- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The NFL draft is just three weeks away. Therefore, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. checked in to provide his latest mock draft.
Here are the two-round results for the AFC East:
No. 8 overall: G Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina
No. 41: QB Ryan Nassib, Syracuse
Analysis: There is growing momentum that the Bills will take a guard with the No. 8 pick. That is unusual. However, there are some strong interior offensive linemen in this draft. Kiper has Buffalo taking Cooper over Alabama guard Chance Warmack, who is still on the board according to this mock. I think Warmack is a better prospect and better for the Bills if they go in that direction. Most expect the Bills to draft a quarterback in the second round and Nassib played for new Bills head coach Doug Marrone in Syracuse. So that's a good fit.
No. 9: DE Barkevious Mingo, LSU
No. 39: TE Zach Ertz, Stanford
Analysis: This would be a power pair in the first two rounds for New York, which lacks playmakers. Mingo and Ertz could add size and athleticism on both sides of the ball for the Jets. I don't expect the Jets to draft a first-round defensive end for the third straight year. But Mingo is one of my favorite prospects in this draft. He can play a hybrid defensive end and outside linebacker under head coach Rex Ryan and provide a rush off the edge. The Jets have a big hole to fill at tight end following Dustin Keller’s departure. Ertz has the potential to develop into a nice safety valve for Mark Sanchez or David Garrard.
No. 12: OT D.J. Fluker, Alabama
No. 42: DE Tank Carradine, Florida State
No. 54: CB Robert Alford, S.E. Louisiana
Analysis: I’m not convinced on the Fluker pick. I like Oklahoma's Lane Johnson better, because I think he's better suited to be a left tackle at the next level. Fluker appears to be more natural for the right side, at least as a rookie. If Miami takes an offensive tackle in the first round, that player should have left-tackle potential. Carradine and Alford both make sense in the second round because they fill needs at defensive end and cornerback, respectively. But with three picks in the first two rounds, I think Miami can do better than this trio.
No. 29: WR Justin Hunter, Tennessee
No. 59: CB Tyrann Mathieu, LSU
Analysis: Kiper views the Patriots filling needs at receiver and cornerback in the first two rounds. I'm not big on Hunter, especially in the first round, but he was productive and a teammate of top-rated receiver Cordarrelle Patterson at Tennessee. I would be shocked if New England took Mathieu in the second round. That would be a very un-Patriot like move. Mathieu is a good athlete but comes with tons of baggage. The Patriots probably wouldn’t consider Mathieu unless he was sitting there as a flier in the fourth or later.