AFC East: 2014 Mock Draft 2.0

With the 2013 season officially in the books, it’s time to shift our focus to 2014. ESPN draft experts Mel Kiper and Todd McShay both produced their post-Super Bowl mock drafts on Thursday.

Here is how they view the Miami Dolphins with the No. 19 overall pick:
Interestingly, both Kiper and McShay projected the same position and player for Miami in May’s draft. It’s no secret that offensive line is a huge need for the Dolphins after allowing a franchise-record 58 sacks last season. Miami's running game also was rated 26th in the league. Starting offensive linemen Bryant McKinnie, Tyson Clabo, John Jerry and Richie Incognito will all become free agents in March and most -- if not all -- are expected to leave.

Martin would be a solid addition with the 19th pick. He was a very productive player at Notre Dame and is coming off a productive Senior Bowl. He is a three-year starter and team captain, which shows leadership.

The only question I have about Martin is his physical tools. He's not as naturally gifted as other left tackle prospects in the draft. But Martin is a high-motor player who gets the most out of what he has.

Martin would be a safe pick for the Dolphins, albeit not a spectacular one.

Kiper/McShay mock draft reax: Bills

February, 6, 2014
Feb 6
Playmaker or protection?

That's the debate that is beginning to take shape as the Buffalo Bills inch closer to the 2014 NFL draft this May.

It's little secret that the Bills need to improve their offense after a shaky season under first-year coordinator Nate Hackett and rookie quarterback EJ Manuel. If the Bills decide to devote their most valuable resource -- the ninth-overall pick -- to that side of the ball, how should they do it?

Even our ESPN NFL Draft analysts disagree in their latest mock drafts.

Todd McShay's latest mock Insider has the Bills selecting Clemson wide receiver Sammy Watkins with the ninth pick. That's a change from his first projection, which had the Bills landing Michigan tackle Taylor Lewan.

McShay acknowledges the need to beef up the offensive line but says that "pairing young and developing QB EJ Manuel with the top receiver in this year's class might be too tempting to pass up."

Meanwhile, Mel Kiper sticks Insider with offensive tackle in his second mock draft. Last month, Kiper projected Auburn tackle Greg Robinson to the Bills. This time, Kiper has Texas A&M tackle Jake Matthews falling to the Bills at ninth overall.

"I suspect [Matthews] would jump in right away at right tackle and succeed -- he can play left or right -- and his ability to finish as a run-blocker could pay early dividends," Kiper writes.

It's a debate that will continue to swirl into spring.

Playmaker or protection?

Kiper/McShay mock draft reax: Jets

February, 6, 2014
Feb 6
ESPN draft analysts Mel Kiper Jr. and Todd McShay revealed their latest mock drafts Thursday, with the following selections for the New York Jets (No. 18 overall):

Kiper: Marqise Lee, wide receiver, USC

McShay: Brandin Cooks, wide receiver, Oregon State

My take: McShay deals a curveball with the Cooks pick. As far as I can tell, this is the first mock draft in which Cooks has been linked to the Jets. In McShay's 2.0, the top three wideouts -- Lee, Sammy Watkins (Clemson) and Mike Evans (Texas A&M) are off the board by the time the Jets pick -- a scenario that could play out on draft day. Cooks put up monster numbers last season as a junior (128 receptions, 1,730 yards and 16 touchdowns), but be careful: He played on a pass-happy team in a pass-happy conference. Cooks is closer to being a possession receiver than a game-breaker (averaged only 13.5 yards per catch), and the Jets -- in a perfect world -- need a home run threat. Nevertheless, McShay raises a potential dilemma for the Jets: If the top three are gone, do they pick for need (wide receiver) or take another position?

Kiper has been consistent with Lee going to the Jets; it was the pick in his 1.0 mock. I've said it before about Lee: He looked like a top-five pick in 2012, but his production dropped in half last season when he was nicked up. Like Cooks, Lee is an underclassman, adding importance to the upcoming scouting combine. Teams don't have exact measureables on the underclassmen, so the spotlight will be intense at the combine.