The frenzy that is the NFL draft is over and it is now time for analysis and also for taking a look at the bigger picture beyond the New England Patriots' selections. After all, the last few days will have a profound long-term impact on the team's division: Two of the Patriots' AFC East rivals – the New York Jets and the Buffalo Bills – invested serious draft capital in new quarterbacks, all while the Miami Dolphins came away with one of the top defensive prospects of this class.
Let's break down what the three teams did in this week's edition of the AFC East Report:
|1||16||Tremaine Edmunds||LB||Virginia Tech|
|4||121||Taron Johnson||CB||Weber State|
|5||166||Wyatt Teller||OG||Virginia Tech|
|7||255||Austin Proehl||WR||North Carolina|
Buffalo, coming straight off its first playoff birth of the 21st century, had considerable high-round draft capital available and entered the draft with the fourth-most valuable collection of picks in the league. The Bills made sure to make it count and moved up in round one to get their new quarterback: Wyoming's Josh Allen, who has as high a ceiling as any of this year's passers but is certainly more of a gamble than others.
With their second pick in the first round, the Bills also invested in significant upside by drafting 19-year old Tremaine Edmunds out of Virginia Tech. Like Allen, Edmunds – whose brother Terrell was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers later in round one – comes with a high ceiling but needs some work at the next level. Overall, though, Buffalo added intriguing players with their top two picks (and beyond, with defensive tackle Harrison Phillips the most notable one) that could set the course of the franchise for years to come.
|2||42||Mike Gesicki||TE||Penn State|
|3||73||Jerome Baker||LB||Ohio State|
|4||123||Durham Smythe||TE||Notre Dame|
|4||131||Kalen Ballage||RB||Arizona State|
|6||209||Cornell Armstrong||OC||Southern Mississippi|
|7||229||Jason Sanders||K||New Mexico|
With the top of the draft being focused on quarterbacks, the Dolphins – with their franchise quarterback Ryan Tannehill expected to fully return from season-ending knee injury – were in a comfortable position at number 11: They could simply watch the draft unfold and pick one of the standout players in this draft that fell into their lap. Miami's choice ultimately became Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick, the top-rated safety prospect.
The versatile Alabama defensive back should become a day-one starter for the Dolphins and immediately upgrade Miami's secondary. The same goes for Mike Gesicki and the tight end depth chart. The Penn State product – together with fourth-round tight end Durham Smythe out of Notre Dame – is expected to have an immediate impact on a Miami offense that struggled in 2017.
New York Jets
|3||72||Nathan Shepherd||DT||Ford Hays State|
|4||107||Chris Herndon||TE||Miami (FL)|
|6||204||Trenton Cannon||RB||Virginia State|
Just like the Bills, the Jets came away from the draft with a new franchise quarterback: USC's Sam Darnold will be Gang Green's passer moving forward. Sitting at number three, the team was in a perfect spot to grab one of the consensus top four quarterbacks and it was Darnold who they chose after only one – Baker Mayfield to the Cleveland Browns – was off the board by the time New York was on the clock.
While Darnold, possibly the most pro-ready quarterback in the entire draft, is no sure-fire lock to be the team's day-one starter with Josh McCown still on the team, he will be handed over the keys at one point. The success of a Jets' draft class that also includes two defensive tackles in Nathan Shepherd and Foley Fatukasi will therefore be highly dependent on how successful the quarterback turns out.