We focus primarily on the New England Patriots here at Pats Pulpit, but that also includes looking beyond Foxboro and at the bigger league-wide picture especially as it relates to the club’s division rivals. In this installment of the AFC East Report, we will therefore break down the draft classes of the Patriots’ four rivals. One thing stands out right away: all three of the teams tried to bolster their trenches.
They all picked defensive tackles in the first round, before adding offensive linemen on day two. Winning the line of scrimmage, especially in a division that saw the Patriots outmuscle their opponents on the way to a Super Bowl title last year, is obviously the goal — time will tell if the investments pay off, though, and translate into wins after all three clubs failed to even reach .500 in 2018.
2018 season: 6-10
|3||74||Devin Singletary||RB||Florida Atlantic|
|3||96||Dawson Knox||TE||Ole Miss|
|7||225||Darryl Johnson Jr.||DE||North Carolina A&T|
|7||228||Tommy Sweeney||TE||Boston College|
The Bills’ draft started with the selection of one of the top interior defensive linemen in the first round: Houston’s Ed Oliver slid down to the ninth overall spot, where Buffalo was able to pick him up to bolster its defensive front. The team again invested in its trenches in round two by trading up to grab highly-graded offensive tackle prospect Cody Ford. Buffalo also added noticeable depth to its tight end group by making two selections at the position.
What Buffalo Rumblings thinks: “The Buffalo Bills entered the 2019 offseason with many holes on their roster. They addressed a very large number of them in the first few days of free agency and continued building depth [in the draft].” — Matt Warren
2018 season: 7-9
|5||151||Andrew Van Ginkel||LB||Wisconsin|
|6||202||Isaiah Prince||OT||Ohio State|
Miami also went after a defensive tackle — Clemson standout Christian Wilkins — in round one, but the team’s biggest addition of the weekend might have happened the next day: the Dolphins opted to trade the 62nd overall pick to the Arizona Cardinals in exchange for quarterback Josh Rosen. Rosen, of course, was drafted tenth overall just one year ago before getting tossed aside in favor of first overall selection Kyler Murray this year.
What The Phinsider thinks: “The Dolphins simply didn’t have enough picks to address every position of need in this draft, and I believe taking the best player available regardless of position is the best draft philosophy anyway. With all that said, Grier’s deft maneuvering that allowed the team to trade for Josh Rosen while still netting an extra second-round pick in next year’s draft deserves applause, and it boosts my draft grade for 2019 to an A-.” — Justin Hier
2018 season: 4-12
|4||121||Trevon Wesco||TE||West Virginia|
With the Cardinals and the San Francisco 49ers both opting to address needs atop the first round, the Jets were able to scoop up arguably the best overall player of this draft with selection number three: Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams will add considerable upside to an already talented Jets defensive line. The rest of New York’s draft class produced mostly developmental depth options, with edge defender Jachai Polite the most likely candidate to join Williams on the day one starting lineup.
What Gang Green Nation thinks: “The Jets class of 2019 is heavily tilted towards defense. Major college programs dominate the list, so the usual problems of small school prospects struggling to adjust to an enormous step up in level of competition should be mitigated somewhat this year.” — MacGregor Wells