by Rivers McCown
Biggest need: Wide receiver
Let’s go into this with the idea that Josh Allen is a stab at solving the quarterback problem. Hey, stop laughing! We know it’s an absurd premise. But let’s give them the benefit of the doubt on that pick. Buffalo’s highest-regarded receiver, Kelvin Benjamin, spent last year dealing with a torn meniscus and caught 16 balls in six starts last year. The only other returning wideout in the top four in targets for Buffalo last year is Zay Jones, who had the worst catch rate in the NFL and was involved in a bizarre nude vandalism incident. By trading up for Allen and Tremaine Edwards, the Bills ran themselves out of picks they could use to fix wideout. They were only able to throw late-round stabs on Ray-Ray McCloud and Austin Proehl. The good news is that Allen has a track record of overcoming a bad supporting cast at Wyom-- oh wait.
Notable Undrafted Free Agents: Crimson Tide corner Levi Wallace was rated just outside of NFL Draft Scout's top 100, and fought his way into being a starter on a national championship team as a walk-on. Wallace doesn't have impressive timed speed or measured size, but he was extremely effective in a good system, and any defensive back with Nick Saban polish is a little ahead of the game in adjusting to the NFL. DB is pretty stacked for the Bills, but he could make the end of the roster.
A couple of UDFAs could easily enter the reciever battle in Alabama's Robert (not Reuben) Foster and Virginia Tech's Cam Phillips. Foster is a premium athlete who was invalidated in Alabama's run-first attack and was beset by injuries over the course of his college career. Phillips was a high-volume option for Tech, going for 900 yards in his last two college seasons and adding a dangerous element as a returner. Phillips will need to be schemed into catches away from tough coverage but he has a chance to stick.
Biggest need: Offensive line
The Dolphins made some great picks as far as filling needs, but the interior of the line is still underwhelming and this team badly needs a better season from first-round tackle Laremy Tunsil. Daniel Kilgore, who the team is relying on to replace Mike Pouncey, was brutal in 2017 and had never started 16 games in a season before that. Josh Sitton sliding in for Pouncey should be a lateral move overall, assuming the 32-year-old doesn’t lose anything to age. But outside of Sitton, there aren’t any real strengths on this line. Ted Larsen is the best this line can do at the other guard spot, assuming he can beat out (Phinsider trolling hype!) Jesse Davis, who was a UDFA practice-squadder for two years before starting the last 10 games for the Dolphins.
Notable undrafted free agents: The Dolphins spent a seventh-round pick on New Mexico kicker Jason Sanders, however they also brought on UDFA Greg Joseph from Florida Atlantic. With no veteran kickers around, this is the camp battle that will either make the Dolphins seem smart or make them sign someone else during last cuts.
Utah State's Jason Davis got some love as one of Chad Reuter's "7 most underappreciated prospects," as a potential starting nickelback in the NFL. Obviously, he's physically underwhelming at 5-foot-10, 185 pounds, but he did finish in the top 10 in FBS interceptions, and returned three of them for scores. Michigan's Mike McCray is a two-down thumper looking at an underwhelming depth chart in front of him, though he has his own injury concerns as his shoulder took a lot of punishment in college.
New England Patriots
Biggest need: Edge rusher
Always hard to do these with the Patriots because they’ve got a deep roster, but the place they’re relying the most on improvement this year is the edge spot outside of Trey Flowers. Adrian Clayborn’s big 2017 statline came courtesy Jason Garrett and the Chaz Green at Left Tackle Experiment. Deatrich Wise and Derek Rivers also deserve real cracks at the slot, and Rivers was highly touted coming out of college before missing all of the 2017 season. It’s likely that the Patriots will get something out of this spot. But with Flowers being more suited as a second banana rusher and the Pats uncertainty at this slot, pass rush could again be an issue.
Notable undrafted free agents: New England found some intriguing rotation competitors on defense. Maryland corner J.C. Jackson is a physical-first corner who has good press skills but is vulnerable when beaten. If the Pats can engineer better recovery technique into him, they might have a starter.
They also reeled in Georgia defensive tackle John Atkins, a big-body nose who could get some rotational snaps if he makes the roster. Or, at the very least, be the alternative for a Danny Shelton injury. Atkins' agility was questioned by most draftniks, but two-down run stuffers can last quite a bit in the NFL.
New York Jets
Biggest need: Offensive line
At least we get to stop talking about the quarterback! Progress! The only move the Jets found on the offensive line all offseason was Spencer Long for Wesley Johnson, which didn’t really move the needle. Brian Winters struggled last year and has not lived up to his extension. Brandon Shell at right tackle combines the size of Art Shell with the football acumen of Art Alexakis. The only player on the line that played well last year was Kelvin Beachum, and he’s always one snap away from the training table. Worst of all, there’s no youth. The picks that could have been used to give this group an injection of talent were all made by the Colts. It was probably still the right move for the Jets, but this is going to be an ugly unit this season.
Notable undrafted free agents: One of the more interesting players in this draft class was Dimitri Flowers, a 6-foot-2, 248-pound H-Back with receiving ability who also showed some rushing ability. He was a huge difference maker for OU as sort of a positionless player who provided a numerical advantage either as a blocker, receiver, or rusher. Flowers will be best-utilized in a hybrid role rather than as a strict fullback, but it remains to be seen if Jeremy Bates is the coordinator to best utilize that.
They also brought on Middle Tennessee State kicker Canon Rooker -- the Jets currently have three kickers rostered already, so this could be a huge battle. And in a huge battle, you always root for the guy named Canon Rooker because, c'mon.