AFC East: Leroy Hill

Your AFC East mailbag delivered

April, 29, 2009
4/29/09
8:45
AM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

John in Tampa Bay, Fla., writes: Tim, do you think that Chad Henne is on his way out of the Dolphins? He was drafted pre-wildcat whereas Pat White would fit in better with the new scheme. Another important thing is that number of starts is one of the few general indicators of a QB's potential in the NFL and Pat White started a ton of games. With the number of starts in mind, I think that the Jets' Sanchez is going to end up a bust.

Tim Graham: Henne is Miami's quarterback of the future. The Dolphins drafted White to be their third-string quarterback for now. They can groom him while also getting him onto the field in Wildcat formations. I envision Henne will be Miami's starter in 2010 with White backing him up.

As for Mark Sanchez projecting as a failure because he started only 16 games, I disagree. His learning curve is different, but he can be a star. It's not like he was a backup at DeVry Institute.


LeRoy from Parts Unknown writes: So how does this work do you just open up the mailbag and then never comment on what the bloggers call you out on??

Tim Graham: No comment.


Zack in Sunderland, Mass., writes: I believe that the Vikings did steal Percy Harvin from the Patriots. The Pats could really use a true number two receiver (I love Galloway but he is not a long term solution) to open things up from the Slot Machine that is Wes Welker and allow Moss to never have to go though the middle of the field so that he never has to be hit. He could also do a little bit of running out of the back field so it would have helped in a lot of ways. Oh and I am so sure that Harvin is much more excited about catching passes from Tavaris Jackson and Sage Rosenfelds compared to Mr. (Soon to be) Two Time MVP Tom Brady. Thanks for listening (reading) I enjoy your work and frequent updates!

Tim Graham: Thanks for stopping by, Zack. I'm not so sure Brad Childress swiped Harvin from the Patriots, but it was interesting to hear Childress crow about it. And I agree with your statement that, if Childress is correct, he coach-blocked Harvin from joining one of the most prolific pass offenses in NFL history. I wonder how thrilled Harvin was about that.


Mark in Tucscon, Ariz., writes: Im suprised and excited of the incoming cb's to the dolphins, but are they really considering Pat White and Turner the Wide Recievers of the future? How are they going to address this need, through free agency?

Tim Graham: The Dolphins still need help at receiver, but at this point they'll need to swing a trade or wait for a player to get cut if they want to add a veteran. They insist White will be a quarterback for them who occasionally lines up at receiver. Patrick Turner wasn't considered much of a prospect by most draft experts, but the Dolphins used a third-round pick on him. Turner is 6-foot-5. He at least has the size the Dolphins have been missing.


Richard in Edinburg, Texas, writes: Maybe Turner reminded Parcells of another big, possession USC receiver, Keyshawn Johnson.

Tim Graham: Perhaps, but the resemblance must be vague. Keyshawn Johnson was a No. 1 overall draft pick.


Jim in New York writes: Tim, Everywhere I look I read about what a great draft the Bills had - except from you. 3 of the DBs are designed to fill needs on the team (one will be a FS, another an OLB and the last guy - if he makes it will cover kicks). In addition a bunch of our guys are in their last year. Not sure which OT we should have taken but none of the guys out of the top 3 are sure things the way Wood and Levitre are.

Tim Graham: The reason you don't see me raving about the Bills' draft is because I haven't raved about anybody's draft. I haven't slammed any either. If you're going to force me to grade a draft class before it has taken an NFL snap, I'll have to give them incompletes across the board. To grade a draft within hours of its completion is folly.


Christian from Parts Unknown writes: You clearly need to do more research before writing these articles. Nic Harris is going to be switched to an OLB position, he isn't fast enough to be in the secondary. Jairus Byrd will probably be our starting FS. Cary Harris is going to add great depth to a sketchy CB situation, McKelvin will start alongside McGee but Mcgee is aging and will eventually need a replacement. Harris was said to be a great sleeper pick anyway. Lankster is going to be an ST and possibly a punt returner because of his good speed. Walker will be moved to LT and Chambers (who saw action at RT last year) will be there. LT could also be addressed in FA. Seriously. Get facts, then report. Thank you.

Tim Graham: The point of the blog entry you're referring to, in which I noted the positions of the players the Bills drafted, was that none of them were tackles. Regardless of where the Bills intend to use the defensive backs they drafted, how they hope to convert them to other defensive positions or whether they'll be on special teams, zero will be lining up at left tackle.


Dylan from Parts Unknown writes: I am a big dolphins fan. Now that the draft is over. Do you think that Miami has a shot to win the division again. I think they filled their biggest two holes (WR and CB). So why not the Dolphins being AFC East champs two years straight. Your thoughts please. Thank you.

Tim Graham: Sure, it's possible the Dolphins will repeat as division champs. I doubt they will, though. The Patriots won just as many games last year and have Brady coming back. They also have upgraded their roster with running back Fred Taylor, tight end Chris Baker and a couple of veteran cornerbacks.


Joe in Philadelphia writes: Dear Tim, love checking the blog several times a week. I don't understand all the praise from many of the ESPN analysts regarding the Bills' draft. They passed on a 4 year proven pass rusher (Orakbo), still lack a true LT and a good OLB. While they continue to pad their secondary, they ignore other spots. Any chance they get Levi Jones or Leroy Hill to address the aforementioned openings? On a side note, who do you like winning the Cup?

Tim Graham: Thanks for coming back, Joe. I'm sure Jones
is on Buffalo's radar. He's a solid left tackle who can help steady the offensive line. I'm not sure what will happen with Hill now that the Seattle Seahawks have rescinded his franchise tender. He'll be a popular man in the coming days.

My pick to win the Stanley Cup is Detroit. I liked the Red Wings before the playoffs began, and after seeing some shaky play in the first round, I like their chances even more.


Landry in Casey, Ill., writes: Hey Tim, read your columns all the time. I listened to you on ESPN and your deep voice doesnt match your 12 year old face. Whats up with that??? Anyways, do you think Miami did the right thing in drafting Pat White? I love the pick but a lot of people dont think its that great. No doubt in my mind that Vontae Davis and BIG Sean Smith are great picks. But dont you think it might be good to put Henne in to pound the ball in certain situations and have Pat White in, in "Lets spread them out and put points on as soon as possible" situations? I love Miami's draft and after they didnt get their pash-rusher they're going to get Jason Taylor. Thanks.

Tim Graham: Boy, do I need to get a new picture. I get razzed all the time for looking like Opie Cunningham or, according to my old boss at the Palm Beach Post, Eddie Haskell. The photo is from my days at the Buffalo News, but it's maybe only 6 years old.

Anyway, I do like Miami's decision to draft White. He's a fun player. When he comes off the sideline, the crowd will buzz in anticipation. Defensive coordinators will be anxious. The Dolphins reached on some of their draft picks, but they landed some potentially great players, especially Davis.


Richard in Edinburg, Texas, writes: About the Bills. Perhaps they drafted a lot of DBs to keep up with the AFC east, especially with the Patriots. By drafting DB's, the Bills are able to use different Nickel, Dime, and Quarter packages to cover all of New England's weapons. Plus, they drafted Maybin to put some pressure on Brady.

Tim Graham: The Bills also play the Jets and Dolphins two times a year. That means their offensive line needs to account for a Bill Belichick defense, a Rex Ryan defense and a Bill Parcells defense two times each. I'm not saying the Bills' draft was bad. We won't know that for years. I just found it curious they didn't draft a tackle.


Pat in State College, Pa., writes: your analysis of the bills was completely wrong

Tim Graham: So I hear.


Joe in Wichita, Kan., writes: This is the worst draft I've ever seen from the Bills. Do they realize they've traded Jason Peters? Because they're drafting like they have an LT. And I hope Maybin doesn't get thrown around by tackles. I don't understand, with E. Brown available at #42 they pick a corner. Do they remember Leodis McKelvin? Their #11 pick from 2008? I need a drink.

Tim Graham: If you're still feeling disconsolate, I can get you together with Pat in State College. Maybe he can talk you back onto the wagon by explaining how wrong you are.


Matt in San Antonio writes: Does the CB the Bills just wasted their 2nd round pick on play LT as well? Because it seems like we need one of those alot more than a CB. Why do the Bills do this to their fans every year with such garbage drafts?

Tim Graham: Based on my mailbag feedback, the Bills either had a fabulous draft or a disastrous draft. Do you see now why I don't grade them?


Allie from Parts Unknown writes: Hi Tim! I was just wondering with one of the hardest NFL schedules, what do you expect of the Patriots this season? Thanks!

Tim Graham: In a recent chat, I predicted the Patriots would win the division with an 11-5 or 12-4 record. I don't see two AFC East teams reaching the postseason because the AFC North and AFC South are so strong and won't be facing the rugged schedule the AFC East will.


Zak in Orlando writes: Were the Dolphins interested in Brown from FSU or would they have taken White anyway? Also do you believe White was a reach at the 44th selection especially when the Dolphin's quarterback of the future is supposed to be Henne? Thanks for your time.

Tim Graham: I believe the Dolphins had their eye on Pat White the whole way. As for whether or not he was a reach with the No. 44 pick, I don't believe so. He was projected to be a second-round pick by several draft evaluators.


Steve in New Jersey writes: Tim, Did Miami resign Patrick Cobbs? I am hearing that he was signed to an extension but everywhere I look he is listed as a RFA. Thanks.

Tim Graham: You are correct. The Dolphins signed Cobbs to a three-year contract extension in October. His name still occasionally appears on some free-agency lists because his contract would have been up had he not extended his deal.


James in Hamilton, Ont., writes: While you were too busy swooning over Belichick and Parcells, not to mention over the top coverage of the Jets (would any other market be worthy of the same coverage for a relatively decent QB) and their Sanchez pick, your analysis of the Bills draft fell way short. Your focus was all wrong. The Bills selected three (3) DBs, two of whom were in the last two rounds. Did you even bother to notice the Bills have a huge number of current DBs heading into free agency in the next two years? Or perhaps the team figures they can shore up the entire secondary, which is in dire need of improvement. Whitner is not a game breaker I might add. What about Shawn Nelson, who was a great value pick for a position they desperately needed to fill? I also don't think Wood's potential removal from his usual centre position is as apocalyptic as you describe. Very disappointing analysis, sir, of what many insiders call a pretty good draft by Buffalo, including your colleague, the established Mel Kiper. By the way, I think the coverage of Sanchez is ridiculous. Not surprising since it's the Jets and ESPN loves its New York bias. I think we'll find he is the product of Pete Carroll's successful system and nothing more. See Carson Palmer, Matt Leinart. He's also going from one coast to the other, one climate to another. That's my admittedly simple take on Sanchez but I think he is much less than what he's touted to be.

Tim Graham: Let's see ... So I was swooning over the Patriots and Dolphins' drafts, ESPN went overboard on the Jets' draft and I reported from the Bills' facility on Saturday and Sunday, blogging more about them than any other team. Then I would say we had it covered pretty well. Thanks!

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