NFL Draft Grades: AFC East

The Jets first round draft picks help them out with these NFL Draft Grades
Bill Kostroun

The NFL Draft is officially over so it is time to hand out NFL Draft Grades! These NFL Draft Grades will cover all 32 teams who will be graded based on who they picked, team needs, and their overall draft process. Here are the NFL Draft Grades for the AFC East.

Buffalo Bills: B+

The Bills had a good overall draft with good players filling needs on the team. In the first round they took Kaiir Elam who will be a day one starter opposite Tre’Davious White. He’ll replace starter Levi Wallace who left in free agency. They get credit for their second round running back because they have all the other pieces on offense in place. A consistent runner has been lacking from this roster the last few years, and they hope to have filled it with James Cook. Matt Araiza “The Punt God” was their selection in the sixth round. And his deficits of directional punting shouldn’t be a problem for this aggressive fourth down team. Finally I like the selection of Luke Tenuta as a project tackle late in the draft.

Miami Dolphins: C+

It’s hard to grade a draft with so few picks. That said, there were some positives for the Dolphins. Just like I said with the Las Vegas Raiders, they get points for their first two picks turning into Tyreek Hill. However, compared to the Raiders and Denver Broncos (who also traded picks for a star player) Miami was only left with four draft picks.

They did a nice job of getting Channing Tindall in the third round. He should be a consistent and productive presence in their linebacker corps right away. However I was not a fan of their fourth round pick WR Erik Ezukanma. They’ve made major investments at the position with the trade for Hill, and drafting Jaylen Waddle sixth overall last year. It would have been good to see an offensive lineman here for them, considering their struggles at the position last year. Cordell Volson and Darian Kinnard were both available.

New England Patriots: C

Guys I’m putting my foot down. It has to stop. We can’t keep saying Bill Belichik is a genius when he makes moves we don’t agree with. Now…is it more likely that he’s right? Obviously. That said, I’m still giving them a low grade for this draft. I made the joke Friday night that they were having a great third and fourth round of the draft…only it was the first and second round. Cole Strange and Tyquan Thornton were over-drafted. And in Thornton’s case I think we all have some concerns over a WR draft pick in New England.

They did make a really nice pick in the third round in Marcus Jones. Someone who could legitimately be a starting cornerback from the start. But then they follow it up with Jack Jones in the fourth, who was projected by many to be a sixth or seventh rounder. You can quibble with where people get drafted within Day 3, but what you can’t overlook is drafting two running backs with two legitimate ones already on the roster. This is just bad process.

I don’t hate taking perhaps your long-term backup QB in the fourth round though, and their last two picks I think can be solid offensive linemen, especially Andrew Stueber all the way at the end of the draft.

All around there’s some fine players drafted, but the draft process is what really knocks their grade here.

New York Jets: A

I know Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness comes out this week, so I have to ask? What universe are we in? After grading the Patriots so harshly I’m here giving the Jets an A for their draft?

I loved what New York did this weekend. They didn’t panic at four and took Ahmad Gardner, whereas in the past if someone jumped them and took a different player at that position they might have second guessed and taken someone else. Gardner is one of the best players in this draft, and should be able to improve the secondary right away.

They also took care of QB Zach Wilson at ten by taking Garrett Wilson. Again they didn’t panic when Atlanta took Drake London, but stayed in control and took the next WR on the board. Wilson might actually help more with his route running and ability to get open. The Jets now have three different receivers on their roster that help the offense in different ways.

At the end of the first they even traded back into the later parts of the round to take Jermaine Johnson II who was high on their board. This was great value because many believed Johnson would be a top 10 pick and they got him at 26. This might be more correct for him in terms of draft slots, but he’ll help their pass rush regardless.

They didn’t have many picks after the first round, but they made use of them. On Day 2 they added two more offensive weapons to help their QB at running back and tight end. Then in the fourth round they added offensive lineman Max Mitchell. Mitchell will compete for the right tackle spot this year, but might be more of a longterm option, while he backs up multiple spots this year.

The Jets got excellent players throughout the draft, showed poise, and had great process all weekend. You can tell they had a clear plan to help their young QB with offensive weapons and an extra lineman, and stuck to it.

Be sure to follow along as I give NFL Draft Grades for all 32 teams, right here on Fantom Sports! And for more draft content you can listen to my podcast, the Simon Shortt Podcast, on Apple and Spotify!

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