GRADING THE DRAFT: AFC EAST

 

Now that the dust is settling and the "priority" is being take out of priority free agents, I want to reflect back on each teams' draft class and share initial thoughts. The number in the parentheses next to the player names is where they were selected vs. where they were on my final big board; a positive number means value, negative number means reach. I added the total numbers up for a total grade for each team, and it means absolutely nothing besides letting me know how I off I was in my evaluation for each players, so take it for what it's worth.

 

While this article focuses on the AFC South, you can click on a different division below.

 

AFC West | AFC South | AFC North | AFC East || NFC West | NFC South | NFC North | NFC East

 

BUFFALO BILLS - D (-866)

QB Josh Allen (-49)

LB Tremaine Edmunds (+3)

DT Harrison Phillips (+35)

CB Taron Johnson (-245)

CB Siran Neal (-239)

OG Wyatt Teller (+28)

WR Ray-Ray McCloud (-28)

WR Austin Proehl (-371)

 

Notable UDFAs: WR Robert Foster, WR Cam Phillips, DE Mat Boesen, DE Mike Love, CB Levi Wallace, DB Ryan Carter

 

It was an important draft for the Bills organization, and they approached the situation by trading away two second round picks to set their franchise back at least five years. Im sorry #BillsMafia, but believing that Josh Allen could be a successful NFL QB with abhorrent failure at every stop he's ever had since high school and severe accuracy issues is akin to bill-ieving that a geeky scientist can turn into an enormous green rage monster. It's a fairy tale. I can't justify drafting him in the top ten, let alone giving away draft capital to move up to do so. Luckily, the Bills nailed their next two picks to elevate them from a failing grade. Edmunds is going to be Sean McDermott's Luke Kuechly at inside linebacker and Harrison Phillips is a tailor-made replacement for Kyle Williams after 2018. I felt like the Bills reached on their next two cornerback picks, but I do think Taron Johnson's skill set translates well to nickel corner, which was a need. They also added Levi Wallace in free agency, who I liked, and if you swap him and Siran Neal in that spot it becomes a much easier pill to swallow. I adored the Wyatt Teller pick and he is the perfect type of Buffalo Bills lineman and should start on day one. Ray-Ray McCloud will compete for a return specialist role, and I didn't like the Austin Proehl pick very much, especially when SMU's Trey Quinn was still on the board if you wanted to go that route. I get that it was a favor to McDermott's long-time buddy Ricky Proehl, but that' s not how you build a winning team. Out of the undrafted guys, Robert Foster and Cam Phillips have a real shot to make the practice squad, and Mat Boesen is a guy that was very underrated in this process and his wrestling background meshes well with McDermott's preferences. Ultimately, there are some very good players that they acquired with this class, but Josh Allen is going to set them back in my opinion, and that's the most important decision. D.

 

MIAMI DOLPHINS - B+ (-384)

FS Minkah Fitzpatrick (+4)

TE Mike Gesicki (+4)

LB Jerome Baker (+11)

TE Durham Smythe (-68)

RB Kalen Ballage (0)

CB Cornell Armstrong (-269)

LB Quenton Poling (-66)

K Jason Sanders (NR)

 

Notable UDFAs: QB Riley Ferguson, RB Gregory Howell, OT David Steinmetz, OG Connor Hilland, DT Jamiyus Pittman, LB Mike McCray

 

I was somewhat surprised the Dolphins went with Minkah Fitzpatrick with guys like Vita Vea and Da'Ron Payne on the board to fill in the vacancy from Suh's departure, but it was a great pick. However, there's going to be a loser in the safety musical chairs game that is about to happen, and my early guess is Minkah wins the FS job in base downs and moves down into the slot with TJ McDonald sliding in to safety in nickel sets. Whether that happens or not, it's a high-class problem that most teams would covet. I was a big proponent of Mike Gesicki during the evaluation process and blocking be damned, he is going to be asked to be a pure receiving TE in Adam Gase's offense, similar to how he used Julius Thomas early in his career in Denver. Jerome Baker was a tremendous value pick, but I'm not sure where he will fit in the LB corps that has Raekwon McMillan penciled in at MLB and Kiko Alonso at the WLB. Durham Smythe is a very good compliment to Gesicki in a reloaded TE corps, but may have been a slight reach where he was selected. Ballage, the 131st pick, was the 131st player on my board and is the ideal type of RB the roster was missing with his size, speed, and ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Southern Miss CB Cornell Armstrong had some nice athletic testing numbers that probably got him drafted a lot higher than he deserved, but he failed to dominate in Conference USA, which makes me skeptical with guys like Quenton Meeks going undrafted. Quenton Poling is a huge upgrade over Chase Allen and Mike Hull as depth LBs, and I really disliked the Jason Sanders pick with Florida product Eddy Pineiro available. Out of the free agents, they could have as many as four UDFAs make the roster in Steinmetz, Hilland, Pittman and McCray.

 

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS - C+ (-541)

OT Isaiah Wynn (-2)

RB Sony Michel (-3)

CB Duke Dawson (-36)

LB Ja"Whaun Bentley (-196)

LB Christian Sam (+30)

WR Braxton Berrios (-51)

QB Danny Etling (-321)

CB Keion Crossen (NR)

TE Ryan Izzo (+38)

 

Notable UDFAs: RB Ralph Webb, WR Chris Lacy, DT John Atkins, DT Frank Herron, CB JC Jackson

 

The Pats draft started out super solid and I was a fan of what they did in round one scooping Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel. I know he's not necessarily short, but the Patriots haven't been shy about taking stumpier linemen like Shaq Mason and making them work. Michel did have some ball security issues at Georgia and Belichick has no patience for fumbles, so that's a storyline to watch. Duke Dawson is going to be a career nickel CB and was a great pick for them, although maybe a bit early in round two. Out of the LBs they took, Bentley was a tremendous reach in my opinion and I wouldn't be surprised if Christian Sam ends up being the better pro out of the two. Braxton Berrios is going to be a stud in New England and landed in the perfect spot to be successful in the NFL. The next two picks? Yikes. I would be absolutely flabbergasted if Danny Etling ends up resembling anything close to an NFL QB and I'm not going to lie, I've never heard of a Keion Crossen. Ryan Izzo figures to be a blocking TE option and is a decent depth piece. I did like the Ralph Webb and JC Jackson pick ups in free agency, but it will be tough for them to earn spots in loaded positions groups. The class gets a C+, and the reason it isn't higher is that they failed to select a suitable successor to Tom Brady. I understand they picked up a 2019 2nd rounder which could give them some ammo next year, but from arm's length 2019 looks like a poor QB class and it will be tough to find the guy after the guy.

 

NEW YORK JETS - B (-369)

QB Sam Darnold (-8)

DE Nathan Shepherd (-8)

TE Chris Herndon (-54)

CB Parry Nickerson (-128)

DT Foley Fatukasi (-6)

RB Trenton Cannon (-121)

 

Notable UDFAs: FB Dimitri Flowers, C Austin Golson, LB Tre' Williams, LB Frankie Luvu, K Canon Rooker

 

To bookend the beginning of the article with the Bills selecting Josh Allen, if Sam Darnold pans out and becomes a franchise QB, the draft is an A. That's it, case closed. With Darnold slipping to three, Maccagnan's trade up of three spots for three second rounders looks much better than it did at the time of the trade, but again, if Darnold busts, that's going to hurt. Nathan Shepherd was an awesome selection and his freaky athleticism and power will be a good replacement for Muhammad Wilkerson at the left end spot. Miami TE Chris Herndon was a reach and joins a fellow Canes alum in Clive Walford in a re-tooled TE room. Parry Nickerson was a slight reach at 179, however, it's obvious that they saw him as a good potential replacement for Buster Skrine after the 2018 campaign. Foley Fatukasi gives them a lot more athleticism as the backup DT over Deon Simon, and Trenton Cannon is a dynamic high-upside runner that will struggle to earn a spot in a crowded RB rotation. I was a huge fan of recruiting Dimitri Flowers and he will be a ten-year starter at fullback in the NFL. Overall it's a solid class that hinges on #14 panning out better than the last USC QB they took.

 

 

 

Please reload

SCOUTURF, LLC 2019