New England Patriots
The perennial AFC East powerhouse, the Patriots continue to replenish their team despite not selecting until the 3rd round. Their picks of Derek Rivers at 19 and Antonio Garcia at 21 filled team needs. I am sure the Patriots keyed on these prospects because they play with a chip on their shoulder but mainly because of their skill sets.
Derek Rivers has good bend around the edge and Antonio Garcia showed smooth feet in pass protection. Essentially, both of those picks have the potential to become formidable starters for the Patriots in the years to come.
Their later picks of Deatrich Wise (Rd 4 pick 25) and Connor McDermott (Rd 6 pick 28) may prove more difficult to become starters. Wise has limited skills as a pass rusher and McDermott was consistently beat at the Reese’s Senior game.
Second in the AFC East in 2016, the Dolphins surprised. But in the playoffs they could not stop the run. So, in this draft they addressed their run defense by drafting defensive end Charles Harris (Rd 1 pick 22) and linebacker Raekwon McMillan (Rd 2 pick 22). Charles Harris plays with a high motor and shows a killer spin move inside during passing situations.
In college, he played without much gap discipline so he’ll have to clean that up to contribute to stopping the run. McMillan is a two down LB whose main strength is defending the run. The Dolphins 3rd round pick of defensive back Cordrea Tankersley has long arms and smooth patience in bump coverage so he has a chance to start immediately opposite of Byron Maxwell or Xavien Howard.
That said, do not expect Tankersely to contribute as an edge run supporter. Later in the draft the Dolphins selected two more defensive tackles, Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor, but both of their ceilings are as rotational players.
Their overall draft was very productive because they addressed team needs with players that are underrated; this should allow them to compete in the AFC East. Defensive back Tre’Davious White is my #1 cover cornerback because he is sticky in man to man coverage so he will fit perfectly opposite of Ronald Darby.
Their 2nd round pick of wide receiver Zay Jones will replace Robert Woods but it is an improvement because Jones’ ceiling is much higher. They may have drafted their future starting QB when they chose Nathan Peterman in the 5th round because he throws with accuracy and anticipation.
In the 2nd round, they selected offensive tackle Dion Dawkins who is powerful at the point of attack despite being relatively new to the position. Also, Tanner Vallejo (Rd 6 pick 11) is a sub package cover LB that was highly rated by NDT Founder Kyle Crabbs.
New York Jets
The Jets have a ton of holes so one draft is not going to fix all their issues. Contrary to popular opinion, the Jets did get better in this draft. At pick 6, they got a steal with Jamal Adams because he is an all-around safety and bon-a-fide star. They continued to clean up their defensive backfield by drafting safety Marcus Maye in the 2nd round.
Essentially, this safety tandem will enable the defense to disguise their coverages and allow Maye to stay as an in the box safety in a pass happy AFC East.
Later in the 3rd round they selected WR ArDarius Stewart who is one of my top underrated prospects in this class. Although I feel he is best suited as a complimentary WR, he is physical after the catch and has the speed to run the entire route tree.
In Round 5 they selected TE Jordan Legget who is going to be a dangerous weapon in the passing game because he has the speed to stretch the field and huge hands to snag any pass in his large radius. They tried to focus on position of need when they selected two long arm DBs Jeremy Clark and Derrick Jones in the 6th round.