This week's Scouts Eye feature on ESPN Insider examines linebacking units within the AFC East.
Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson proclaims the Miami Dolphins will have one of the league's best defenses in large part because of their linebackers, whom he rates the division's best. Williamson is high on outside linebackers Cameron Wake and Koa Misi, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby and the unit's overall depth.
Next in line are the New York Jets. Although Williamson calls franchise player David Harris "slightly overrated" because of his coverage skills, the tandem of Harris and Bart Scott is one of the league's most formidable. Outside linebackers Calvin Pace and Bryan Thomas are "adequate," Williamson writes, but the Jets need to add a pass-rusher who strikes fear in opponents.
The New England Patriots are third on the list behind the strength of Pro Bowl inside linebacker Jerod Mayo. Aside from him, however, there's a lot to be desired in regard to established talent. Williamson believes sophomore inside linebacker Brandon Spikes has a bright future. Many questions remain on the outside, a spot that could be improved in free agency.
Not surprisingly, the Buffalo Bills are considered last in the division. Williamson notes the Bills need to re-sign free agent Paul Posluszny, hope Shawne Merriman resurrects his career and need to add one more "legit starting outside linebacker who can rush the passer" to get their defense on track.