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AFC East Report: Patriots’ division has plenty of draft capital, with one exception

Related: AFC East Report: Are the Patriots falling behind in their division?

Buffalo Bills v New England Patriots Photo by Billie Weiss/Getty Images

The AFC East has been quite busy this offseason, and little is expected to change entering the NFL Draft. With one exception, after all, the New England Patriots’ division has plenty of capital to work with and is therefore in a position to keep adding significant talent later this month.

With that said, let’s take a look at the four teams to find out who has the most resources and how they might be used.

Buffalo Bills

  • Round 1: 25th overall
  • Round 2: 57th overall
  • Round 3: 89th overall
  • Round 4: 130th overall
  • Round 5: 168th overall
  • Round 6: 185th overall (from Carolina)
  • Round 6: 203rd overall
  • Round 7: 231st overall (from Atlanta)

Even after trading a seventh-round selection to the Cleveland Browns for quarterback Case Keenum, the Bills still have eight selections available: six in their original slots plus two acquired via trade with the Carolina Panthers (for defensive end Darryl Johnson) and the Atlanta Falcons (for tight end Lee Smith).

The Bills have considerable quantity, but the quality of the selections is hurt a bit by the team’s solid performance in 2021. With Buffalo reaching the divisional playoff round, a majority of the picks are in the lower third of the respective rounds. In turn, Buffalo’s draft capital — 408.99 points, per Rich Hill’s trade chart — is just the third highest in the division and ranked 19th in the NFL overall.

That is still more than enough to add some quality players to an already talented roster, though, and to make some trades on draft day if necessary.

Miami Dolphins

  • Round 3: 102nd overall (from San Francisco)
  • Round 4: 125th overall (from Pittsburgh)
  • Round 7: 224th overall (from Baltimore)
  • Round 7: 247th overall (from Tennessee via Carolina)

The Dolphins’ 2021 draft capital looks a lot like New England’s back in 2017. Back then, the Patriots made a series of trades — including sending a first-rounder to New Orleans for wide receiver Brandin Cooks — and were left with just four picks; none of those selections came before the third round.

Miami also used its first-round selection to acquire a speedy wide receiver — ex-Chief Tyreek Hill — and as a result of some other trades as well is left with only four total picks at the moment. While the Hill trade massively improved the Dolphins’ offensive personnel, and the team already was quite active in free agency, it has only limited resources available to become a big player during the draft.

In fact, no other team has less capital available than the Dolphins’ 58.81 points.

New England Patriots

  • Round 1: 21st overall
  • Round 2: 54th overall
  • Round 3: 85th overall
  • Round 4: 127th overall
  • Round 5: 158th overall (from Miami)
  • Round 5: 170th overall (from Tampa Bay)
  • Round 6: 200th overall
  • Round 6: 210th overall (from Los Angeles)

The Patriots are ranked second in the AFC East in terms of draft capital: their eight selections have a combined trade value of 458.83 points — 16th in the league at the moment, and ahead of nine other playoff teams from last year.

Three of New England’s eight picks were acquired via trade. The team received a fifth-rounder alongside ex-Dolphins wide receiver DeVante Parker, while it got another fifth-round choice out of the Shaq Mason trade with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Furthermore, the Los Angeles Rams sent a sixth-round pick to the Patriots for running back Sony Michel last August.

While the Patriots’ original picks are also in the lower half of each round, courtesy of them qualify for the postseason in 2021, they are in a solid position to make some complementary moves after a relatively quiet offseason so far. This, in turn, will allow them to address major needs such as cornerback or the interior offensive line while still staying flexible throughout the process.

New York Jets

  • Round 1: 4th overall
  • Round 1: 10th overall (from Seattle)
  • Round 2: 35th overall
  • Round 2: 38th overall (from Carolina)
  • Round 3: 69th overall
  • Round 4: 111th overall (from Carolina)
  • Round 4: 117th overall (from Minnesota)
  • Round 5: 146th overall
  • Round 5: 163rd overall (from Pittsburgh)

No team in the AFC East has as much draft capital at its disposal as the Jets. Owning five selections in the top-70 this year, New York projects as a major player this year: the team owns two picks each in the first two rounds, plus another in the third.

Five of the team’s nine total selections were acquired via trade. The most notable moves saw New York pick up a first-round pick by trading safety Jamal Adams to Seattle, and a second-rounder for quarterback Sam Darnold via the Panthers. While it remains to be seen what the Jets will do with those selections, it is hard to argue against those moves with the power of hindsight.

All in all, they have helped the club acquire a combined draft capital worth 1333.59 points on the Rich Hill trade chart. Only one other team in the NFL — the Jacksonville Jaguars (1392.55) — have more ammunition available at the moment.