AFC East: Jacob Bender

'07 draft class nearly purged from AFC East

October, 15, 2010
10/15/10
11:15
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After they dumped quarterback Trent Edwards and traded running back Marshawn Lynch in consecutive weeks, a lone member of the Buffalo Bills' 2007 draft class remained on the roster.

Just three years later, one keeper is a lousy return.

But consider how the rest of AFC East drafted in 2007.

Only six of 30 AFC East draftees from 2007 still are with the team that drafted them: two New York Jets, two Miami Dolphins, one New England Patriot and one Bill. (See chart below.)

[+] EnlargeDavid Harris
Anthony J. Causi/Icon SMIThe Jets traded second-, third- and sixth-round choices to move up and select David Harris.
The Jets were most effective. They drafted just four players. Their first two have been stars, and the last pick helped them acquire a standout receiver. They traded up to select star cornerback Darrelle Revis 14th overall and top inside linebacker David Harris 47th. Seventh-round pick Chansi Stuckey was sent to the Cleveland Browns in the trade that landed receiver Braylon Edwards.

The Patriots were the least efficient on nine picks, but they had only two selections inside the first four rounds. Their lone keeper was Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather in the first round.

The Dolphins made 10 selections in what was the final draft class for general manager Randy Mueller and the only one for rookie head coach Cam Cameron. They famously misfired on ninth overall pick Ted Ginn, who was traded for a fifth-round pick this offseason, and second-round quarterback John Beck. Still around are defensive tackle Paul Soliai and punter Brandon Fields.

The last man standing from Buffalo's seven-man 2007 draft class is second-round linebacker Paul Posluszny.

So that's a 20 percent retention rate for the AFC East on all draftees and a 40 percent rate for those selected in the top three rounds.

With help from ESPN researcher Keith Hawkins and the Elias Sports Bureau, I wanted to find out how those percentages compared leaguewide.

Poorly, it turns out.

Of the 225 players chosen in other divisions that year, 100 have remained with the teams that drafted them. That's 44.4 percent overall, more than twice the AFC East rate.

When narrowing the field to players taken within the first three rounds, 89 prospects were absorbed into other divisions, and 54 have stuck, a success rate of 60.7 percent.

A few notes turned up by the research:

  • The Dolphins are the only team that has gotten rid of their top four picks.
  • Twenty-six teams have parted ways with at least one of their picks from the first three rounds.
  • Of the 19 teams that had at least one pick in each of the first three rounds, only the Pittsburgh Steelers retained all of them (Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, Matt Spaeth).

Pats sign O'Neal among other moves

September, 1, 2008
9/01/08
11:02
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Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
O'Neal
O'Neal

The New England Patriots have announced a slew of roster moves, highlighted by the signing of two-time Pro Bowl CB Deltha O'Neal.

O'Neal was brought in because the Patriots were unsatisfied with their CB play through the preseason. They surprisingly cut one of their biggest offseason acquisitions on Saturday when they decided to not move forward with Fernando Bryant. They also released free-agent CB Jason Webster, another newcomer who was supposed to help them replace Asante Samuel.

O'Neal is a nine-year vet who started only 15 games over the past two seasons for the Cincinnati Bengals. Last year, first-round pick Leon Hall beat him out for a starting role. O'Neal didn't fit into the plans of new defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer because of faded man-to-man coverage skills and was cut this weekend despite being their No. 1 punt returner in camp.

In an Aug. 8 Cincinnati Enquirer article about how O'Neal had lost a step, he discussed his willingness to accept a lesser role for greater team success. Little did he know then ...

"I'm just looking to add depth this year and help out as much as I can," O'Neal said. "I have a positive look at it. I went to two Pro Bowls. I want a Super Bowl ring. I'm not tired of going [to the Pro Bowl], but given my choice I'd rather go to the Super Bowl." 

The Patriots also added OL Mark Levoir and TE Jason Pociask off the waiver wire, released TE Stephen Spach and signed OL Jacob Bender and TE Tyson Devree to their practice squad.

Pociask and Bender were among the last New York Jets cuts. Levoir spent two seasons on the Chicago Bears practice squad before the St. Louis Rams added him to their active roster in November, but didn't play him. The Patriots released Devree, an undrafted rookie, on Saturday.

Jets scrimmage in rain delay

August, 2, 2008
8/02/08
1:50
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. -- We're in a rain delay at Shuart Stadium.

The New York Jets' intrasquad scrimmage has been paused because of ominous weather. A steady rain began shortly after the Green & White started. The stands were evacuated, but the Jets played on as the sky grew darker. The atmosphere took on a Friday night, under-the-lights feel.

But, with lightning in the area, Jets coach Eric Mangini cleared the field a few moments ago even though there still was about 5:40 left in the first half.

We're awaiting word whether the scrimmage will resume.

There's not much to report. The weather made Hofstra University's synthetic surface slick. The drawn-together lineups lacked chemistry, as evidenced by the number of sacks (there's no tackling, but common sense dictated when officials blew their whistles).

A few plays that stood out:

  • Chad Pennington laid a downfield block on a Brad Smith reverse, then threw a 27-yard strike to Jerricho Cotchery at the left end zone sideline to put the Green up 7-0 (the only points so far).
  • The TD is Pennington's lone completion in four attempts so far. Kellen Clemens is 4 of 7 for 60 yards. Brett Ratliff is 3 of 4 for 21 yards. No interceptions yet.
  • OLB Vernon Gholston was on the right side against LT Jacob Bender, who was absorbing the sixth overall pick quite well. Traction on the slippery turf is a problem.

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