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Draft Grades: AFC East

I know some people hate it when reporters and analysis provide draft grades directly after the draft, but it’s my job. It is going to take at least three years before we truly know how all 32 NFL teams did in the 2014 draft. Here’s my take on how well each team in the AFC East did this draft weekend.

New England Patriots

I love the selection of defensive lineman Dominique Easley. If he is healthy, the former Florida Gators could be the disruptive force the Patriots have been missing ever since Richard Seymour left. The most confusing pick of the Patriots’ draft had to be quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo. I understand New England drafted him for the future, but the team chose him instead of selecting a player like tight end C.J. Fiedorowicz. Garoppolo won’t play for at least another three season, but the Patriots could have used a tight end like Fiedorowicz now. You need to provide quarterback Tom Brady with as many weapons as possible and I thought the Patriots failed in that regard. Four round picks Bryan Stork, Cameron Fleming and six rounder Jon Halapio will add depth and toughness to the New England line.

Grade C

New York Jets

I loved the pick of Louisville safety Calvin Pryor. He has the potential to become the best safety in the NFL. I also liked the selections of tight end Jace Amaro, Shaq Evans and Jalen Saunders. The Jets needed offensive weapons and this trio has the speed the Jets have been looking for. One of the steals of the entire draft could turn out to be Utah linebacker Trevor Reilly. The 6-foot-5 245 pounder had a great 2013 season. Reilly recorded 100 tackles, 8.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss the Utes last season. The only reason he slipped to the 7th round is because he is 26-years-old. Reilly could turn out to be head coach Rex Ryan next great 3-4 linebacker.

Grade B+

Buffalo Bills 

Sammy Watkins could be the home run difference the Bills expect him to be. Buffalo better hope so, because they surrendered its first round selection in 2015, as well as a fourth-rounder in 2015, to draft Watkins. Time will tell if this was the right decision for the Bills. I did liked how the Bills focused on the offensive line with second rounder Cyrus Kouandjio, fifth rounder Cyril Richardson and seventh rounder Seantrel Henderson.

Grade C

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins addressed a lot of their needs during the draft. Ja”Wuan James is a day one starter at right tackle. I know some felt like the Dolphins reached for him, but this was their biggest need. With Greg Robinson, Jake Matthews, Taylor Lewan and Zack Martin all off the board in the first 16 picks, Miami selected the best tackle available. Wide receiver Jarvis Landry and tight end Arthur Lynch are solid, pro-ready players that will contribute immediately. I’m intrigued by the Dolphins third round selection of Billy Turner from North Dakota State.  He was durable in college as he played in 57 career games (starting 56 of them).  He was a two-time consensus All-American and was on the three-time FCS National Championship teams at North Dakota State. What I like about Turner is he has the versatility to play inside as a guard or outside as a tackle. Fifth round pick Jordan Tripps could also turn out to be a steal in the draft. He can play inside or outside linebacker for the Dolphins. If Tripps can keep up with the speed of the NFL, he has a chance to become a starter eventually

Grade B

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