Analyzing the Draft: AFC East Foes

QB John Beck, Miami's "QB of the Future"

One week ago today the Bills were closing out their 2007 Draft; my how I miss those days already. You may have noticed my hesitancy to provide any sort of "draft grade" this past week; it is my personal belief that draft grades are useless other than providing an extra week of work for media personalities with especially bad hair. As Buffalo's "bad" draft proved last year, draft grades have absolutely no worth to real-life situations.

So instead of "grading" the drafts of my AFC East counterparts, I thought I'd examine their efforts to see exactly what we're looking at as Bills fans this coming season. No grades - this is real-life analysis we're talking about here.

Miami Dolphins
1-9: Ted Ginn Jr., WR, Ohio State
2-40: John Beck, QB, BYU
2-60: Samson Satele, C, Hawaii
3-71: Lorenzo Booker, RB, Fla. St.
4-108: Paul Soliai, DT, Utah
6-181: Reagan Mauia, FB, Hawaii
6-199: Drew Mormino, C, C. Mich.
7-219: Kelvin Smith, LB, Syracuse
7-225: Brandon Fields, P, Mich. St.
7-238: Abraham Wright, DE, Colorado

Analysis: Most Dolphins fans hated the Ted Ginn pick (until John Beck was selected in the second round), but I broke out into a cold sweat when I heard the announcement. I'm not sure that Ginn will ever be a top-flight receiver in this league, but after watching Devin Hester tear up the league as a kick returner last year, it scares the living daylights out of me to have a Hester-type threat in our division. Ginn is a guy that you give the ball to and let him go to work. He is going to be a playmaker for that team at a minimum, an explosive receiver ideally. I like the John Beck pick, although I think in terms of other QB prospects this year (including our very own Trent Edwards) Beck's upside is a bit more limited. I loved their selection of LB Kelvin Smith, a local product out of Syracuse who was ultra-productive in college. He could take over for Zach Thomas in time.

New England Patriots
1-24: Brandon Meriweather, S, Mia-FL
4-127: Kareem Brown, DT, Mia-FL
5-171: Clint Oldenburg, OT, Colo. St.
6-180: Justin Rogers, LB, SMU
6-202: Mike Richardson, CB, Notre Dame
6-208: Justise Hairston, RB, C. Conn.
6-209: Corey Hilliard, OT, Okla. St.
7-211: Oscar Lua, LB, USC
7-247: Mike Elgin, C, Iowa

Analysis: You can't talk about the Patriots' draft without mentioning Randy Moss. Landing the All-Pro receiver gives Tom Brady arguably the best offensive arsenal in the league, and the publicity the trade is getting has placed the Pats as the favorite to win the Super Bowl. I'm not counting on it - I don't know if Laurence Maroney can handle the rushing load himself, and Brady will need a consistent running game to be very successful. As far as their picks go, I liked Meriweather throughout the whole process - he may have character issues galore, but he's a very good football player who gives the team a promising future at strong safety once Rodney Harrison retires. The rest of the Pats' picks were on the second day; Notre Dame CB Mike Richardson seems like the best value of the lot. This team got better over draft weekend, but I'm not sure turning into the NFL's version of the NY Yankees is the best way to build a team. Time will tell.

New York Jets
1-14: Darrelle Revis, CB, Pittsburgh
2-47: David Harris, LB, Michigan
6-177: Jacob Bender, OT, Nicholls St.
7-235: Chansi Stuckey, WR, Clemson

Analysis: For two straight years the Jets have won my award for "Best Draft Strategy". Last year the team spent two first-round picks on offensive linemen with bright futures (D'Brickashaw Ferguson and Nick Mangold); this year, the team made a lot of trades and wound up with just four picks. This was a sound strategy in a weak year talent-wise, and the four guys the Jets got should be immediate contributors. Revis will be the #1 corner in New York sooner rather than later, and his playmaking ability will make him a lethal punt returner as well. Harris was a guy I would have loved to see in a Bills uniform; he should be a starter by season's end as well. Bender is a solid tackle with a mean streak who could be an underrated force for the team down the line. I liked Stuckey as a prospect, although I don't see him contributing much more than on special teams this season. I loved the Jets' draft almost as much as I loved the Bills' draft. The Jets know how to build a football team, and they're looking like a long-term contender in this division.

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