Grading the Draft: AFC East

Several trades have changed the face of this division as one team has the other's signal caller and another squad hopes they got the feature runner they've been searching for. Almost every team within this division came out of draft weekend stronger then when they went into it with organizations plucking top talent from the college pool.


Tom Donahoe has done a solid job collecting good football players since taking the helm of the Bills war room and this year was not different.  Mike Williams is a mammoth lineman and a good athlete with a lot of upside potential.  He could fill a number of slots on a Buffalo offensive line that needs a ton of help.  Second round choice Josh Reed is possibly the best pass catcher in the draft and a receiver with great football instinct, an element that should help stabilize an erratic Bills offense.  Ryan Denney, also drafted in the second frame, upgrades the talent at defensive end while defensive tackle Justin Bannan and corner Kevin Thomas, selected in the fifth and sixth rounds respectively, were good value and should see action as rookies.  Also added into this group is Drew Beldsoe, who was acquired from New England on the drafts second day.  Once again the Bills improved the overall talent on their roster and this was one more step in the right direction for the organization. 


Acquiring Ricky Williams prior to the draft left Miami a little short on picks and they hoped to chose a few solid linemen to open holes for the new feature runner.  Seth McKinney can help out at center or guard and the former A&M Aggie is a slug-it-out linemen that brings a lot of intensity with him.  Randy McMichael, taken in fourth round, improves the speed and pass catching abilities at tight end while Omare Lowe offers depth in the defensive secondary.  The surprise choice could ultimately be fifth round selection Sam Simmons, a receiver that can used in the slot, as a third down back and improves the Dolphins special teams with his return skills. 

New England 

The surprise Super Bowl Champions came into the draft looking for sure handed receivers and defensive linemen and left with both.  With a slew of questionable tight ends on the roster New England moved up for a sure thing, Dan Graham.  The Colorado pass catcher immediately improves the Patriot offense as he offers Tom Brady a reliable target in both the long and short field as well as a intelligent football player with an excellent feel for the game.  Second round pick Deion Branch may have been taken a little early but he is another consistent pass catcher that offers explosion as a return specialist.  A pair of LSU Tigers were selected in the fourth frame and both will help the organization.  Roahn Davey offers a solid developmental quarterback or back-up to Tom Brady and was a smart choice after the departure of Drew Bledsoe.  He is the type of player that can be developed then traded down the road.  At one time Jarvis Green was a favorite player of ours but injuries caused him to fall on hard times.  Still, with his innate abilities and the Patriots going back to a four-three defense, Green has a bright future.  David Givens is a nice sized wide out that, if used correctly, will be productive at the next level and though he may spend his first year on injured reserve, Antoine Womack is the perfect complimentary back to Antoine Smith when healthy.  Overall, a productive and effective draft for the recipients of the Lombardi Trophy. 

New York 

It is always an event when the Jets select in the draft; either the organization or the fans end up amusing everyone.  This year the team made the correct choice while the fans at the draft may have embarrassed themselves.  Bryan Thomas was a player on the rise since January as we reported from both the Senior Bowl and Combine, and he was a relentless pass rusher in college that proved he could play at a higher level of competition.  Thomas is fast, explosive and deceptively strong effective defending the run or rushing the quarterback.  He is also a good defensive linemen and you could never have enough of them.  In the end this was a great pick by the Jets.  Second round choice Jon McGraw offers the organization something they have not had in ten years; a free safety that can cover the deep pass and does not get burnt.  Chris Baker was another solid choice in round three as he is a back-up tight end that could start down the line and is not prone to the untimely drops that have characterized Anthony Becht's career in New York.  Alan Harper was a steal for the Jets in round four and is the perfect player for their system.  He may not be an every down linemen but he will get a ton of playing time as a rookie.  Coming into the season we were very high on Jonathan Goodwin, though he disappointed us a bit as a senior.  He can play center or guard and has a lot of upside to his game.

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