AFC East analysis with draft a week away

April, 20, 2011
ESPN Insider subscribers can thumb through Scouts. Inc. founder Gary Horton's files on AFC East teams entering next week's draft.

Horton uses his 20 years as a talent evaluator in college and the NFL to break down what he sees as strengths and weaknesses for each club. There are two sets of analyses: team overviews and team draft needs with explanations.

Here are some highlights (aside from reprising my Lurch impersonation in a former "Caption this" photo) from each piece:

Buffalo Bills
  • Horton believes the Buffalo Bills are a high-effort team but simply have "inferior personnel and weaknesses at almost every position."
  • Defensive line is the biggest need in Horton's notebook. Then it's outside linebacker, quarterback and left tackle.
Miami Dolphins
  • Horton's take on new offensive coordinator Brian Daboll's approach to the passing game: "He will attack the middle of the field with low-risk throws to tight ends and slot receivers, and his style emphasizes yards after the catch."
  • Safety Chris Clemons is identified as the weak link on defense because "offenses absolutely destroy them in the deep middle of the field."
New England Patriots
  • Intelligence is a prerequisite for Bill Belichick's defensive players because he needs to change his schemes often to mask deficiencies, particularly when it comes to pass rush.
  • The third-biggest need in Horton's mind is finding an athletic replacement for left tackle Matt Light.
New York Jets
  • Horton suggests the Jets will use more pre-snap movement and no-huddle looks for Mark Sanchez.
  • Two of the Jets' top four biggest needs are on the defensive line. Horton indentified Sione Pouha as adequate but worth an upgrade.



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