AFC East: Eugene Monroe

The 2014 NFL combine is in the books. That means we are one step closer to the NFL draft.

ESPN NFL draft guru Todd McShay offered up his third mock draft on Thursday. The Miami Dolphins hold the No. 19 overall pick and have some well-defined needs.

Here are some thoughts on McShay’s projection for Miami:

No. 19: Zack Martin

Position/school: Offensive tackle, Notre Dame

Analysis: Martin has been the popular pick for Miami since January. He fits many of the things the Dolphins are looking for. Martin is versatile and capable of playing offensive tackle and guard. Martin also is an effort player who brings leadership, which is something the Dolphins desperately need on their offensive line. He fits both the player and character profile for Miami. A good plan for the Dolphins would be to sign a starting left tackle in free agency (Eugene Monroe? Branden Albert?) and draft a starting right tackle or guard in the first round. Martin could handle either position.
MIAMI -- NFL free agency is one week away, and the Miami Dolphins have well-defined needs and plenty of cap room to improve their roster.

Perhaps no need is bigger in Miami than left tackle. The Dolphins set a new franchise record in 2013 with 58 quarterbacks sacks. Miami must protect young quarterback Ryan Tannehill in his third year for the team to be successful.

With that in mind, let’s take a look at the current left tackle market for Miami:

1. Eugene Monroe

2013 team: Baltimore Ravens

Analysis: In my opinion, Monroe is the best combination of price and quality for the Dolphins. Monroe never made the Pro Bowl, like Branden Albert. But Monroe is a solid, above average left tackle who should be more affordable. The former first-round pick is only 26 and still has room to get better. Expect the Dolphins to be one of several teams in pursuit of Monroe if the Ravens allow him to hit the open market.

2. Branden Albert

2013 team: Kansas City Chiefs

Analysis: Albert, 29, is perhaps the biggest name among left tackles. Albert is coming off the best year of his career with the Kansas City Chiefs and his stock has never been higher. That’s great for Albert, who is ready to cash in, but what does this mean for Miami? There are some red flags that Albert didn’t play to his Pro Bowl potential until his sixth season, which was a contract year. Albert also will be 30 in November. Would the Dolphins get Albert’s best years by signing him to a lucrative, multi-year contract?

3. Jared Veldheer

2013 team: Oakland Raiders

Analysis: It was a rough 2013 for Veldheer. He suffered a left triceps injury in training camp and only returned for Oakland’s final five games. But before the injury Veldheer had been solid at left tackle for the Raiders. The Dolphins or any team interested will be paying for Veldheer’s solid showing from 2011-2012 and also his potential. Veldheer is only 26.

4. Anthony Collins

2013 team: Cincinnati Bengals

Analysis: Collins in an interesting prospect to hit the free-agent market. Collins has good size, is versatile and can play both left and right tackle. Collins also is just 28 and still in the prime. However, Collins only has 25 career starts in seven years with the Bengals. He’s been a part-time starter for a long time in Cincinnati and is looking for his chance to be a full-time starter in free agency. Collins could be a good value for a team willing to take a chance on his small sample size.

5. Bryant McKinnie

2013 team: Dolphins

Analysis: McKinnie is a potential fallback option for Miami if all else doesn’t work. The Dolphins acquired him in a midseason trade last October and he played decent football. But McKinnie, 34, is past his prime. Look for the Dolphins to go after top-shelf left tackles such as Monroe, Albert or Veldheer first. If Miami whiffs, the team could turn back to McKinnie on a short-term contract.

Bills no closer to trading Peters than to signing him

April, 10, 2009
  Icon SMI
  Will the Bills unload disgruntled LT Jason Peters to avoid another lengthy holdout?

Posted by's Tim Graham

For the past 72 hours, the Buffalo Bills have dominated NFL headlines.

The league suspended Pro Bowl running back Marshawn Lynch for three games, and star receiver Terrell Owens unexpectedly showed up for voluntary workouts.

The most important offseason Bills story, however, regards neither of them.

While cameras search for T.O. and questions swirl around Lynch's latest reprimand, contract angst roils again within left tackle Jason Peters.

To say trouble's on the way would be false. It's already here. More precisely, it never went away.

Just as he did last year by refusing to join the team until two days before the season opener, Peters still wants to be compensated like a franchise cornerstone and quarterback Trent Edwards' blindside protector.

The Bills don't think he's necessarily worth it. Peters' talent is undeniable, but his commitment is dubious.

The drama apparently will drag on awhile. Amid speculation they will unload Peters before the NFL draft to avoid another prolonged holdout, the Bills sound about as far away from trading the two-time Pro Bowler as they are from reaching accord with him.

Peters' trade value will be at its peak before the draft begins April 25, but NFL sources tell it's highly unlikely a deal will materialize by then.

One AFC personnel executive said teams interested in obtaining Peters must open the conversation with first- and third-round draft picks. The Bills are looking for a bundle of assets in return for perhaps the best player at football's second-most-vital position. Those types of proposals haven't been forthcoming.

The Philadelphia Eagles are the team most frequently mentioned as being interested in Peters. They hold the No. 21 and No. 28 draft choices and lost three-time Pro Bowl left tackle Tra Thomas to free agency.

But a league source said the Bills and Eagles haven't held any discussions about Peters.

That Peters remains a Bill through the draft isn't guaranteed. Significant trade talks still could occur during the next two weeks.

The switchboard at One Bills Drive could get flooded with calls from around the league, but the Bills are said to be resigned to the possibility they'll be forced to deal with another holdout that could last through training camp.

"We're anxious that he's present and involved," Bills coach Dick Jauron said last month at the NFL owners' meeting in Dana Point, Calif. "It doesn't serve anybody's purpose when he misses all that time.

"Last year, he didn't show up. We've just got to anticipate that he will, and we've got to keep working in that direction and keep the lines of communication open and believe he's going to show up because that's all we can do."

Good luck with that.

Peters proved last year he's not afraid to boycott mandatory practices, incurring more than $600,000 in fines.

Peters still has two years left on a contract he signed in 2006. He will be paid an average of about $4 million a year -- not bad for a guy who was an undrafted tight end out of Arkansas, but well under market value for an elite left tackle, which he has become. Bills right tackle Langston Walker's contract averages $5 million a year.

Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon and senior vice president of football operations Jim Overdorf submitted a contract proposal to Peters' agent, Eugene Parker, at the end of last season.

The proposal practically was dismissed out of hand. Counteroffers have been made, but the sides are farther apart than Bill O'Reilly and Keith Olbermann.

Peters wants a deal that pays him eight figures a year. The Miami Dolphins gave No. 1 overall draft pick Jake Long a five-year, $57.5 million deal last spring, making him the highest-paid offensive lineman in NFL history. The Carolina Panthers in February kept All-Pro tackle Jordan Gross from hitting the open market with a six-year contract worth nearly $60 million.

One AFC general manager agreed Peters is a premium tackle and -- in theory -- well worth the Bills' asking price of multiple draft picks, including first- and third-rounders. But the GM questioned whether it would be a prudent investment to give Peters the money he seeks because of perceived dedication issues.

"Once you give him the money, I'm not so sure he plays up to it," the GM said.

Last offseason, with three years remaining on his deal, Peters skipped every offseason workout, mandatory minicamp, training camp and all four preseason games. He begrudgingly reported -- sans new contract -- two days before the regular-season opener.

Peters was scratched from the first game and got off to a slow start while he played himself into game shape. He missed the final two games with a knee injury.

He didn't play nearly as well as he did in 2007, but his peers and opposing coaches voted him to his second straight Pro Bowl.

Internally, the Bills were dismayed Peters received the honor because they feared it would only reinforce the idea he can coast through another offseason and be rewarded.

  Scott Cunningham/Getty Images
  If the Bills do unload Peters, they could draft a replacement in the first round, such as Andre Smith.

A club might be hesitant to trade for Peters in part because it could use a first-round pick on a top rookie tackle rather than send it -- along with other draft choices -- to Buffalo.

For the second straight year, there's impressive talent among offensive tackles in this year's draft class. Baylor's Jason Smith, Alabama's Andre Smith, Virginia's Eugene Monroe and Michael Oher of Ole Miss all are immediate starter material.

Buffalo owns the 11th selection and could take one of those players if they were to trade Peters. With the extra first-round pick they would receive in return, they migh
t draft Oklahoma tight end Brandon Pettigrew or a linebacker.

But one AFC executive remarked that pulling off a multipick deal like the Bills are seeking for Peters would get more difficult as the draft draws nearer.

While that might sound counterintuitive because Peters' trade value should be at its zenith, the executive noted scouts become increasingly passionate about their evaluations as the draft approaches and would become less likely to deal a package of choices.

The New England Patriots, with 11 picks in all and six within the top 97, would be an exception. But the Bills aren't trading Peters within the AFC East.

Then again, based on the vibe emanating from One Bills Drive at the moment, there's a strong possibility they won't trade him at all.

The Bills simply aren't working themselves into a lather to get Peters off their roster.

Much can change over the next two weeks. Maybe the Bills get nervous, some calls get made, a deal gets hammered out and he gets shipped to Philly.

At the every least, the Bills have a Pro Bowl left tackle under contract for two more years.

They would prefer to avoid another holdout, but it's an outcome they probably can't sidestep without a radiant proposal or a serious compromise to make him happy.

Jets are now on Kiper's mock clock

January, 22, 2009
Posted by's Tim Graham

Now the 10 picks on the air Thursday, but he has released his entire first round on You need to be an Insider to see all 32 of his projected selections, but we're allowed to show you the first 16.

  1. Lions: Matthew Stafford, Georgia quarterback
  2. Rams: Andre Smith, Alabama tackle
  3. Chiefs: Mark Sanchez, USC quarterback
  4. Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech receiver
  5. Browns: Aaron Curry, Wake Forest linebacker
  6. Bengals: Jason Smith, Baylor tackle
  7. Raiders: Jeremy Maclin, Missouri receiver
  8. Jaguars: Eugene Monroe, Virginia tackle
  9. Packers: Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State cornerback
  10. 49ers: Aaron Maybin, Penn State defensive end
  11. Bills: Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State tight end
  12. Broncos: B.J. Raji, Boston College defensive tackle
  13. Redskins: Brian Orakpo, Texas defensive end
  14. Saints: Vontae Davis, Illinois cornerback
  15. Texans: Everette Brown, Florida State defensive end
  16. Chargers: Knowshon Moreno, Georgia running back

The Jets have the 17th selection.

OK, Jets fans. With all of those players off the board, that leaves you with an awful lot to choose from.

Who do you like?

Mel Kiper puts Buffalo on the clock

January, 22, 2009
Posted by's Tim Graham

Mel Kiper's latest mock-draft video runs 10 selections deep.

The Buffalo Bills have the No. 11 pick.

Here are Kiper's projections leading right up until the Bills are on the clock:

  1. Lions: Matthew Stafford, Georgia quarterback
  2. Rams: Andre Smith, Alabama tackle
  3. Chiefs: Mark Sanchez, USC quarterback
  4. Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech receiver
  5. Browns: Aaron Curry, Wake Forest linebacker
  6. Bengals: Jason Smith, Baylor tackle
  7. Raiders: Jeremy Maclin, Missouri receiver
  8. Jaguars: Eugene Monroe, Virginia tackle
  9. Packers: Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State cornerback
  10. 49ers: Aaron Maybin, Penn State defensive end

All those guys are off the board, Bills fans. You can have any other draft-eligible player in the country.

Fortunately, the Bills wouldn't be targeting a quarterback or offensive tackle anyway. That leaves the best one or two players in the country available at several positions.

Who do you want, and why?