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AFC East Roundup: Welcome to the East, rookies

A rundown of this year’s AFC East rookie class

NFL: APR 29 2023 Draft Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

The 2023 NFL Draft has come and gone, and teams have turned to filling remaining holes on their rosters among players without a home — be they undrafted free agents or those players still hanging on in free agency. This year’s draft saw 259 players selected by 32 NFL teams — ranging from first overall pick Bryce Young, all the way down to Desjaun Johnson as this year’s Mr. Irrelevant. These rookies have the opportunity to take the league by storm and restore excitement to the franchises that selected them. What does that mean for the AFC East? Let’s recap each of the teams’ draft choices.

Buffalo Bills

  • Round 1 (No. 25 from Giants through Jaguars): TE Dalton Kincaid
  • Round 2 (No. 59): IOL O’Cyrus Torrence
  • Round 3 (No. 91): LB Dorian Williams
  • Round 5 (No. 150 from Commanders): WR Justin Shorter
  • Round 7 (No. 230 from Jets): OT Nick Broeker
  • Round 7 (No. 252 from Bucs): CB Alex Austin

Miami Dolphins

  • Round 2 (No. 51): CB Cam Smith
  • Round 3 (No. 84): RB Devon Achane
  • Round 6 (No. 197): WR Elijah Higgins
  • Round 7 (No. 238): OT Ryan Hayes

New York Jets

  • Round 1 (No. 15 from Packers): EDGE Will McDonald IV
  • Round 2 (No. 43): C Joe Tippmann
  • Round 4 (No. 120 from Steelers through Patriots): OT Carter Warren
  • Round 5 (No. 143): RB Israel Abanikanda
  • Round 6 (No. 184 from Raiders through Patriots): LB Zaire Barnes
  • Round 6 (No. 204 from Cowboys): CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse
  • Round 7 (No. 220 from Cardinals): TE Zack Kuntz

New England Patriots

  • Round 1 (No. 17 from Steelers): CB Christian Gonzalez
  • Round 2 (No. 46): EDGE Keion White
  • Round 3 (No. 76 from Panthers): S Marte Mapu
  • Round 4 (No. 107 from Rams): IOL Jake Andrews
  • Round 4 (No. 112 from Jets): K Chad Ryland
  • Round 4 (No. 117): IOL Sidy Sow
  • Round 5 (No. 144 from Falcons through Raiders): IOL Atonio Mafi
  • Round 6 (No. 187 from Panthers): WR Kayshon Boutte
  • Round 6 (No. 192): P Bryce Baringer
  • Round 6 (No. 210): WR Demario Douglas
  • Round 6 (No. 214 from Raiders): CB Ameer Speed
  • Round 7 (No. 245 from Bills): CB Isaiah Speed

One of the more interesting things that happened was the Patriots’ decision to take two specialists in a kicker and punter. Clearly, the rest of the East is content trying to bolster their defenses, with most taking defenders within Rounds 1-2. Only the Jets added to their offense with their first two picks — that, of course, being center Joe Tippmann. Meanwhile the Bills made a concerted effort to focus on offense, in what looks like a game of cat and mouse on paper between Buffalo and the rest of its division at this point in time.

What sticks out most to you looking at each team’s selection?