- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The 2012 regular season isn't over for another three weeks. But it's never too soon to discuss the NFL draft.
ESPN draft guru Todd McShay provided his first mock draft, which provides an early preview of what teams will be looking for next April.
Let's take a look at McShay's picks in the AFC East division.
Buffalo Bills (5-8)
Needs: LB, QB, WR
Current draft slot: No. 11
McShay’s pick: Manti Te'o, MLB, Notre Dame
Analysis: The Bills would fall over themselves if Te'o falls to them at No. 11. Te'o is exactly what Buffalo needs in terms of toughness, heart and leadership. The Bills spent a lot of resources the past few years on beefing up the defensive line. But the linebackers aren't very good. Te'o would be plugged in as an immediate starter. I don't expect Teo to make it out of the top 10. But he's a perfect fit for the Bills if they can get him. Buffalo also needs to draft its quarterback of the future. But the Bills can look at that position in the second round.
Miami Dolphins (5-8)
Current draft slot: No. 12
Needs: WR, CB, TE
McShay’s pick: Dion Jordan, DE, Oregon
Analysis: I totally disagree with McShay on this pick. Dolphins defensive end Cameron Wake is playing at a Pro Bowl level and the other spot has depth with starter Jared Odrick and a fast-rising Olivier Vernon. Adding another defensive end would be a bone-headed move by Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland. Miami has plenty of other needs to address, such as getting rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill better receivers and tight ends. If Miami goes defense in the first round, adding a cornerback should be the priority and not defensive end.
New York Jets (6-7)
Current draft slot: No. 15
Needs: WR, RB, RT, S, QB
McShay’s pick: Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
Analysis: The Jets have a lot of needs, and it's pretty amazing that this team still has a solid shot at the playoffs. New York doesn't have the cap room to be aggressive in free agency. Therefore, the draft will be huge. McShay projects New York to take a right tackle in Matthews. Starter Austin Howard has been a decent find, but he's not the long-term solution. Matthews would give quarterback Mark Sanchez more front-side protection. But I would prefer the Jets get Sanchez better skill players.
New England Patriots (10-3)
Current draft slot: No. 30
Needs: S, CB, WR
McShay’s pick: Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
Analysis: With all the injuries New England's had at wide receiver, drafting this position wouldn't be a bad idea. Austin is one of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith’s favorite targets. But Austin is more of a slot receiver, which means the Patriots would be looking at him to assist Julian Edelman in replacing Wes Welker, who will be an unrestricted free agent. If the Patriots plan to let Welker walk, adding a receiver in the draft becomes a bigger priority.
The 2012 regular season isn't over for another three weeks. But it's never too soon to discuss the NFL draft.ESPN draft guru Todd McShay provided his first mock draft , which provides an early preview of what teams will be looking for next April.