AFC East: Tyson Jackson
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.
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.
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.
The order is set through the seventh pick. The winner of Sunday's night game will impact the rest of the order. But the Dolphins will be slotted 15th no matter what, according to ESPN Stats & Information.
Playoff teams are slotted based on when they're eliminated from the tournament. We must wait to learn where the New England Patriots and New York Jets will select.
The order so far:
- Carolina Panthers
- Denver Broncos
- Buffalo Bills
- Cincinnati Bengals
- Arizona Cardinals
- Cleveland Browns
- San Francisco 49ers
Who will the Bills select?
I have no clue. Neither does anybody else.
We have four months to find out what their options might be after they comb through their roster, conduct the offseason evaluation process, pick up or lose players via free agency and then scout and interview hundreds of college prospects who will fluctuate with every combine workout, pro day, suspension, personal background disclosure or injury revelation.
And even then, once the Bills were on the clock eight months ago, how many people predicted they would draft running back C.J. Spiller?
That's why it's folly at this juncture to guess who the Bills -- or any other team -- will target in the first round, let alone assign the name of a specific candidate.
But here's what we can do for Bills fans. We can take a look at the recent history of third overall picks.
2010: Gerald McCoy, Buccaneers defensive tackle
2009: Tyson Jackson, Chiefs defensive end
2008: Matt Ryan, Falcons quarterback
2007: Joe Thomas, Browns tackle
2006: Vince Young, Texans quarterback
2005: Braylon Edwards, Browns receiver
2004: Larry Fitzgerald, Cardinals receiver
2003: Andre Johnson, Texans receiver
2002: Joey Harrington, Lions quarterback
2001: Gerard Warren, Browns defensive lineman
2000: Chris Samuels, Redskins tackle
ORCHARD PARK, N.Y. -- The Buffalo Bills have to absolutely love the way the draft is breaking seven picks into it.
Two players projected to go after the Bills pick at No. 11 have been taken, which means two players they might not have had a crack at have slipped back.
The two butterfly effect draftees so far are Louisiana State defensive end Tyson Jackson, who went third overall to Kansas City Chiefs, and North Carolina receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey, who went seventh overall to the Oakland Raiders.
If Bill Belichick gets his way, he's about to detonate every mock draft out there.
The Patriots apparently have identified a specific player they want and have the draft ammo to make it happen with six picks among the first 97. Now the Patriots need to find a willing trade partner.
King reports the Patriots have made the offer to at least two teams, but the Jacksonville Jaguars already have rebuffed them.
King says the object of New England's desire might be a surprise player and speculates he could be on offense, but points out the logical target would be Louisiana State defensive end Tyson Jackson.
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
Team needs: Quarterback, receiver, cornerback
Dream scenario: The Jets went into the offseason with numerous positional needs to address, and they got around to all but two of them through free agency. The leftovers are biggies: quarterback and receiver.
|Jody Gomez/US Presswire|
|The Jets could use help at QB, but will one of the top three prospects, such as former Trojan Mark Sanchez, be available at No. 17?|
Brett Favre retired, leaving a three-way competition among Kellen Clemens, Brett Ratliff and Erik Ainge. They have a combined eight NFL starts. Many observers considered receiver an area the Jets needed to improve even before veteran Laveranues Coles negotiated his way off the team.
The Jets hold only six draft picks, the fewest among AFC East teams. Unless they make a trade, their first crack is at No. 17, and they'll have to wait until No. 52 to go again.
If the Jets want to take a quarterback, most draft evaluators insist they'll need to get one of the top three: Georgia's Matthew Stafford, Southern California's Mark Sanchez or Kansas State's Josh Freeman.
There's a significant drop-off after that trio, and there are no guarantees any will be there at No. 17. The Jets might have to swing a deal to elbow ahead in the draft order. Next up is West Virginia's Pat White, who likely will be drafted as a receiver. Nate Davis of Ball State is considered the fourth-best passer, and he still might be available in the third or fourth round.
If the Jets want to go receiver, Texas Tech's Michael Crabtree and Missouri's Jeremy Maclin will be long gone at No. 17. If the Jets can come away with Maryland's Darrius Heyward-Bey or North Carolina's Hakeem Nicks, they will be filling a significant need.
Plan B: Another possibility is cornerback. Although the Jets have bolstered their secondary with Lito Sheppard and Donald Strickland, the Jets could snag another for the future. Ohio State's Malcolm Jenkins could slip to them, but probably not. Illinois' Vontae Davis might be a reach at No. 17.
If Louisiana State defensive end Tyson Jackson somehow slides, the Jets should be thrilled. Jackson projects as a stellar 3-4 run-stopper.
Scouts Inc. take: "As the offseason has shown, they're a very defensive-minded, decision-making group right now. But their offensive needs are glaring. They need to find a passing game. They need to find at least one receiver, preferably a No. 1-type guy because Jerricho Cotchery is not a No. 1, but if Sanchez is there, you've got to pounce on him. If he starts to fall, maybe you even make a package to move up and grab him." -- Matt Williamson
Who has final say: General manager Mike Tannenbaum and rookie head coach Rex Ryan will work in concert.
Now On the Clock: San Diego Chargers, March 31.