The AFC East has gone through the most dramatic moves this offseason. With the New York Jets acquiring Brandon Marshall, Darrelle Revis, and Antonio Rodgers-Cromartie, the Miami Dolphins getting Ndamukong Suh, and the Bills obtaining an entirely new offense altogether, the division is on its way up. However, they are all chasing the defending Superbowl Champions, the New England Patriots. And while the Patriots have taken a hit, they still are the favorite to take the division. With that said, everyone still has holes to fill so let’s get right into the AFC East Team Needs.
Buffalo Bills – The Bills have already acquired LeSean McCoy, Percy Harvin, Charles Clay, and Matt Cassel, so they have already done a ton of work in terms of getting ready for their run at the AFC East crown. Their main attention will now be based on upgrading their offensive line and trying to sure up the hole left by Da’Norris Searcy. They also have to fill the void left by Kiko Alonzo when they traded him for LeSean McCoy. The following are their team needs:
Guard – Even though they signed Richie Incognito, he is on the downside of his career and they need another guard. They won’t have to use a very high pick, but one must be used.
Right Tackle – Last year they had 7th round pick Seantrel Henderson starting at RT and it was not a good experiment. They have to address this between the 2nd and 4th round.
Safety – This maybe an early pick for them. They don’t have a 1st round pick, but their 2nd round pick may go towards this spot.
Inside Linebacker – There’s a good 4-5 ILBs that could fill this spot and be effective with the coaching of Rex Ryan. I wouldn’t worry too much about it, but he may address it early as Rex’s new toy.
Miami Dolphins – Two years ago I thought the Dolphins were a year or two away from being a playoff contender. They may be at that point right now. With Suh now on the line, the Dolphins have to make an upgrade at the other DT spot as well as the interior offensive line. They are just a few moves away from possibly taking over the top spot in the division, but they have to hit on their draft picks, starting with the needs below:
Guard – They signed JD Walton so Mike Pouncey will be the one of the guards, but he was bad last year. So they definitely need at least one guard, and as early as the 2nd round.
Wide Receiver – Even though they traded for Kenny Stills, Jarvis Landry fits the slot role better, so they can use for another starting type WR.
Defensive Tackle – They gained Suh, but lost both Randy Starts and Jared Odrick, so they need another DT to go with their prized possession Suh.
New England Patriots – The New England Patriots are normally the template of how you want to make player decisions. They turn castoffs into impact players and they drop people who would be looked at as important players and they normally mysteriously drop off. This year, they have been criticized for their moves regarding their defense and now Bill Belichick will have to once again prove how much of an evil genius he really is. To do this, he must fill the following holes on the team:
Guard – The Patriots could honestly use two guards, but since I don’t see them starting two rookies, they may decide to make the one guard they select, a very high draft pick. Got to protect the franchise, Tom Brady
Nose Tackle – The surprising departure of Vince Wolfolk has left a huge hole right in the middle of the usually dependable run defense of the Patriots. They may use their 1st one pick on this need.
Cornerback – The Pats lost not only Revis, but also Brandon Browner. Their secondary will be heavily tested and they will have to depend more on getting a pass rush.
New York Jets – The Jets have been the laughing stock of the league for the past couple years, but now when you look at their team, overall they have a very good defense and now they have surrounded Geno Smith with a lot of weapons. We still don’t know if he can do anything with those weapons, but it’s 100 times better than what they had two years ago when they drafted Smith. They are getting there, but they still have a few spots to fill:
Guard – The have Nick Mangold and D’Brickshaw Ferguson, those 2 alone can carry a line, but they can definitely upgrade the rest of the line, especially at guard. The signing of John Carpenter is not enough.
Outside Linebacker – This has been a long standing issue for years with the Jets. Coples has talent but has underachieved and Pace declined quickly last year. It’s a must if they want to progress.
Running Back – Chris Ivory is actually good, but the problem is he is never healthy. So with Chris Johnson gone, they will probably take a RB in the draft.
Quarterback – Even though I left this position for last, this is obviously the biggest problem. They need to find a triggerman to balance out the vastly improved weapons they obtained this offseason.
While the NFC West is known as the best division in football, the most improved division this offseason seems to be the AFC East. The Patriots may not exactly be shaking in their boots yet, but they know it won’t be a cake-walk to a division title. When you have Tom Brady, he covers a lot of the other deficiencies on the team, but the Dolphins are getting closer and the Jets and Bills are arguably just a QB away. It makes for what should be a very fun upcoming year in the AFC East.
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