After three days of action, the 2017 NFL draft ended on Saturday evening with the Denver Broncos selecting Ole Miss quarterback Chad Kelly 253rd overall. Before Mr. Irrelevant was picked, there was the usual: surprises, trades, teams upgrading positions of need.
The AFC East’s draft was no different. While the New England Patriots used only four selections on college players and had a relatively quiet draft, their division rivals were a bit more active.
Let’s take a look at their draft haul.
|2||37||WR||Zay Jones||East Carolina|
|5||163||LB||Matt Milano||Boston College|
|5||195||LB||Tanner Vallejo||Boise State|
Trading time: Despite letting general manager Doug Whaley go one day after the draft, the Buffalo Bills did have a productive three days. It started with the team trading down from the 10th overall pick in exchange for the Kansas City Chiefs’ first and third round picks and a 2018 first round selection; a fairly balanced affair, according to Rich Hill’s draft value chart.
Stephon Gilmore’s successor: Even though Buffalo traded down in the first round, the team was still able to grab one of the draft’s best cornerback prospects in LSU’s Tre’Davious White. After losing Stephon Gilmore as an unrestricted free agent to the Patriots, White will step in as the team’s number one outside cornerback – and might also be an option in the return game.
More offensive depth: In the second round, the Bills opted to address their offensive depth. With their original selection, they added a wide receiver – Zay Jones, who will serve as the number two option behind Sammy Watkins – before going offensive line with Dion Dawkins at number 63. Both might become day one impact players for Buffalo.
|2||54||LB||Raekwon McMillan||Ohio State|
|6||194||DT||Vincent Taylor||Oklahoma State|
|7||237||WR||Isaiah Ford||Virginia Tech|
Adding to the edge: Despite having a lot of talented edge defenders already on the roster, Miami decided to add to the incoming group by selecting Missouri’s Charles Harris with their first pick. Harris will add youth and upside to a group including veterans Cameron Wake and Andre Branch, and likely serve as a sub-rusher early in his Dolphins tenure.
Defense, defense, defense: Five of the team’s seven draft picks were invested in defensive players. Miami certainly tries to improve the 18th ranked defense in points allowed, especially with their top divisional rival adding to their already high-powered offensive attack. Clemson cornerback Cordrea Tankersley in particular will have a chance to prove his worth on a fairly thin position depth chart.
A potential starting guard: After trading away starting left tackle Branden Albert, the Dolphins will have to shuffle their offensive line. Enter Utah guard Isaac Asiata, whom Miami drafted in the fifth round. The 24-year old will have a solid chance to earn the vacant starting left guard spot.
New York Jets
|5||181||DE||Dylan Donahue||West Georgia|
|6||204||CB||Derrick Jones||Ole Miss|
Re-shaping the safety corps...: Just like two years ago, when defensive tackle Leonard Williams fell to them, the New York Jets received another gift this year: safety Jamal Adams. The LSU standout was the best defensive back in the draft and should become a day-one impact player for the team; as should second round selection Marcus Maye from Florida. With their first two picks, New York instantly upgraded its secondary.
...and the receiving corps: The safety position did not remain the Jets' lone double-dip of the draft. The team also selected two wide receivers in Alabama's ArDarius Stewart and Cal's Chad Hansen, and furthermore picked Clemson tight end Jordan Leggett. Given New York's lack of talent at the receiver positions, all three are expected to see significant playing time early in their careers.
No quarterbacks: The Jets entered the draft with three quarterbacks on their roster in Josh McCown, Bryce Petty and Christian Hackenberg. And even though the trio forms one of the least impressive quarterback groups in the NFL, the team did not add to the position during the draft. Instead, New York will likely enter the season without a franchise quarterback and look to the 2018 draft for an upgrade.