The Dolphins obviously addressed some definite needs on offense during the 2011 NFL Draft, bringing in a stud interior offensive lineman (Mike Pouncey), an every-down running back (Daniel Thomas), a deep threat wide receiver (Edmond Gates), and a versatile pass-catching tight end (Charles Clay). What about the rest of the division, though? We know that the Bills had the third overall pick and that the Pats had 600 total selections, but what did those teams (and the Jets) end up doing and will it lead to increased toughness in the AFC East in 2011? Let’s take a look…
While the Fins were all about offense this year, the Bills were clearly looking to strengthen things on the defensive side of the ball. Their first four picks and seven of their nine total selections were defensive players, led by the stud DT Marcel Dareus, whom they selected number three overall. They book-ended that selection with another DT in the seventh round (Michael Jasper) and in between, took three DB’s and a pair of LB’s to go along with an offensive lineman and a running back in rounds four and five. Outside of Dareus, their top drafted player is clearly Texas DB Aaron Williams, selected with the second pick of the second round. Meanwhile, the team today fired their VP of College Scouting, so…
New York Jets
The Jets selected six players in the 2011 draft. The first two should help bolster Rex Ryan’s already strong defense (DT Muhammad Wilkerson and DL Kenrick Ellis), but the last four were all offensive players. Louisville RB Bilal Powell was taken in round four and should add another hard-nosed runner to the Jets overcrowded backfield and seventh round selection Greg McElroy, the Alabama QB, could be groomed as a long-term backup to Mark Sanchez. New York also added a pair of relatively unheralded WR’s in TCU’s Jeremy Kerley (fifth round) and Scotty McKnight of Colorado (seventh round).
New England Patriots
While the Jets (and Fins) drafted six players last week, the Pats added nine guys to their potential roster. Going in, we all figured that New England would be looking to pick up a couple of talented pass rushers as well as a cornerback or two to help their pass defense. While they did end up taking a couple of DB’s, highlighted by the injury-plagued Ras-I Dowling in the second round, they ended up using six of their nine picks on offensive players, including OL Nate Solder at #17 overall and QB Ryan Mallett in the third round. Bill Belichick was also criticized by some for getting too “cute” with his picks and worrying more about accumulating future selections than taking impact players that could help his team this coming season.
So what does all of this mean? In the now immortal words of “Todd,” who commented on John Congemi’s QB blog: “only time will tell.”
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