AFC East: Replacements

The Replacements: AFC East

June, 17, 2009
6/17/09
12:00
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
 Peters
 Walker

A look at the key loss and his replacement for each team in the division:

Buffalo Bills

Who's out: Jason Peters, left tackle (Philadelphia Eagles)

Who's in: Langston Walker, left tackle

Outlook: The Bills couldn't cope with the prospect of another prolonged Peters holdout, so they traded away the headache -- even though he's one of the best in the business -- for some draft picks.

The Replacements
Tuesday: AFC North | West
Wednesday: AFC South | East
Thursday: NFC South | East
Friday: NFC North | NFC West

The Bills opted not to draft any tackles or sign any through free agency. Instead, they are slopping Walker from the right side and shifting right guard Brad Butler to right tackle.

Walker will be a drop-off from Peters. Scouts are skeptical the 6-foot-8 Walker will be mobile enough to handle some of the best pass-rushers in the game. The Bills will face several who finished among the top 10 in sacks last year.

Miami Dolphins

  Satele
  Grove

Who's out: Samson Satele, center (Oakland Raiders)

Who's in: Jake Grove, center

Outlook: The Dolphins identified their biggest problem on the offensive line last year was their center. They didn't think Satele, who has been a starter since he stepped foot in the league, was physical enough against top 3-4 nose tackles.

The Dolphins have to deal with the Patriots' Vince Wilfork and the Jets' Kris Jenkins twice a year. Marcus Stroud is no slouch in Buffalo's 4-3 setup.

Miami targeted Grove in free agency because he grades highly in run blocking and plays with a mean streak. Dolphins defenders say they notice a much more aggressive tone in the trenches since Grove arrived. He has been injury prone, but if he stays healthy he'll improve the run game.

New England Patriots

  Vrabel
  Woods

Who's out: Mike Vrabel, outside linebacker (Kansas City Chiefs)

Who's in: Pierre Woods, outside linebacker

Outlook: The most noticeable void on New England's depth chart is the one left by Vrabel's trade to Kansas City. His numbers regressed from his Pro Bowl season in 2007, but he still was a player opponents worried about.

The Patriots still could bring in another veteran before the season begins, but for now it looks like Woods will be the replacement. Woods seems to have Bill Belichick's trust, starting three games last year when Adalius Thomas went down.

Woods, an undrafted fourth-year pro, is decent against the run but hasn't demonstrated pass-rushing skills in a game yet. Barring any developments before training camp, it looks like the job is his to lose.

New York Jets

  Law
  Sheppard

Who's out: Ty Law, right cornerback (free agent)

Who's in: Lito Sheppard, right cornerback

Outlook: The Jets plucked Law off the street in November when they decided rookie Dwight Lowery wasn't good enough to man the position opposite lockdown left cornerback Darrelle Revis. They didn't re-sign Law after the 2008 season and acquired Sheppard from the Eagles.

Sheppard is a playmaker because he attacks the ball. If he comes up with it, look out; he can go the distance. His coverage skills, however, are suspect. He couldn't retain his starting job in Philly, but the belief is that with Revis on the other side, the Jets can roll help to Sheppard's side.

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