TMQing the AFC East draft

April, 27, 2010
4/27/10
2:45
PM ET
Page 2 columnist Greg Easterbrook shared plenty of thoughts on the draft in his "Tuesday Morning Quarterback" column.

Here are the AFC East highlights from his review:

Buffalo Bills
In April 2009, the Bills entered the draft with an emergency situation at left tackle, and chose no left tackle, but did use their first selection on a nickel linebacker who, even if all went well, would play only on passing downs. The Bills' 2009 offense proceeded to be awful as Buffalo started five different players at left tackle. This April, the Bills entered the draft with an emergency situation at left tackle, and did not choose an offensive lineman until the fifth round.
For a decade, Buffalo has failed to reach the playoffs -- the worst such streak in the AFC -- and in that period drafted horribly, making repeated luxury picks (three first-round running backs in a single decade, for instance) rather than fixing its offensive line. Offensive tackles on the Buffalo roster: Demetrius Bell, eight career starts, coming off an ACL tear; Jamon Meredith, four career starts; Edward Wang, fifth-round draft selection; Kirk Chambers, waived four times by the Bills over the last three seasons; Cornell Green, who will be 34 years old on opening day; Nick Hennessey, no career starts, though he surely got a great education at Phillips Andover Academy and then Colgate; Andre Ramsey and Jason Watkins, no career starts. Presumably, the quarterback-needy Bills passed on multiple chances to select Jimmy Clausen or Colt McCoy because they know the blocking is so bad, anyone under center for Buffalo next season will just get killed anyway. It's the year 2010. How can a professional football team totally ignore the need to be solid at offensive tackle?

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins traded down from 12th to 28th to recover one of the second-round choices given in the Brandon Marshall trade, then were able to obtain a decent defensive tackle, their leading need, at 28. Factor in the addition of Marshall, and Miami had a solid draft. Hmm ... this is a straightforward sports comment; what's it doing in TMQ?

New England Patriots

Bill Belichick loves him some tight ends. Since becoming the Patriots' coach, Belichick has invested 11 choices in tight ends, including two last week. And Belichick loves draft-day trades, this year making six, involving a total of 18 choices at various points. Example: Through a sequence of transactions New England swapped the 47th choice, midway through the second round, for a late-second-round choice, a fifth-round pick and Carolina's second selection in 2011. This is skilled trading -- but when is New England actually going to use all its banked choices?
In 2009, New England banked a lot of choices via trades, going into 2010 holding three second-round picks. Since 2010 was viewed as a strong draft, it seemed Belichick's strategy would be to transfer picks into a strong year. Now the strong year has arrived and rather than fire all his ammo, Belichick traded down several times then concluded the draft having banked two first-round and two second-round choices for 2011. Even the squirrel who hides nuts for the winter eventually digs them up and eats them. When is Belichick going to use all these extra picks? Is he exhibiting some hoarding syndrome that should get him on Oprah?

New York Jets

The Jets spent their second-round choice on Vladimir Ducasse -- you don't run into a lot of NFL players named Vladimir. Though, this does seem an ideal name for the Rex Ryan mindset. I find it easy to imagine Ryan meeting Vladimir in some ancient castle to discuss plans for world domination.
The Jets also signed Jason Taylor. All his recent team-switching -- Miami, then Washington, then back to Miami, now Jersey/B -- makes Taylor seem mercenary. Of course the NFL is fundamentally a business; the owners always think first about the business angle. But TMQ fears Taylor's changing teams three times in three seasons will torpedo any chance he had to don that garish yellow jacket in Canton. Hall of Fame electors favor players who spent their entire careers in one place, toughing out the down years, because the Hall of Fame is, in part, about sustaining the romantic belief that NFL players are motivated by sportsmanship and loyalty. Taylor has made it clear he is motivated by his stats and his payday. That's very current, but Tuesday Morning Quarterback thinks it will keep him out of Canton.

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