No. 23 and Posluszny No. 51. After being compared to former Bills great Shane Conlan his entire career at Penn State, Posluszny turned down Conlan's old No. 58, which was available after the release of guard Chris Villarrial. Posluszny wore Conlan's No. 31 at Penn State, but that apparently was enough. "I'm going to try and do my own thing," Posluszny said. "We had that comparison in college. I'm happy to be here where he played. Shane was obviously a great player and to be even compared to him is definitely an honor."

--The Bills will be explaining the selection of Stanford QB Trent Edwards with the 92nd pick in the third round for a while. Edwards is a nice prospect but the team is set at the position with J.P. Losman and Craig Nall, a young veteran they raved about last year after a trade with Green Bay. The Bills needed a No. 3 after trading Kelly Holcomb to Philadelphia, but nobody could've predicted they'd take one so high in this draft. "We went into the draft thinking that somewhere, very late maybe, if there was a quarterback or two there we liked, that we hoped he'd be there to take," Levy said. "We never thought Trent Edwards would be there beyond the early second round. When we came in there, his grade was so much higher than everybody. Our coaches were extremely high on him, so we had to take him. It was compelling."

--Edwards and his family were elated to go on Day One, especially since an ESPN camera crew was in their living room. Edwards' mother, Fran, should be getting flowers soon from the Buffalo chamber of commerce after she told the San Jose Mercury News: "We have lots of warm jackets, and it's right by Niagara Falls. It's supposed to be awesome there."

--Buffalo's last pick, DE C.J. Ah You of Oklahoma, began his college career at Brigham Young but left that school after running into trouble with the school's strict honor code. Among Ah You's transgressions was getting into a fight with a teammate. "He got into some fights and that's not good but as you know, young in life, you sometimes have those kinds of things," assistant GM Tom Modrak said. "That fell into the misdemeanor category for us. It was my judgment call on that and it wasn't significant."

--Buffalo will hold a mini-camp for rookies and newcomers May 12-14 and one for the entire team June 11-13.

"Everybody on draft day says, 'I can't believe that guy was there when it was our turn to pick,' that sort of thing. We like the players we picked. We think they'll help us be better. But I don't ever want to be satisfied. I want to constantly work to get better, but I feel we've taken some steps to be better, hopefully it's a lot better." -- GM Marv Levy on his team's draft.


The Bills have added two intriguing veterans, DT Manny Wright and RB Josh Scobey.

Wright, a massive individual at 6-6, 329, was claimed off waivers after being released by Miami. Drafted as a fifth-round supplemental pick in 2005 out of USC, Wright played in three games as a rookie and recorded one sack (against Buffalo's J.P. Losman).

But he's best known for breaking down in tears after being berated on the field during practice by ex-Dolphins' coach Nick Saban. Wright sat out the year with clinical depression.

Coming to Buffalo has to be a good thing for him -- coach Dick Jauron doesn't yell at anyone. But he'll have to show a lot of potential to earn a spot on the 53-man roster and become part of what's become a deep rotation of players.

Scobey, meanwhile, was acquired to potentially elevate what are already the NFL's best special teams units. A five-year pro, he previously played for Arizona and Seattle. He's a reliable kickoff return specialist and demon coverage man. The Bills are set with Pro Bowler Terrence McGee returning kicks, but a team can never have enough quality cover men and Buffalo does need a backup kick returner after letting Andre Davis go.

--The rest of Buffalo's college free agent crop: OG Corey Davis (James Madison), OG Zach Tubbs (Arkansas), C Christian Gaddis (Villanova), LB Thaddaeus Washington (Colorado), DT Corey Mace (Wyoming), DT LaRon Harris (Northwestern Oklahoma State), FS Trevor Hooper (Stanford), SS Stacey Thomas (Texas Southern), P Chris Jackson (Louisiana State).

    MIAMI DOLPHINS     Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots


Ohio State Ted Ginn

--The son of NBA Hall of Fame player Moses Malone is one of the college free agents signed by the Dolphins following the draft.

Sam Houston State wide receiver Michael Malone, a Virginia Tech transfer, caught 23 passes for 250 yards and four touchdowns last year for the Bearkats.

--Another intriguing college free agent that was added is Washington State's Mkristo Bruce, who could have a chance to make the roster at the Elephant position where NFL Defensive Player of the Year Jason Taylor starts.

--The final honors for Jason Taylor's standout 2006 season were given last Thursday at the Miami's annual awards banquet when he was named Most Valuable Player via a media vote and winner of the team's leadership award in balloting by his teammates. Taylor had 13.5 sacks and also had a hand in generating 14 turnovers.

Safety Renaldo Hill was named the winner of the Nat Moore Community Service Award for his charity work in the community. Besides participating in team-sponsored events, Hill also visited high school football teams to stress the importance of getting a college education.

"I'm glad to see we have a little more hospitable crowd than the last time we gathered here." -- Dolphins general manager Randy Mueller on the sold-out crowd of 1,500 fans attending the team's annual awards banquet. Coach Cam Cameron was booed and interrupted with chants of "Bra-dy! Bra-dy! Bra-dy!" while trying to explain why the franchise chose Ohio State wide receiver Ted Ginn Jr. over Notre Dame quarterback Brady Quinn at a draft-day party.

 NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS     Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots


--The Patriots came away from the first day of the draft with just one selection, S Brandon Meriweather. It marks the first time in franchise history that New England picked only one player on Day 1 of the draft.

--The Patriots will conduct their rookie mini-camp from May 12-13. All of the Patriots draft picks and undrafted free agents are scheduled to be present.

--Rookie OL Clint Oldenburg made the transition from tight end to offensive lineman at Colorado State and became the team's most valuable lineman. Oldenburg started 13 games at left tackle, 10 at right tackle and 10 at guard, showcasing his versatility for NFL teams.

Oldenburg believes his flexibility to play different positions was a big factor in him getting drafted by the Patriots.

"The Patriots like guys who can play multiple positions," he said. "It seems like that's been kind of a trend for guys they select and I fit that mold."

--Sixth-round draft pick Justin Rogers is trying to make the switch from defensive end at SMU to outside linebacker in the NFL. The former Mustang certainly has the toughness to play in the Patriots defense. In his spare time, Rogers likes to kill and skin wild coyotes.

--New England worked out free agent defensive tackle Ian Scott, but the former Bear signed with the Philadelphia Eagles a couple of days later. The Patriots' interest in Scott could mean they're still looking to add some more depth at the nose tackle position behind Vince Wilfork.

"I'm more than happy to be going from one dynasty to the next. I'm ready to come in and help continue what the Patriots have already established there. I went from the best program in college football to the best franchise in the NFL. I truly feel blessed." --- USC linebacker Oscar Lua on going from a Trojan team that went 60-6 over the last five seasons, to the Patriots, who have won three Super Bowl titles in the last six years.

 NEW YORK JETS     Bills :: Jets :: Dolphins :: Patriots


--Several Jets could wind up being salary-cap casualties next month. Third WR Justin McCareins is a possibility, as he is scheduled to make $2.9 million, which is a lot to pay a non-starter. Other veterans who could be gone include CB David Barrett, who has been plagued by injuries each of the last two seasons and is rehabbing from off-season surgery for a sports hernia, and LB Eric Barton. Barton wasn't as effective in the 3-4 scheme last season as he had been in the previous 4-3 system.

--Because they wound up with only four draft picks because they traded up twice, the Jets were extremely active in the undrafted free-agent market, signing at least 20 players. Not only will these players, plus some free-agent tryouts, help fill out the roster at the rookie mini-camp, but some could stick.

One of the most intriguing is Leonard Peters, a 6-foot-1, 205-pound safety from Hawaii whom the Jets eyed very closely at Hawaii's Pro Day (which was held in California). Another interesting player is Oklahoma QB/WR Paul Thompson, who has both the versatility and selflessness that the Jets like so much. Thompson began his Sooners career as a quarterback, was moved to wideout and then moved back after QB Rhett Bomar was dismissed from the squad.

--Chad Pennington told reporters that he suggested to Jets management that they trade for Oakland WR Randy Moss. Ultimately, he was dealt to New England.

"I had talked to Mike (Tannebaum) about some of the positive attributes of Randy," said Pennington, who played with Moss at Marshall and still is friends with him.

Pennington's reaction when the Patriots acquired Moss instead: "I was like, 'well, we'd better find some ways to stop him, because knowing Randy, he's going to be ready to play.'"

"I was hoping to be taken somewhere between the second-to-fourth round area." -- WR Chansi Stuckey, who was selected by the Jets in the seventh round.


Now that the draft is over, the Jets still seem to be in need of a nose tackle, as they still don't have the kind of prototypical 3-4 nose tackle that can tie up blockers better than Dewayne Robertson, a good player who is stuck in a system that doesn't fit his talents.

Another position where they could use some help is at wide receiver. While Jerricho Cotchery displayed big-play ability in his first season as a starter and Laveranues Coles is as tough as any player in the NFL, the Jets still don't possess a Santana Moss-type who can stretch defenses and open things up for the other wideouts. Moss, of course, was traded to Washington in March 2005 so Coles could be re-acquired. Seventh-round draft pick Chansi Stuckey seems to be more of a possession receiver.

Related: Bills Report | Jets Confidential | Dolphin Digest | Patriots Insider

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