AFC East: Andre Branch

AFC East links: Overpay for Tannehill?

April, 9, 2012
Buffalo Bills

Linebackers coach Bob Sanders got a chance to briefly meet Mario Williams recently, and Sanders walked away impressed. “He is a great guy and a true professional," said Sanders. "Although he’s been around and been in the limelight, he is down to earth ... and he has outstanding character. I know he made all of Buffalo proud because of the character he has.”

Chidi Ahanotu, a 12-year NFL veteran who played under Gregg Williams with the Bills in 2002, said the embattled defensive coordinator was "the softest coach I’ve been around." More from Ahanotu: "It was to the point, really, where I said, ‘Man, this guy’s really not made out to be a coach.’ Honestly, that’s what I always felt in Buffalo -- this is not football. His approach was very cerebral.”

Miami Dolphins

After passing on Kyle Orton, Carson Palmer, Matt Flynn, Alex Smith and not trading up to draft Robert Griffin III, the Dolphins should consider overpaying to draft Ryan Tannehill, writes Armando Salguero in the Miami Herald.

Izzy Gould at the Sun Sentinel takes a look at what the Dolphins have done so far in free agency.

Drew Rosenhaus, the agent for Yeremiah Bell, said the safety would not be back in Miami. Rosenhaus said the Jets, Patriots and Eagles are interested in Bell.

New York Jets

Tim Tebow drew a crowd of 15,000 during an outdoor Easter service in Texas, reports.

Rich Cimini at ESPNNewYork reports Notre Dame wide receiver Michael Floyd is scheduled to visit the Jets this week. Floyd could be a target for the Jets with the No. 16 pick.

Cimini also reported over the weekend that the Jets signed Australian rugby star Hayden Smith. At 6-foot-6 and 265 pounds, Hayden could be a tight end.

New England Patriots's Mike Reiss explores what West Virginia's Bruce Irvin could offer the Patriots.'s Jeff Howe looks at Clemson's Andre Branch, who had 10.5 sacks and 17 tackles for loss last season, as a possible replacement for Mark Anderson.

AFC East mock draft board

March, 29, 2012
Wednesday we opened the floor for our first blogger mock draft of 2012. My vote counts for half and the community board counts for the other half.

The AFC East will stay true to our board. Here are the final results:

Miami Dolphins (No. 8 overall)

Analysis: The Dolphins are in a tough spot, despite having the best pick in the division. I do not like Tannehill at No. 8. But the Dolphins botched their quarterback situation so badly this offseason that I think they almost have to take Tannehill if he’s available. Matt Moore and David Garrard are not the long-term solutions and have just one year left on their contracts. Tannehill provides some hope, even if he’s just holding a clipboard in 2012. Reiff would fill a need, but I wouldn’t draft a right tackle in the top 10. I think Ingram would be solid at No. 8 to provide a pass rush opposite outside linebacker Cameron Wake.

Buffalo Bills (No. 10 overall)

Analysis: I was surprised how fast Floyd is moving up everyone's draft board. Buffalo fans lately are in love with the Notre Dame product. Floyd was the top choice on the community board. I’m still a little nervous about Floyd in the top 10, but he did make the end of my list. I still like Reiff here at left tackle. Buffalo rotated three players there last year, and they need a bookend to protect quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick’s blind side.

New York Jets (No. 16 overall)

Analysis: Power to the people on this one. I had the same three players as Jets fans in the AFC East blog. But Upshaw and Barron are so close in my book that I’m getting out of the way. If both are on the board, I’m trusting my Jets scouts and going with Upshaw. You'd better be right, Jets scouts. The New York media will get on my case very hard if I pass up the best safety in the draft for a bust, knowing that safety was a huge need.

New England Patriots (No. 27 and No. 31 overall)

Analysis: With two picks at the end of the first round, we went with the top five options. I knew this ballot would be all over the place. But here is what I like most: The final board is defense, defense, defense. That is something we can all agree on. Mercilus was the consensus top pick for myself and Patriots fans. Konz did make the top three, but he would be a backup behind Dan Connolly. Any defensive pick in the first round this year has a chance to start right away for New England's 31st-ranked defense.