2023 NFL Draft: What does each team in the AFC East division need? Projected picks
With the 2023 NFL Draft now just days away, teams are scrambling to organize themselves. With that, here’s a look at the wish list for teams in the AFC East.
From the Bills way up north to the Dolphins way down south, the Jets somewhere in the middle and the Patriots a little further east, the AFC’s Eastern division is stacked which is precisely why it’s going to be interesting to see how each of the teams reinforce in the coming Draft.
AFC East Wish List
The intriguing thing about the Buffalo Bills, is that when healthy this team is easily one of the best in the NFL. That being said, there are a handful of positions where they could clearly do better as they prepare for the coming campaign. Tremaine Edmunds’ free agency departure for Chicago has left a hole in the defense that’s in desperate need of filling. This of course leads us to the likes of Jack Campbell and Trenton Simpson. At 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds, Campbell projects as a very impressive middle linebacker, especially when considering the results of his combine appearance, where he ranked second at his position in broad jump (10′8″) and vertical (37.5″). His 6.74-second three-cone drill and 4.24-second shuttle time were also easily the best at the position. With plenty of experience in zone coverage, it’s easy to see him fitting into Buffalo’s defensive scheme.
Speaking of scheme, this brings us to Josh Allen and what he needs to succeed. Quite frankly, the Bills need to sort out the right side of the offensive line. Between Roger Saffold and Spencer Brown, there were visible struggles in that department last season. With 27th overall, it shouldn’t be too hard to find the right players such as Darnell Wright who has experience playing on both sides of the line and allowed only six hurries, two QB hits and zero sacks in a little over 500 pass-blocking snaps last year. Keep an eye out for him.
You may remember that Miami originally had two first-round picks in this Draft, however, one was traded to the Broncos in exchange for Bradley Chubb, while the other was forfeited after the league found them to be tampering with Tom Brady. As a result, the Dolphins now have just four picks in Thursday’s Draft and their first doesn’t arrive until the 51st overall. Add to that the fact that they’ve only got four picks in total and you have a situation where there isn’t a whole lot to work with for Miami. On the other hand, it can be argued that the Dolphins aren’t in need of a ton of tinkering.
That being said, they could use a decent tight end. Though at 51st overall, it’s going to be tricky to find one as players such as Michael Mayer, Darnell Washington and Luke Musgrave will be out of reach. Perhaps a player like Tucker Kraft out of South Dakota could be an option as he’s shown his run game to be impressive. Indeed, his habit of finding space as well as his run-blocking ability would likely make him a decent fit for Miami’s wide-zone scheme.
New York Jets
With Aaron Rodgers now the Jets’ new quarterback things have changed somewhat. For starters, the Jets just gave up a considerable amount of draft capital to land the QB. With that being the case, New York will have to get very strategic with their picks. That brings us to Broderick Jones out of Georgia, though having lost their 13th overall pick, it could prove a somewhat difficult proposition. A shame considering that the OT is the perfect fit for a team that desperately needs to address the tackle position. While it’s true that Mekhi Becton has potential greatness within him, he’s only featured in one single game across the last 2 campaigns. This is to say, that Jones would offer the Jets a strong starting right tackle, as well as the versatility of being able to play on the left if Becton doesn’t shine.
Aside from the tackle, the Jets could probably stand to sure up the center. Between C.J. Mosley who’s coming to the end of his contract at 31-years-old and Quincy Williams who struggled in coverage last season, the Jets are somewhat soft in the middle. With picks 42 and 43 in the Draft, the team could easily address the linebacking position.
New England Patriots
With 11 total picks in the Draft, the Patriots have a number of options open to them. One school of thought would be to augment the wide receiver corps, while another would point toward a defensive back or edge. That brings us to the 14th overall pick which could be used on a player like Joey Porter Jr. who is excellent in press coverage. Yet, as we said, New England has options with three of their picks coming in the fourth round and four in the sixth.
Where specific names are concerned, we’re thinking that Zay Flowers or Jordan Addison could be suitable options for the Patriots. Then, there is also 6-foot-2, 238 pound, Nolan Smith, at edge who put up unreal numbers during the combine with a 4.39 40-yard dash. We should also mention Tyrique Stevenson if they don’t go for Porter in the first round. Stevenson has shown he’s great in man coverage which in itself makes him an ideal fit for New England’s scheme. Lastly, it’s clear that the Patriots could do with some help at wide receiver and possibly even running back. With those 11 picks, they’ve got room to work with.