AFC East: Jahvid Best

Draft Watch: AFC East

April, 7, 2011
4/07/11
12:00
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» NFC Draft Watch: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Each Thursday leading up to the NFL draft (April 28-30), the ESPN.com NFL blog network will take a division-by-division look at key aspects of the draft. Today’s topic: history in that spot.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills' top pick is No. 3 overall. Here are the past seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL teams in parentheses:

2010: DT Gerald McCoy (Buccaneers)

2009: DE Tyson Jackson (Chiefs)

2008: QB Matt Ryan (Falcons)

2007: T Joe Thomas (Browns)

2006: QB Vince Young (Titans)

2005: WR Braylon Edwards (Browns)

2004: WR Larry Fitzgerald (Cardinals)

ANALYSIS: Some sexy picks have been made in this spot. None of the players have been out-and-out busts, although character concerns have overshadowed a couple. Only McCoy and Jackson haven't been selected for at least one Pro Bowl. Fitzgerald is an elite receiver, arguably the best in the business. Edwards can be a dangerous playmaker when not dropping passes, which he didn't do last year. Ryan is an emerging star. Young has been a lightning rod, but he did win rookie of the year and has gone to a pair of Pro Bowls. Thomas is a star blocker with four Pro Bowls on his résumé already.

Miami Dolphins

The Dolphins' top pick is No. 15 overall. Here are the past seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL teams in parentheses:

2010: DE Jason Pierre-Paul (Giants)

2009: LB Brian Cushing (Texans)

2008: G Branden Albert (Chiefs)

2007: LB Lawrence Timmons (Steelers)

2006: CB Tye Hill (Rams)

2005: LB Derrick Johnson (Chiefs)

2004: WR Michael Clayton (Buccaneers)

ANALYSIS: This is a region of the first round where picks can break either way. There have been solid players drafted here, but no superstars. Cushing was a rookie of the year, but his career has been tainted by performance-enhancing drug usage. Clayton made an immediate impact with 80 catches for 1,193 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie but hasn't caught more than 38 passes since. Johnson has been a solid linebacker for Kansas City, while Timmons has been an influential member of Pittsburgh's defense the past two seasons. Hill has been the biggest disappointment. He has been with four teams, starting 25 games.

New England Patriots

The Patriots' first-round picks are Nos. 17 and 28 overall. Here are the past seven players taken in those spots, with their NFL teams in parentheses:

2010: G Mike Iupati (49ers) and DE Jared Odrick (Dolphins)

2009: QB Josh Freeman (Buccaneers) and G Eric Wood (Bills)

2008: T Gosder Cherilus (Lions) and DE Lawrence Jackson (Seahawks)

2007: DE Jarvis Moss (Broncos) and T Joe Staley (49ers)

2006: LB Chad Greenway (Vikings) and TE Marcedes Lewis (Jaguars)

2005: LB David Pollack (Bengals) and DE Luis Castillo (Chargers)

2004: LB D.J. Williams (Broncos) and CB Chris Gamble (Panthers)

ANALYSIS: Results have been mixed with these slots, but the 28th pick actually has found more starters than the 17th in recent years. Freeman showed signs of developing into a future star last year, and Cherilus has started 40 of his 43 games at right tackle. Williams and Greenway have been regular starters. But Moss and Pollack didn't work out. In the 28th slot, Odrick is the only one who hasn't been a regular starter. Injuries detonated his rookie season.

New York Jets

The Jets' top pick is No. 30 overall. Here are the past seven players taken in that spot, with their NFL teams in parentheses:

2010: RB Jahvid Best (Lions)

2009: WR Kenny Britt (Titans)

2008: TE Dustin Keller (Jets)

2007: WR Craig Davis (Chargers)

2006: RB Joseph Addai (Colts)

2005: TE Heath Miller (Steelers)

2004: RB Kevin Jones (Lions)

ANALYSIS: What strikes me is that all seven selections not only are offensive players but also ball handlers. Perhaps teams in the back of the draft feel they can gamble a little bit and try to hit big on a skill position. Whatever the reasoning, it seems to have worked. This has been a successful spot. Jones and Addai rushed for 1,000 yards as rookies. Best appears to be the Lions' running back of the future. Miller and Addai have gone to Pro Bowls. Britt was the Titans' leading receiver last year. Keller is one of the NFL's better tight ends.

AFC East Week 16 decisive moment

December, 28, 2010
12/28/10
1:00
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» NFC Decisive Moments: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

Each Tuesday throughout the season, I've selected the most decisive moment from the just-played batch of AFC East games.

They've always been a crucial play or sequence pertaining to the outcome of that specific game.

In Week 16, one quick interlude should prove bigger than one victory or defeat.

Ninety seconds probably altered an entire franchise's future.

The Miami Dolphins went from leading by 10 points with less than five minutes left to trailing by seven before the two-minute warning. That this collapse happened in Sun Life Stadium versus the woebegone Detroit Lions only added to the misery and further jeopardized jobs.

Lions running back Jahvid Best took a short pass 53 yards for a touchdown to cut the Dolphins' lead to three points with 4:37 to play.

But that wasn't part of the pivotal 90 seconds.

Three plays later, Dolphins quarterback Chad Henne threw his first interception of the game. The Lions turned the giveaway into a field goal and tied the score with 2:44 remaining.

Three plays later, Henne threw his second interception. Davone Bess fell down on his route. The ball sailed directly to Lions linebacker DeAndre Levy, who ran it back 30 yards for a touchdown with 2:11 to play.

The Lions won 34-27. The Dolphins completed their home schedule 1-7, matching the worst home record in club history.

Dolphins general manager Jeff Ireland and head coach Tony Sparano weren't hired by owner Stephen Ross, who values star power. Football operations boss Bill Parcells isn't around to protect his blue-collar protégés anymore either.

Henne has been uninspiring. You have to wonder if the Dolphins will go in a different direction.

Dull and successful can be justified. Dull with one home victory when the owner expects to compete for Super Bowls is another.

Those 90 seconds likely changed a lot of lives in the offseason.

Let's redo the first round of 2010 draft

December, 8, 2010
12/08/10
2:59
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Drafting is a difficult job.

But that shouldn't deter us from second-guessing whether teams succeeded or screwed up eight months ago.

Three-quarters into the season, Dallas Morning News writer Rick Gosselin analyzed the 2010 rookie class by their production and slotted them back into the draft order to see who teams should have taken in April.

The list suggests three AFC East clubs have generated much less than the designated value from their first-round prospects, but no team has gotten more production from its picks than the New England Patriots have.

In the adjusted draft, the Patriots' actual first round pick, cornerback Devin McCourty, shoots up 23 spots to the Washington Redskins at fourth overall. Tight end Aaron Hernandez was a fourth-round pick, but with hindsight he projects to the Atlanta Falcons at 19th overall. Tight end Rob Gronkowski moves from 42nd overall to the Detroit Lions with the 30th pick

No other AFC East team's actual first-round pick -- Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller, Miami Dolphins defensive end Jared Odrick or New York Jets cornerback Kyle Wilson -- appeared in Gosselin's reorganized order.

The adjusted order has cornerback Joe Haden to the Bills at No. 9, receiver Jacoby Ford to the Patriots at No. 27, running back Jahvid Best to the Dolphins at No. 28 and cornerback Alterraun Verner to the Jets at No. 29.

Wrap-up: Bills 14, Lions 12

November, 14, 2010
11/14/10
5:55
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Wrapping up Buffalo's 14-12 victory against the Lions.

What it means: The Bills no longer are winless. They denied the Lions a two-point conversion in the final seconds to lock up their first victory of the season.

Player of the game: Bills running back Fred Jackson ran 25 times for 133 yards and a touchdown and caught six passes for 37 yards and a touchdown.

Defensive playmakers: The Bills have been starved for big defensive plays, and while they weren't exactly prolific Sunday, the ones they made were timely. Defensive end Dwan Edwards had seven tackles, an interception and a forced fumble. Safety Bryan Scott had seven tackles, including a sack.

Bills stopped the run: The Bills went into the game having allowed 1,426 rushing yards, the NFL's most. They stuffed Lions running backs Jahvid Best (11 carries for 27 yards) and Kevin Smith (five carries for 17 yards).

Best behavior: The Lions outgained the Bills 390-290 and had that ball almost give minutes longer than the Bills. But the Lions also committed 11 penalties for 60 yards. The Bills were flagged four times for 30 yards.

What's next: Bills quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and Cincinnati Bengals receiver Terrell Owens get to face their old teams Sunday, when they meet at Paul Brown Stadium.

C.J. Spiller starts fourth on Rookie Watch

September, 9, 2010
9/09/10
4:10
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Each week, Scouts Inc. analyst Matt Williamson will present Rookie Watch, a power ranking of the NFL's best newcomers.

His introductory list is headlined by San Diego Chargers running back Ryan Mathews.

Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller is ranked fourth, with a pair of Detroit Lions --d efensive tackle Ndamukong Suh and running back Jahvid Best -- in between.

Williamson's take on Spiller in Sunday's opener against the Miami Dolphins:
Even in his first regular-season game as a pro, Spiller is going to have to carry the offense. He'll be the player Miami keys on. Not to take anything away from Lee Evans, but someone has to get Evans the ball -- and therein lies the problem. Spiller is already the most dangerous player on this team.

No other AFC East player appears on the first Rookie Watch, but New England Patriots tight ends Rob Gronkowski and Aaron Hernandez are on the cusp.

Report: Second-rounder gets Lynch

April, 13, 2010
4/13/10
9:33
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According to a report by Yahoo! Sports writer Charles Robinson, the Buffalo Bills haven't been actively trying to move running back Marshawn Lynch, but they'll entertain offers and are open to trading Lynch for a package that includes a second-round pick.

Marshawn Lynch
Rick Stewart/Getty ImagesIn three seasons with the Bills, Marshawn Lynch has rushed for 2,601 yards, but he has run into trouble away from the field.
Yeah, good luck with that.

A second-round pick?

Robinson, citing an unnamed sources, reports the Seattle Seahawks have had internal discussions about making a play for Lynch.

Lynch has the potential to be elite. That's why the Bills drafted him 12th overall three years ago. He rushed for over 1,000 yards in his first two seasons and made a Pro Bowl.

But Lynch, much like Santonio Holmes, is one misstep away from a long suspension. Lynch began last season with a three-game suspension for repeated misbehavior. He was involved in a hit-and-run incident in Buffalo and made a plea deal on gun charges in California. He has been accused of other transgressions, too.

A second-round pick for a player with Lynch's rap sheet seems expensive. The Scouts Inc. draft board projects Cal's Jahvid Best and Ole Miss' Dexter McCluster as second-round picks in this year's draft.

Talented running backs aren't that difficult to discover. Lynch eventually lost his starting job to Fred Jackson, a Division III product who wasn't drafted at all.

Here's a list of running backs who have been drafted in the third round: Shonn Greene, Frank Gore, Steve Slaton and Jamaal Charles. In the fourth round: Marion Barber, Brandon Jacobs and Darren Sproles.

If you'll allow me to mix up positions, the New York Jets acquired Holmes for a fifth-round choice. There's a belief the Denver Broncos will accept a high second-round pick for Brandon Marshall.

Buffalo might very well pull the trigger on a Lynch trade, but if the front office can finagle a second-round draft pick out of another team, then it will be a substantial coup.

Your AFC East pre-combine mocktacular

February, 24, 2010
2/24/10
8:41
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Since I'm on my way to Indianapolis to spend five days at the NFL scouting combine, I thought it would be a good time to check what the mocksters are thinking about the AFC East.

This will be the last round of projections before the players get jabbed with sticks, scouts fall in love with sleepers, a blue-chipper or two slips and everybody begins to second guess their research.

In a pre-combine AFC East mock roundup, we get the latest forecasts from ESPN's Mel Kiper Insider and Todd McShay Insider, Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks, FanHouse.com editor Chris Burke, Richard Lines of UniversalDraft.com, Rob Rang and Chad Reuter at CBSSports.com and Buffalo News reporter Allen Wilson.

No. 9 Buffalo Bills

  • Kiper's pick: Russell Okung, Oklahoma State tackle
  • McShay's pick: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma quarterback
  • Banks' pick: Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame quarterback
  • Brooks' pick: Bryan Bulaga, Iowa tackle
  • Burke's pick: Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame quarterback
  • Lines' pick: Dan Williams, Tennessee defensive tackle
  • Rang's pick: Jimmy Clausen, Norte Dame quarterback
  • Reuter's pick: Bryan Bulaga, Iowa tackle
  • Wilson's pick: Bryan Bulaga, Iowa tackle
No. 12 Miami Dolphins

  • Kiper's pick: Rolando McClain, Alabama inside linebacker
  • McShay's pick: Rolando McClain, Alabama inside linebacker
  • Banks' pick: Rolando McClain, Alabama inside linebacker
  • Brooks' pick: Sergio Kindle, Texas outside linebacker
  • Burke's pick: Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State receiver
  • Lines' pick: Derrick Morgan, Georgia tech defensive end
  • Rang's pick: Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State receiver
  • Reuter's pick: Dan Williams, Tennessee defensive tackle
  • Wilson's pick: Rolando McClain, Alabama inside linebacker
No. 22 New England Patriots

  • Kiper's pick: Brandon Graham, Michigan outside linebacker
  • McShay's pick: Brandon Graham, Michigan outside linebacker
  • Banks' pick: Sergio Kindle, Texas outside linebacker
  • Brooks' pick: Brandon Graham, Michigan outside linebacker
  • Burke's pick: Dan Williams, Tennessee defensive tackle
  • Lines' pick: Ricky Sapp, Clemson outside linebacker
  • Rang's pick: Jared Odrick, Penn State defensive tackle
  • Reuter's pick: Brandon Graham, Michigan outside linebacker
  • Wilson's pick: Brandon Graham, Michigan outside linebacker
No. 29 New York Jets

  • Kiper's pick: Dan Williams, Tennessee defensive tackle
  • McShay's pick: Arrelious Benn, Illinois receiver
  • Banks' pick: Damian Williams, USC receiver
  • Brooks' pick: Kyle Wilson, Boise State cornerback
  • Burke's pick: Kyle Wilson, Boise State cornerback
  • Lines' pick: Kyle Wilson, Boise State cornerback
  • Rang's pick: Damian Williams, USC receiver
  • Reuter's pick: Kyle Wilson, Boise State cornerback
  • Wilson's pick: Carlos Dunlap, Florida defensive end

Get your AFC East mocks off

February, 11, 2010
2/11/10
8:22
AM ET
Mock draft season started a few weeks ago. I refused to acknowledge it until the Super Bowl was over, but now that the entire draft order finally has been settled and the next big NFL event is the scouting combine, let's have some fun by periodically checking in on the draftniks.

In the first installment of the AFC East mock roundup, we have the latest projections from ESPN's Todd McShay, Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, Wes Bunting from the National Football Post, Robert Davis from Football's Future, Arizona Republic reporter Bob McManaman, Pro Football Weekly's Nolan Nawrocki, Rob Rang and Chad Reuter at CBSSports.com, FoxSports.com contributor Peter Schrager and Scout.com analyst Chris Steuber.

No. 9 Buffalo Bills

  • McShay's pick: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma quarterback
  • Banks' pick: Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame quarterback
  • Bunting's pick: Anthony Davis, Rutgers tackle
  • Davis' pick: Anthony Davis, Rutgers tackle
  • McManaman's pick: Anthony Davis, Rutgers tackle
  • Nawrocki's pick: Anthony Davis, Rutgers tackle
  • Rang's pick: Jimmy Clausen, Norte Dame quarterback
  • Reuter's pick: Jimmy Clausen, Norte Dame quarterback
  • Schrager's pick: Sam Bradford, Oklahoma quarterback
  • Steuber's pick: Trent Williams, Oklahoma tackle
No. 12 Miami Dolphins

  • McShay's pick: Rolando McClain, Alabama inside linebacker
  • Banks' pick: Rolando McClain, Alabama inside linebacker
  • Bunting's pick: Brandon Graham, Michigan outside linebacker
  • Davis' pick: Sergio Kindle, Texas outside linebacker
  • McManaman's pick: Brian Price, UCLA defensive tackle
  • Nawrocki's pick: Sergio Kindle, Texas outside linebacker
  • Rang's pick: Dan Williams, Tennessee defensive tackle
  • Reuter's pick: Ricky Sapp, Clemson defensive end
  • Schrager's pick: Dan Williams, Tennessee defensive tackle
  • Steuber's pick: Dez Bryant, Oklahoma State receiver
No. 22 New England Patriots

  • McShay's pick: Brandon Graham, Michigan outside linebacker
  • Banks' pick: Sergio Kindle, Texas outside linebacker
  • Bunting's pick: Jahvid Best, California running back
  • Davis' pick: Jared Odrick, Penn State defensive tackle
  • McManaman's pick: Brandon Spikes, Florida linebacker
  • Nawrocki's pick: Golden Tate, Notre Dame receiver
  • Rang's pick: Jared Odrick, Penn State defensive tackle
  • Reuter's pick: Brandon Spikes, Florida linebacker
  • Schrager's pick: Bruce Campbell, Maryland tackle
  • Steuber's pick: Brandon Spikes, Florida linebacker
No. 29 New York Jets

  • McShay's pick: Arrelious Benn, Illinois receiver
  • Banks' pick: Damian Williams, USC receiver
  • Bunting's pick: Arrelious Benn, Illinois receiver
  • Davis' pick: Patrick Robinson, Florida State cornerback
  • McManaman's pick: Jared Odrick, Penn State defensive tackle
  • Nawrocki's pick: Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech receiver
  • Rang's pick: Damian Williams, USC receiver
  • Reuter's pick: Trent Williams, Oklahoma tackle
  • Schrager's pick: Kyle Wilson, Boise State cornerback
  • Steuber's pick: Dan Williams, Tennessee defensive tackle

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