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AFC East Roundup: Updates on first-round picks

How are this past April’s first-round picks doing so far?

We are nine games into the NFL’s regular season and the standings within AFC East look the same as last week. The Buffalo Bills remain in first after defeating the Seattle Seahawks while the Miami Dolphins are still in second after a victory over the Arizona Cardinals. On Monday Night Football it was a battle between the New England Patriots and the New York Jets with the Patriots coming out on top—leaving the Jets still searching for that first win. With a decent amount of games under their belt, let’s take a look at the performances of the first-round picks around the AFC East...with one special exception.

The Buffalo Bills elected to trade their first-round pick in this year’s draft by acquiring Stefon Diggs from the Minnesota Vikings. So far, this has been a match made in heaven as Diggs is currently leading the NFL with 813 yards on the season. He is on pace for a career high in yardage and his 91 targets already equal all of the targets he had last season while with the Vikings. Diggs has shown that it was smart for Buffalo to go out and get an already established number-one receiver instead of choosing to draft a rookie in the first round like many experts predicted.

For the Miami Dolphins, they had a three first-round picks in the draft. They used their first to select the team’s quarterback of the future in Tua Tagovailoa fifth overall. Tua is coming off his second career start against the Cardinals where he was an efficient 20-of-28 for 248 yards with two touchdowns. After winning his first career start two weeks ago, Tua has this Dolphins team rolling to make a postseason run. As for their second first-round pick, that was used on Austin Jackson who is a big tackle at 6’5” and over 300 lbs. Unfortunately his rookie season has not been what he hoped for, having been placed on IR last month with a foot injury. Before the injury, he was the starting left tackle and he played very well. Their last pick of the first round was on cornerback Noah Igbinoghene. He has 12 tackles on the season and a fumble recovery but he’s still looking for that first career interception.

The New York Jets decided to beef up their offensive line by selecting the monstrous Mekhi Becton. Standing at 6’7” and 364 lbs, Becton has shown the past couple of weeks that he is a force to be reckoned with and he’s made an immediate impact. He already has a couple of highlights pancaking opposing lineman with ease—showcasing that he should be a threat for years to come. Becton has had some injury concerns as he missed a couple games early in the season. He also left the game on Monday against the Patriots with another injury.

The Patriots did not have a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft so instead we’ll update the development on last year’s first rounder, N’Keal Harry. In six games played on the season, Harry has 19 receptions with 172 yards and a touchdown. He has, however, not played in the last couple of games for the team while recovering from a concussion. Harry has the tools to become a great receiver in the league but after having Tom Brady throwing him the ball this year and transitioning to Cam Newton this year, Harry is still trying to find his rhythm in the NFL.