Wednesday, April 20, 2011
AFC East analysis with draft a week away
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:
- 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.
New England Patriots
- 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 York Jets
- 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.
- 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.