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AFC East Draft Grades: Dion Jordan To Miami Creates Chaos and Hope For E.J. Manuel

by Photo of Quentin Haynes

The Draft Grades for the Bills, Jets, Patriots, and Dolphins.

AFC East Draft Grades: Dion Jordan To Miami Creates Chaos and Hope For E.J. Manuel

This is the one division where I’m holding out hope for. I wasn’t a fan of a couple of drafts here, and other than New England, this is the main division where draft picks go to rot. However, each franchise has seemed to turn a new leaf. The Buffalo Bills added a couple playmakers over the past three seasons, the New York Jets are under new management, and the Miami Dolphins, after getting Ryan Tannehill last season, seem to be headed in a new direction. How did they do in this year’s draft?

Buffalo Bills- Grade C

  • EJ Manuel, QB, Florida St.
  • Robert Woods, WR, USC
  • Kiko Alanso, ILB, Oregon
  • Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas
  • Duke Williams, FS, Nevada
  • Jonathan Meeks, DB, Clemson
  • Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida St.
  • Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas

I hate the E.J. Manuel pick for a number of reasons. The first is that after him, the second quarterback wasn’t taken until the second round. The second is that I struggle to see him being a day one starter. The third is the Bills will probably start him opening day. I’m cool with the trade down. I’m fine with the pick of need. I’m not cool with this pick if they thrust him in there day one. Give him about 8-10 games where he can be groomed into the role. If the Bills correctly bring him into the fold, I think Manuel has a chance of working out. He's big, he has experience, and he has the arm to be a NFL starter. With refinement, the Bills might've walked into a solid starter. Again, Kevin Kolb should start the season.

After that, you got me in a hodgepodge with these picks. I love the Robert Woods pick for this team. He should be an instant upgrade at the receiver two position. I like the Reggie Wayne comparisons that were thrown out during the NFL draft for Woods. You place him opposite of Stevie Johnson and allow T.J. Graham to be the burner in the slot position. All three are bigger receivers as well, giving Buffalo a stout passing attack. The next couple of picks throw me off. Kiko Alanso over Arthur Brown? I struggle to see that panning out. Marquise Goodwin over Quinton Patton and Markus Wheaton in the third round seemed like a bit much too. Goodwin has all-world speed but is still a project. I think he could still start out as the team's return man, so that doesn't really hurt the pick. The two defensive back picks were good, and Chris Gragg should be a solid number two tight end, but this class will be all on the arm (and legs) of E.J. Manuel.  

New York Jets- Grade: B-

  • Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
  • Sheldon Richardson, DT, Missouri
  • Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  • Brian Winters, OT, Kent St.
  • Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
  • William Campbell, DT, Michigan
  • Tommy Bohanon, FB, Wake Forest

The Jets came into this draft with a ton of pressure. After moving Darrelle Revis, what would the Jets do to fix their needs? The answer: not much from an offensive skill position standpoint. However, the Jets stuck to their mantra under Rex Ryan and took four linemen. Dee Milliner, the team’s first overall selection, will most likely take over post-Revis at cornerback. Sheldon Richardson is an interesting player because I don’t know how he gets on the field right now. Getting Geno Smith in round two could be a blessing for both parties. I think he pans out, but the skill talent around him is unproven, so the team should probably wait the first half of the season before being thrown to the wolves. 

Snagging Brian Winters and Oday Aboushi in the middle rounds will help a running game recapture it’s mojo, and the developmental move of switching Will Campbell from defensive to offensive line could be interesting. Strong draft by New York, but they still need one or two offensive talents to help out whoever lines up at QB. They traded for Chris Ivory during the draft, so that will help, but another receiver could be the difference.

Miami Dolphins- Grade: A

  • Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
  • Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise St.
  • Dallas Thomas, OT, Tennessee
  • Will Davis, CB, Utah St.
  • Jelani Jenkins, OLB, Florida
  • Dion Sims, TE, Michigan St.
  • Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
  • Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida
  • Don Jones, SS, Arkansas St.

Be. Aggressive. The Miami Dolphins certainly took that to heart by moving a first round and second rounder to Oakland to move up and select Dion Jordan. The defensive end out of Oregon is slated to line up opposite of Cameron Wake, and that could mean trouble for opposing offensive tackles. Jordan could also stand up and attack from an outside linebacker position, meaning the Dolphins' blitzing options have now opened up. If Jordan lives up to his third overall pick status, the Dolphins could be tout a menacing defensive line next season. 

After that, the Dolphins really came away with a stellar draft class. Jamar Taylor could be the team’s number one cornerback, but they doubled down with Will Davis in the fourth round, giving themselves double the chance of hitting on a defensive back pick. Dallas Thomas could be the starting right tackle, and the Florida trio of Jelani Jenkins, Mike Gillislee, and Caleb Sturgis could all see significant time next season. The only issue I have with Miami is starting Dallas Thomas. I think the team should send a third rounder to Miami to Kansas City for Brandan Albert. Not only does Albert fill a need at left tackle, but he allows second-year player Jonathan Martin to stay at right tackle and allows Thomas to be groomed into a potential swing tackle role.

New England Patriots- Grade: C

  • Jamie Collins, OLB, Southern Miss
  • Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
  • Logan Ryan, CB, Rutgers
  • Duron Harmon, S, Rutgers
  • Josh Boyce, WR, TCU
  • Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
  • Steve Beauharnais, ILB, Rutgers

I don’t hate the Patriots drafts as much as many people do, but they just suck at drafting defensive backs and wide receivers. The Patriots ended up with two defensive backs and two wide receivers in this class. Jamie Collins is an interesting selection because I don’t know exactly where he’ll play next season. He projects as a 3-4 outside linebacker, but New England will also try him out at 4-3 defensive end. Time will tell which position he sticks at. Aaron Dobson looked like a monster on the highlight reel, but is he ready to start right now? I have my doubts. 

Logan Ryan in round three seemed like a steal. With Talib back into the fold, Ryan can be developed into a potential starter at the nickel corner position. Josh Boyce will be expected to return kicks right away, thanks to the increased role from Julian Edleman. Michael Buchanan is another interesting defensive prospect. I won’t harp on New England too much because they’re still a fantastic football team, but this draft doesn’t seem to have much hope based on history.

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