AFC East: Knowshon Moreno
That's a contrarian viewpoint, to be sure. Everyone from Mel Kiper Jr. to my Aunt Kathy thinks the Dolphins will use their 15th pick on Ingram if the 2009 Heisman Trophy winner still is on the board.
Barnwell compiled 40-yard dash times from the NFL scouting combine and plugged them into Football Outsiders' metric known as Speed Score. The formula takes a 40 time and puts it into context with the player's weight to determine a more usable figure.
The average Speed Score for a first-round running back is 112. Ingram's 4.62 time and 215-pound frame worked out to a 94.4 Speed Score, ranking 20th among the running backs at this year's combine. Ingram did run the 40-yard dash in about 4.55 seconds at his pro day this week.
Barnwell noted that some star running backs have posted numbers below 100, but they add versatility when it comes to receiving or blocking. Brian Westbrook scored a 91.7. Ray Rice registered a 99.7.
Since 1999 -- the earliest year of Football Outsiders data on Speed Scores -- no running back drafted in the first round had a lower Speed Score than the 96.9 Denver Broncos running back Knowshon Moreno posted two years ago.
"While Moreno was seen as a supremely versatile back, Ingram is being lauded primarily for his abilities as a runner," Barnwell wrote. "In fact, the only two backs to emerge as viable pro starters since 1999 with a Speed Score below 95.0 are Westbrook and Ahmad Bradshaw. The odds are certainly against Ingram being the third."
Barnwell mentioned a few examples of how Speed Score has identified value.
William Green scored a 98.7 before the Cleveland Browns drafted him 16th in 2002. Trung Canidate came in at 99.3 before the St. Louis Rams took him 31st in 2000. The jury's still out on Buffalo Bills running back C.J. Spiller, but he had a below average 107.5 score before getting drafted ninth.
Examples of good value from last year: Green Bay Packers sixth-round pick James Starks at 106.3 and undrafted Tampa Bay Buccaneers rookie LeGarrette Blount at 105.8.
Dierdorf will be at Mile High Stadium to call Sunday's game against the Denver Broncos and shared his thoughts about the matchup and the Jets' championship hopes.
On the Jets:
"Not that any team has ever hoisted the Lombardi Trophy in October, but the Jets are staking their claim by putting themselves in the conversation on that very short list, as of right now, of who is the best team in the league. If you look at the title contenders right now for the crown of 'Best team in October,' I'd have to say Pittsburgh, Baltimore and the Jets."
On the Broncos' defense going up against the Jets' offense:
"On paper, this isn't a very attractive deal for the Broncos. It's not every day that you see five defensive players ruled out of the game on Monday. They're going to need some duct tape and string to keep things together. This is also a defense that lost probably its best player in training camp in Elvis Dumervil, who led the league with 17 sacks last year.
"A lot of creativity is going to have to be going on the defensive side of the ball against a Jets offense that really doesn't have any weaknesses. They have quality at running back, quality at wide receiver, quality at tight end, maybe the best offensive line in football and a young quarterback who is getting better every week. This might be the most talented offense in the NFL."
On the Jets' secondary versus the Broncos' wide receivers:
"This is a fine matchup because everybody knows that Denver can't run the football. They throw because they have to throw. They are dead last in the NFL in running the football, and everybody struggles to run against the Jets. You have to wonder how much time Denver is going to even attempt to run the football, especially when it looks like their primary running back, Knowshon Moreno, who has missed the last couple of games with an injury, may not play in this game either.
"Denver throws the ball out of necessity, but they do it very well. Josh McDaniels is outstanding at designing a passing attack. They have all this talent at wide receiver with Brandon Lloyd, Eddie Royal, Jabar Gaffney and their No. 1 draft pick, Demaryius Thomas, who is questionable to play this week due to an injury from last weekend. And, Kyle Orton is really blossoming into one heck of an NFL quarterback."
» Draft Watch: Biggest needs (2/17) | Busts/gems (2/24) | Schemes, themes (3/3) | Recent history (3/10) | Needs revisited (3/17) | Under-the-radar needs (3/26) | History in that spot (3/31) | Draft approach (4/7) | Decision-makers (4/14) | Dream scenario/Plan B (4/21)
Each Wednesday leading up to the NFL draft (April 22-24), the ESPN.com 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 ninth spot has been a minefield in recent years. Although it's a premium pick, it hasn't produced a Pro Bowler. The Washington Redskins selected cornerback Carlos Rogers in 2005. He has been a consistent starter, but missed most of 2007 with a knee injury. Detroit Lions outside linebacker Ernie Sims started every game in his first three seasons but made only eight last year because of a shoulder injury and has been a disappointment. The Miami Dolphins used their ninth pick in 2007 on receiver Ted Ginn, a maddening player for Dolfans because he plays small. Cincinnati Bengals outside linebacker Keith Rivers has played in only 20 games in his two seasons, and Green Bay Packers defensive tackle B.J. Raji started one game as a rookie last year.
Miami Dolphins: The 12th selection has been far more rewarding than the ninth over the past five years, producing four players who have been selected to six Pro Bowls. The San Diego Chargers found linebacker Shawne Merriman there in 2005, followed by Baltimore Ravens defensive tackle Haloti Ngata, Bills running back Marshawn Lynch and Denver Broncos left tackle Ryan Clady. Last year's No. 12 has a bright future, too. The Broncos grabbed running back Knowshon Moreno, who rushed for 947 yards and seven touchdowns as a rookie.
New England Patriots: Some intriguing players have fallen to the 22nd pick, which the Patriots own. The Minnesota Vikings were thrilled to see receiver Percy Harvin still on the board last year. The Dallas Cowboys snatched Felix Jones in 2008, and he could be their featured back this year. Although it didn't work out, the Cleveland Browns thought they'd drafted their franchise quarterback when they landed Notre Dame star Brady Quinn at No. 22 in 2007. In the two drafts before that, the San Francisco 49ers chose defensive end Manny Lawson and the Baltimore Ravens landed erratic receiver Mark Clayton.
New York Jets: The 29th overall selection has been good to the Jets before. That's where they picked up All-Pro center Nick Mangold in 2006. Other teams haven't been nearly as fortunate in that slot, but the New York Giants seem to have found a top prospect last year with receiver Hakeem Nicks. The others drafted at No. 29 over the past five years are 49ers defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer, Ravens guard Ben Grubbs and former Colts defensive back Marlin Jackson.
The Buffalo Bills have the AFC East's last meaningful rookie contract to hammer out.
The Miami Dolphins reportedly have reached terms with their final three unsigned draft picks, making sure everybody will be on the field when training camp opens Sunday in Davie, Fla.
Edgar Thompson of the Palm Beach Post, citing a league source, reports White's contract is for four years and $4.5 million, with a little more than half of it guaranteed. Clemons' agent confirmed a four-year deal.
So where does that leave us with unsigned rookies?
Maybin, the 11th overall selection, essentially is it.
The New York Jets locked in all three of their three draft picks quickly.
The lone unsigned New England Patriot is outside linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, who is out for the season with a torn ACL.
McKenzie was injured at rookie minicamp. The collective bargaining agreement specifies teams must negotiate in good faith to work out a contract commensurate with the contract of the player drafted in the same slot -- in McKenzie's case, 97th overall -- the year before.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The checklist of unsigned AFC East rookies got marked up nicely Wednesday.
The New England Patriots signed long snapper Jake Ingram, a sixth-round pick. New England's lone unsigned draftee is outside linebacker Tyrone McKenzie, who suffered a season-ending knee injury at rookie minicamp.
The New York Jets locked up their three draft picks long ago.
The Bills announced they've signed the 28th and 42nd picks, guard Eric Wood and defensive back Jairus Byrd. Sunday night, the Bills signed second-round pick Andy Levitre, who should start at guard with Wood.
That leaves only defensive end Aaron Maybin without a contract.
To maximize Maybin's contract, it's a safe bet his agent, Joel Segal, will wait until Crabtree and Moreno have signed. Both are expected to be contributors for their teams and don't appear on the verge of signing.
Bills fans are familiar with Crabtree's hardball-playing agent, Eugene Parker, who represents Pro Bowl left tackle Jason Peters. Parker's tactics forced the Bills into trading Peters to the Philadelphia Eagles this spring.
The Dolphins have three draft deals to hammer out, but their camp doesn't open until Sunday, the latest of any AFC club.
PITTSFORD, N.Y. -- Greetings from Buffalo Bills training camp at quaint St. John Fisher College, where Terrell Owens is about to make his on-field debut in front of fans, but their top four draft picks might not.
The Bills are in a weird position with their draft choices because they've opened camp first, at least a week before 13 other clubs. The Bills are doing so because they're playing in the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 9. But their opponent in the kickoff classic, the Tennessee Titans, open camp Friday.
Regardless, the Bills' early camp has bound their hands. Agents are reluctant to hammer out contracts for top rookies unless the players selected in their immediate vicinity have been signed, too.
For instance, defensive end Aaron Maybin, the 11th overall selection, might take a while because the 10th pick (receiver Michael Crabtree) and the 12th pick (running back Knowshon Moreno) haven't signed yet. As key offensive players, Crabtree and Moreno are looking for big bucks.
Although it seemed highly unlikely, Bills chief operating officer Russ Brandon said Friday he hoped to have all of them signed before drills begin at 8:30 a.m.
"We want to get these done, but we're going to get them done within the framework of what we feel is right in terms of negotiating with these guys," Brandon said. "We've been pretty solid at that for many years and we will continue to be. Obviously we want them here, but it's going to be a fair deal on both sides."
Wood and Levitre are expected to be Buffalo's starting guards on a boggled line that could use every practice snap it can muster.
"The sooner they are [on the field] the better," Bills quarterback Trent Edwards said Friday. "We're reporting a week earlier, so there is no rush to get them here, but there is a rush in terms of them being rookies and they need to get here.
"They need to get their feet wet and they need to start jelling together, and they need to start working together and playing together as a five-some."
Geoff Hangartner, a free agent brought in to play center, certainly would like to get a feel for the guys who'll be playing on either side of him.
"We need them to be here so we can spend as much time working together," Hangartner said. "But at the same time, they have to do what's best for them. They've got to take care of their situation, and they'll be here as soon as possible."
Unless there's trade activity or a bombshell revelation over the next couple days, no additional work can be done to a mock draft at this stage.
We know all the team needs. Prospect evaluations have been completed.
So this very well could be the final edition of the AFC East mock report.
In this rundown, you'll find the latest from ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay, Sports Illustrated's Don Banks, NFL.com's Pat Kirwan, Dallas Morning News columnist Rick Gosselin, CBSSports.com's Pete Prisco and Clark Judge and NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang and Chad Reuter.
You'll notice a few regulars have been omitted from this edition. Some mocks have not been updated to show the Bills drafting at No. 28.
I'm also listing the cumulative results of SportsNation's interactive NFL Mock Draft Machine. Those projections are as of Thursday morning and may change.
No. 11 Buffalo Bills
- Kiper's pick: Robert Ayers, Tennessee defensive end
- McShay's pick: Brian Orakpo, Texas defensive end
- Kirwan's pick: Michael Oher, Mississippi tackle
- Banks' pick: Robert Ayers, Tennessee defensive end
- Gosselin's pick: Tyson Jackson, Louisiana State defensive end
- Prisco's pick: Aaron Maybin, Penn State defensive end/linebacker
- Judge's pick: Everette Brown, Florida State defensive end
- Rang's pick: Brian Cushing, Southern California linebacker
- Reuter's pick: Brian Orakpo, Texas defensive end
- SportsNation's pick: Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State tight end
No. 17 New York Jets
- Kiper's pick: Darrius Heyward-Bey, Maryland receiver
- McShay's pick: Josh Freeman, Kansas State quarterback
- Kirwan's pick: Josh Freeman, Kansas State quarterback
- Banks' pick: Josh Freeman, Kansas State quarterback
- Gosselin's pick: Percy Harvin, Florida receiver
- Prisco's pick: Josh Freeman, Kansas State quarterback
- Judge's pick: Knowshon Moreno, Georgia running back
- Rang's pick: Josh Freeman, Kansas State quarterback
- Reuter's pick: Jeremy Maclin, Missouri receiver
- SportsNation's pick: Percy Harvin, Florida receiver
No. 23 New England Patriots
- Kiper's pick: Donald Brown, Connecticut running back
- McShay's pick: Clay Matthews, Southern California linebacker
- Kirwan's pick: Clay Matthews, Southern California linebacker
- Banks' pick: Darius Butler, Connecticut cornerback
- Gosselin's pick: Rey Maualuga, Southern California linebacker
- Prisco's pick: Brian Cushing, Southern California linebacker
- Judge's pick: Clay Matthews, Southern California linebacker
- Rang's pick: Darius Butler, Connecticut cornerback
- Reuter's pick: Clay Matthews, Southern California linebacker
- SportsNation's pick: Clay Matthews, Southern California linebacker
No. 25 Miami Dolphins
- Kiper's pick: Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State cornerback
- McShay's pick: Vontae Davis, Illinois cornerback
- Kirwan's pick: Hakeem Nicks, North Carolina receiver
- Banks' pick: Kenny Britt, Rutgers receiver
- Gosselin's pick: Clay Matthews, Southern California linebacker
- Prisco's pick: Larry English, Northern Illinois defensive end
- Judge's pick: Vontae Davis, Illinois cornerback
- Rang's pick: Aaron Maybin, Penn State defensive end/linebacker
- Reuter's pick: Robert Ayers, Tennessee defensive end
- SportsNation's pick: Brian Cushing, Southern California linebacker
No. 28 Buffalo Bills (from Philadelph
- Kiper's pick: Eben Britton, Arizona tackle
- McShay's pick: Eben Britton, Arizona tackle
- Kirwan's pick: Larry English, Northern Illinois defensive end
- Banks' pick: Eben Britton, Arizona tackle
- Gosselin's pick: Eben Britton, Arizona tackle
- Prisco's pick: William Beatty, Connecticut tackle
- Judge's pick: Chris Wells, Ohio State running back
- Rang's pick: Everette Brown, Florida State defensive end
- Reuter's pick: Eben Britton, Arizona tackle
- SportsNation's pick: Eben Britton, Arizona tackle
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
The positions most talked about for the New York Jets are quarterback and receiver. Some wonder if they might take running back Knowshon Moreno or tight end Brandon Pettigrew with the 17th pick.
In ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay's ambitious seven-round mock draft, he has the Jets going quarterback (first round), receiver (second round), running back (third round), tight end (fourth round), tackle (sixth round) and guard (seventh round).
Should offensive line be more of a priority?
The Jets return all five starters, including Pro Bowl center Nick Mangold and perennial Honolulu visitor Alan Faneca, their left guard. But Faneca and right tackle Damien Woody are getting up in years. Before the end of the season, Faneca will turn 33 and Woody will turn 32.
The Jets also might want to take a hard look at left tackle D'Brickashaw Ferguson. He was the fourth overall pick in 2006 and has started all 48 of his NFL games, but ESPN Stats & Information notes the Jets struggled last year when running behind him.
Here are the NFL's fewest yards per rush attempt behind left tackle last year:
- Jets (Ferguson) 2.2 yards
- Houston Texans (Duane Brown) 2.4 yards
- Cincinnati Bengals (Levi Jones, Anthony Collins) 2.8 yards
- Miami Dolphins (Jake Long) 3.1 yards
- Chicago Bears (John St. Clair) 3.1 yards
Only Miami made the playoffs. Brown, Collins and Long were rookies. Collins started the last six games in place of the injured Jones.
Jets coach Rex Ryan has declared he wants the Jets to run an all-weather offense behind their intact line and with their Pro Bowl running backs. Ferguson looks like the weak link.
I provided Rang three needs. He projected the best-available candidates when the Patriots are scheduled to make their initial pick.
The Patriots are looking at cornerbacks and linebackers. I also added running back as a possibility. Keep in mind that when injury-prone starter Laurence Maroney was healthy last summer, they signed free agent LaMont Jordan.
Here is Rang's take:
The Patriots struck gold last year with Jerod Mayo and it would surprise no one if they elected to take advantage of this year's strong crop of outside linebackers. There are numerous players to choose from. USC's Brian Cushing and Clay Matthews Jr. are two that make sense due to their versatility. Cushing is the better player now, but there are some who feel Matthews, a former walk-on, will be a better player than either Cushing or Rey Maualuga in a few years. Former defensive ends Aaron Maybin (Penn State) and Larry English (Northern Illinois) each is athletic enough to play back in space. Bill Belichick's trust of former disciple Al Groh could lead him toward Virginia outside linebacker Clint Sintim. Sintim played outside linebacker in the Cavaliers' 3-4 alignment and, therefore, might be all the more ready to make an immediate impact.
The pickings aren't as great at cornerback as outside linebacker. Many of the top corners lack the size preferred for the position. Illinois' Vontae Davis is a notable exception, but is expected to get a late boost up the board with a strong workout and likely will be off the board. Vanderbilt's D.J. Moore and Wake Forest's Alphonso Smith are each dynamic playmakers, but may be too short for New England's taste.
Considering their willingness to spread the ball around a stable of backs, the Patriots may appear unlikely to take a running back in the first round. However, with underclassmen Chris Wells (Ohio State), Knowshon Moreno (Georgia) and Pittsburgh's LeSean McCoy (Pittsburgh) all capable of making an immediate impact, the Patriots would be wise to consider them. At least one will almost surely be available at No. 23.
Now the 10 picks on the air Thursday, but he has released his entire first round on ESPN.com. You need to be an Insider to see all 32 of his projected selections, but we're allowed to show you the first 16.
- Lions: Matthew Stafford, Georgia quarterback
- Rams: Andre Smith, Alabama tackle
- Chiefs: Mark Sanchez, USC quarterback
- Seahawks: Michael Crabtree, Texas Tech receiver
- Browns: Aaron Curry, Wake Forest linebacker
- Bengals: Jason Smith, Baylor tackle
- Raiders: Jeremy Maclin, Missouri receiver
- Jaguars: Eugene Monroe, Virginia tackle
- Packers: Malcolm Jenkins, Ohio State cornerback
- 49ers: Aaron Maybin, Penn State defensive end
- Bills: Brandon Pettigrew, Oklahoma State tight end
- Broncos: B.J. Raji, Boston College defensive tackle
- Redskins: Brian Orakpo, Texas defensive end
- Saints: Vontae Davis, Illinois cornerback
- Texans: Everette Brown, Florida State defensive end
- 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?