AFC East: draft picks

Early draft primer: New York Jets

November, 20, 2012
The 2012 season has reached the stretch run, and it appears the New England Patriots are the only team on solid ground for the postseason.

Therefore, the AFC East blog recently began its first look at the offseason and what teams must address in 2013. Let’s continue Tuesday with the Jets.

New York Jets

Key free agents: TE Dustin Keller, S LaRon Landry, S Yeremiah Bell

2013 draft picks:

Needs: RB, RT, LB, WR, S, QB

Analysis: New York restructured a lot of contracts the past two seasons, which makes it tough on the upcoming salary cap. Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum and coach Rex Ryan have tough decisions to make to improve this team and make it younger. The biggest in-house free agent this season is Keller. He's a solid tight end when healthy. But Keller is suffering through injuries and having a down year. That could make him a bargain for the Jets. But if another team overpays, he could bolt. Safety also is a need if the Jets do not re-sign their aging veterans: Landry and Bell. An educated guess is at least one of these players won't be back. New York is in a tough spot at quarterback. Starter Mark Sanchez and backup Tim Tebow are both under contract and have plenty of combined guaranteed money next year. The Jets will have to stick with one of those players -- most likely Sanchez -- but both will be on the roster barring an offseason Tebow trade. Therefore, New York will probably invest in a top college quarterback prospect when they have plenty of other needs. Maybe a developmental rookie quarterback in the middle rounds is an option.

Possible draft targets: Alec Ogletree, LB, Georgia; Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas; Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan

'Hard Knocks' report: Episode Four

August, 29, 2012
HBO's "Hard Knocks" with the Miami Dolphins aired its fourth episode Tuesday night. It was another interesting week in Miami, which included the trade of cornerback Vontae Davis.

Here were several highlights from the show:
  • The show began with former guard Eric Steinbach's decision to retire. Steinbach, who was once one of the best guards in the NFL, sat out all of last season with a back injury. Miami head coach Joe Philbin said he looks “real stiff.” Steinbach was honest with the coaches that he just wasn’t the same player and it was time to shut it down. Steinbach said he received his closure and he’s happy he tried one more time.
  • There has been a goat on "Hard Knocks" every week. This episode it was Daniel Thomas. The second-year running back had a meeting called in Philbin’s office. The head coach discussed Thomas’ tardiness and it was revealed Thomas was late for the team plane to Carolina and was 15 minutes late to lift weights. "From where I sit, I get concerned about this stuff," Philbin told Thomas. The running back was fined by the team. Philbin said he's getting "queasy" about Thomas.
  • It's interesting to note the Indianapolis Colts called the Dolphins about Davis, not the other way around. Miami general manager Jeff Ireland received a text from the Colts and debated in his office whether Davis was part of the team’s long-term plans. Ireland later discussed with the coaches that Indianapolis started with an offer of a fifth- and sixth-round draft pick. Then, the value moved up to a third-rounder and later a second-rounder. The Colts kept offering more and more and, in my opinion, came off as desperate for a corner. Ireland even told a Colts official on the phone that, “It has to be something that will blow me away. You called me.” Miami eventually got a second-round pick and a conditional sixth-round pick. It was good work by Ireland and Miami’s front office to get value.
  • The show ended with Ireland having to inform Davis that he was traded. Davis had a wide-eyed look on his face, prompting Ireland to ask, “Are you OK?” Davis immediately wanted call his grandmother, which was a little odd. But Ireland kept things on track and told Davis to finish the conversation first. Ireland told Davis he was too inconsistent and that’s why the Dolphins traded the corner.