Saturday, March 29, 2014
How rivals could impact Dolphins' draft
By James Walker
The Miami Dolphins are just 4-8 against the AFC East in the past two seasons. Failing to succeed within the division is one of the primary reasons the Dolphins have been unable to get to the postseason since 2008.
Part of winning within the division on the field for the Dolphins includes winning on draft day. Here is how other teams in the AFC East could impact Miami’s plans at the top of the draft:
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Pick: No. 9
Analysis: The Bills will be the first division team to draft, but will their potential target impact the Dolphins? It’s interesting that a report surfaced Friday that the Bills are trying to move up to the No. 1 overall pick and mentioned "some believe they would move up for a quarterback." I’m also hearing Buffalo spent a lot of time studying this year’s quarterback class. The Bills have attended workouts for top quarterbacks Blake Bortles, Teddy Bridgewater and Johnny Manziel, which is telling. All three quarterbacks have the potential to be game changers for the Bills. Of course, Buffalo drafted EJ Manuel in 2013, but his rookie season was mixed with injuries and inconsistent play. Manziel, Bridgewater and Bortles all rate higher than Manuel did coming out of college last offseason. When you’re 28th in passing last year and have the NFL’s longest playoff drought, you can’t rule anything out for Buffalo. Miami isn’t in the market for a quarterback. So this wouldn’t impact the Dolphins if the Bills go in this direction.
New York Jets (8-8)
Pick: No. 18
Analysis: The Jets are just one spot ahead of the Dolphins. That makes New York a strong threat to take any player of interest for Miami. New York and Miami finished with identical .500 records and split its two games last season. Make no mistake that the Jets need offensive firepower this year. They were an awful 31st in passing yards last season. New York signed wide receiver Eric Decker but need more help at wide receiver and perhaps tight end. The Dolphins, at No. 19, will most likely look at the offensive line, both at right tackle and guard. Tackle Zack Martin appears to be Miami’s projected target. The Jets could be looking to fill their void at right tackle, as well, after losing starter Austin Howard to the Oakland Raiders. If the Jets snag Martin, that could be tough for the Dolphins to take.
New England Patriots (12-4)
Pick: No. 29
Analysis: The Patriots have well-defined needs at wide receiver and improving the outside pass rush. New England could use another receiving threat (or two) to help future Hall of Fame quarterback Tom Brady. The Patriots also need another edge-rusher to complement defensive end Chandler Jones, who led New England with 11.5 sacks in 2013. But their draft plans shouldn’t impact Miami all that much. The Patriots pick 19 spots after the Dolphins. New England has the flexibility to go with the best available player late in the first round. The Patriots often get a good value pick, which is one of the reasons they’ve been able to dominate the AFC East for the past dozen years.