Thursday, June 2, 2011
Mel Kiper identifies AFC East shortcomings
Draft industrialist Mel Kiper began a series of "Summer Audits" for ESPN Insider. Kiper takes a look at the infusion of talent from the draft, remaining questions and the hypothetical best fit for next year's draft.
The AFC East is in the leadoff spot Thursday. Although the article is for subscribers, I can share some snippets from each club.
Kiper likes the Bills' draft, especially Alabama defensive lineman Marcell Dareus with the third overall selection. Problem areas continue to be the pass rush and the offensive line. Kiper writes the "Bills simply believe they have more at O-line than the results seem to bear out." He still sees quarterback as a concern, but notes Ryan Fitzpatrick might be the most stable quarterback for any team that drafted among the top 10.
Kiper already is targeting quarterback as the Dolphins' biggest draft need for 2012, pairing them up with Oklahoma's Landry Jones. That coincides with Kiper's biggest remaining question, Chad Henne, who ranked 26th in passing efficiency despite the addition of Brandon Marshall. "To put that in context from a developmental standpoint," Kiper writes, "Sam Bradford was ranked just ahead of Henne, with a total absence of viable targets."
New England Patriots
The draft wasn't enthralling, but it was solid in Kiper's eyes. But he's unsettled that "New England didn't have a greater sense of immediacy" when it came to adding immediate impact players to a 14-2 team. The Patriots went more with longer-range talent, leading Kiper to believe they will be active in free agency when it comes to bolstering an unsatisfactory pass rush.
New York Jets
Kiper loves the Jets' first-round pick, Temple defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson. Outside linebacker should be a free-agency priority, and with the Jets becoming a popular consideration for seemingly all unattached veterans, they shouldn't have trouble getting one interested.