NFL Nation: Abraham Wright

'07 draft class nearly purged from AFC East

October, 15, 2010
10/15/10
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After they dumped quarterback Trent Edwards and traded running back Marshawn Lynch in consecutive weeks, a lone member of the Buffalo Bills' 2007 draft class remained on the roster.

Just three years later, one keeper is a lousy return.

But consider how the rest of AFC East drafted in 2007.

Only six of 30 AFC East draftees from 2007 still are with the team that drafted them: two New York Jets, two Miami Dolphins, one New England Patriot and one Bill. (See chart below.)

[+] EnlargeDavid Harris
Anthony J. Causi/Icon SMIThe Jets traded second-, third- and sixth-round choices to move up and select David Harris.
The Jets were most effective. They drafted just four players. Their first two have been stars, and the last pick helped them acquire a standout receiver. They traded up to select star cornerback Darrelle Revis 14th overall and top inside linebacker David Harris 47th. Seventh-round pick Chansi Stuckey was sent to the Cleveland Browns in the trade that landed receiver Braylon Edwards.

The Patriots were the least efficient on nine picks, but they had only two selections inside the first four rounds. Their lone keeper was Pro Bowl safety Brandon Meriweather in the first round.

The Dolphins made 10 selections in what was the final draft class for general manager Randy Mueller and the only one for rookie head coach Cam Cameron. They famously misfired on ninth overall pick Ted Ginn, who was traded for a fifth-round pick this offseason, and second-round quarterback John Beck. Still around are defensive tackle Paul Soliai and punter Brandon Fields.

The last man standing from Buffalo's seven-man 2007 draft class is second-round linebacker Paul Posluszny.

So that's a 20 percent retention rate for the AFC East on all draftees and a 40 percent rate for those selected in the top three rounds.

With help from ESPN researcher Keith Hawkins and the Elias Sports Bureau, I wanted to find out how those percentages compared leaguewide.

Poorly, it turns out.

Of the 225 players chosen in other divisions that year, 100 have remained with the teams that drafted them. That's 44.4 percent overall, more than twice the AFC East rate.

When narrowing the field to players taken within the first three rounds, 89 prospects were absorbed into other divisions, and 54 have stuck, a success rate of 60.7 percent.

A few notes turned up by the research:

  • The Dolphins are the only team that has gotten rid of their top four picks.
  • Twenty-six teams have parted ways with at least one of their picks from the first three rounds.
  • Of the 19 teams that had at least one pick in each of the first three rounds, only the Pittsburgh Steelers retained all of them (Lawrence Timmons, LaMarr Woodley, Matt Spaeth).
 
  G. Newman Lowrance/Getty Images
  The Dolphins traded Wes Welker to the Patriots for draft picks, one of which Miami used on Samson Satele, who may be out of a starting job.
Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham

Despite a faction of Dolfans who've refused to concede because center Samson Satele just might forge a dominant career, I think we can safely declare a winner in the Wes Welker trade.

The Miami Dolphins got rolled in the parking lot.

As if Welker's 223 receptions and 2,240 yards in two seasons weren't enough to declare the New England Patriots clear victors, the Dolphins are extracting Satele from the middle of their offensive line.

Former Miami general manager Randy Mueller traded Welker to New England for second- and seventh-round draft picks in 2007. The Dolphins selected Satele and linebacker Abraham Wright.

Although the Dolphins waived Wright last spring, Satele had shown promise. He started all 16 games as a rookie, something no Dolphins center -- not even Hall of Famer Dwight Stephenson -- had done. Satele was Miami's first rookie offensive lineman since 2003 to start every game.

But it doesn't look like Satele will be Miami's center anymore, making the Welker trade even more lopsided.

It's becoming common knowledge in the NFL community the Dolphins already have decided Satele won't snap the ball next year because the 6-foot-3, 300-pound Hawaiian isn't physical enough.

An NFL source informed me Bill Parcells, Jeff Ireland and Tony Sparano have made finding a new O-line anchor their priority -- and they don't care if they land one through free agency or the draft. Satele could be rendered a depth player if he doesn't evolve into an effective guard.

The best available free-agent centers are Jeff Saturday, Matt Birk, Jason Brown and Brad Meester. Brown is a four-year pro, while the others have at least nine years of experience.

Draft gurus rank California's Alex Mack and Oregon's Max Unger as the best centers in this year's class.

The Dolphins own the 25th pick, and Mack seems to be in that neighborhood. ESPN's Mel Kiper and Todd McShay predict the Pittsburgh Steelers will take Mack with the 32nd selection. Scouts Inc. ranks him the 32nd-best prospect in the draft.

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