Wednesday, February 20, 2013
NFL scouting combine preview: AFC East
By James Walker
» NFC combine preview: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South
NFL Nation previews the 2013 scouting combine by identifying the most important thing for each team to learn about its greatest area of need.
Buffalo Bills: Is there a top-10 quarterback? The Bills hold the No. 8 overall pick and are looking for a long-term solution at the position. But is there one in this year’s draft worth taking that high? Buffalo needs to continue its evaluation this week to find out. Currently, the Bills have Ryan Fitzpatrick and Tarvaris Jackson on the roster in what will be an open competition. A rookie most likely will be thrown in the mix. But whether it's a first-round pick such as Geno Smith, or a second-rounder or later like Ryan Nassib, remains to be seen. Expect the Bills to poke and prod all of the top quarterback prospects this week.
Miami Dolphins: Who is the top wide receiver? The Dolphins need offensive playmakers in the worst way. They were 27th in the NFL in passing last year, and leading receiver Brian Hartline is an unrestricted free agent who may not return. Young quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs legitimate weapons around him entering his second season. The Dolphins will hit free agency hard with options like Greg Jennings and Mike Wallace. But Miami also could look to the draft, perhaps as early as the No. 12 pick. There is no slam-dunk receiver in this group. But prospects such as Cordarrelle Patterson and Keenan Allen could be of interest in the first round, especially if Hartline doesn't re-sign.
New England Patriots: Who are the top corners and safeties? The Patriots won the division last season and were within a game of the Super Bowl. This isn't a team with a lot of glaring needs, but the secondary is definitely one of them. The Patriots need upgrades and depth at cornerback and safety. It won't be easy for New England to find elite talent in the first round. The Patriots have the 29th pick, which means many of the top players will be off the board. But they must do their homework at the combine to zero in on quality prospects who could be overlooked, particularly for the secondary.
New York Jets: Where are the offensive playmakers? The conventional train of thought is New York will draft a defensive player in the first round. It has been that way three of the past four years Rex Ryan has coached the Jets. The exception was the first year, when Ryan and the Jets needed a quarterback and picked Mark Sanchez No. 5 overall. That hasn't worked too well. But most of the Jets' major demands this year are on offense -- they need help scoring points. To do that, the Jets need to identify the top offensive playmakers at tight end, running back, right tackle, wide receiver and, yes, quarterback. Will New York finally draft a player for the offense in the first round under new general manager John Idzik? The Jets first must determine if there are offensive skill players worth taking in the top 10.