Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

16 Apr 2007

Draft Needs: AFC East

If you enjoyed the AFC East Four Downs thread, you might also enjoy this AFC East Draft Needs piece. RIYL pictures of Alan Branch whilst vogueing, jakked-up formatting, and Husker Du.

Posted by: Bill Barnwell on 16 Apr 2007

7 comments, Last at 18 Apr 2007, 9:40pm by karl


by bravehoptoad (not verified) :: Tue, 04/17/2007 - 1:57am

Okay, okay, first.

by ABW (not verified) :: Tue, 04/17/2007 - 1:34pm

I really don't think Briggs is an option for the Patriots - one, they really don't need another disgruntled player who wants a big payday, two, he's not really a good fit for them. He would be much better off in a 4-3 system, and I think both the Patriots and Lance Briggs know that.

If they want a linebacker, and I think they do, they will get one in the draft. It's unlikely they will get Willis, I don't see Posluszny as a good fit(undersized), but David Harris or the oft-mentioned Zak DeOssie would probably be good fits for the Patriots. One problem with this linebacker class is it does seem a little undersized and there aren't any players who look like obvious conversion projects from the defensive line.

If the Patriots get Reggie Nelson I will be totally stoked. With the safety prospects looking good, I think it is very likely the Patriots take a safety.

by Oswlek (not verified) :: Tue, 04/17/2007 - 2:22pm

I agree with the needs for the most part (although, I would put RB higher than QB), but I disagree with a few things:

One of the few disappointments when it came to the Patriots in 2006 was their inability to forecast the free agent market's boom, resulting in the failure to hold onto Deion Branch and Samuel at what are now below-market rates.

Samuel was definitely a mistake. Last year, he and NE were a mere 2.5mm in bonus money apart (7.5 vs 10). Branch, however, is a totally different story. It is a common misconception that NE misunderstood the market or waited too long, but is a misconception nonetheless. Consider the following factors:

* Prior to 2005, Branch had never played a complete season. His best year - 2004 - saw him miss either games.

* NE did not have cap room to sign Branch in 2004 or 2005 even if the wanted to.

* Branch was furious at NE's FO for tacking on a 5th year after seeing him work out. He did a great job of hiding his animosity and being professional, but once NE's initial offer did not wipe out the 5th year Branch never negotiated with NE again. This was despite NE's initial offer being more than fair.

Deion himself is the reason Branch no longer plays for NE, not NE's FO.

...decreased performance of linebackers Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel, both of whom clearly lost a step in 2006.

Bruschi is clearly on the outs, but Vrabel still has gas in the tank. I personally felt that when he played OLB, he was just as disruptive as ever. He did look slow as an ILB.

Eugene Wilson also constantly scrapping to stay healthy, using their third-round pick on a safety would be a good fit.

I'm not sure how Geno is "constantly scrapping to stay healthy" when he played all of 2003, most of 2004 and all of 2005. Sure, he missed most of last year, but one data point is not a trend. I would say that a more reasonable concern is his lack of playmaking in the past two seasons. Either way, I will be shocked if NE doesn't draft at least on safety or possibly even two.

Drafting a quarterback to compete with Cassel wouldn't be the worst usage of a Day 2 pick.

I wholeheartedly agree. With as many 6th round picks as they have, I see a QB being one of them.

by the K (not verified) :: Tue, 04/17/2007 - 5:54pm

The Bills tried pursuing Corey Dillon earlier inf ree agency. He cancelled a visit to Buffalo because he doesn't feel they're ready to compete and he wants to win now. So, it's looking like Turner, draft, or a backfield tandem of Thomas and Shaud Williams next year.

by MJK (not verified) :: Tue, 04/17/2007 - 6:04pm

The Patriots just signed Tory James. I wonder if that will impact any of their draft needs...

So, out of curiosity, I wonder WHO Dillon wants to play with. He wants to play for a contender who can win next year. He wants to play for a team where he will be the featured back and get the bulk of the carries (hence his unwillingness to stay in New England). How many "contenders" are looking for a feature RB and are willing to take one who is clearly on the decline of his career? The only team I can think of that fit that bill was Denver, and now they have taken someone else. I think Dillon seriously overestimated his marketability.

by ABW (not verified) :: Tue, 04/17/2007 - 6:13pm

Re: 5

I can't imagine that signing a 34 year old CB really solves NE's secondary issues. I think James is basically competition for Chad Scott or Randall Gay, and a CYA in case Samuel holds out for an extended period. A good young CB is still a need unless/until they get a deal done with Samuel.

by karl (not verified) :: Wed, 04/18/2007 - 9:40pm

disagree with the dolphins' assessment. believe the #1 need is LT - the line play was HORRENDOUS before McIntosh got his starting spot back, and we've since lost our starting (albeit terrible) left guard, jeno james. at dt and de, we're getting back manny wright, matt roth will move into the starting lineup, and we have a young backup in kevin vickerson - and don't forget that we shelved rodrique wright so that his shoulder could heal and saban could play a bunch of veterans, ostensibly so that he could win games and not lose his job (whoops!). wr corp is terrible, but it won't matter if they're good or not with the weak sauce line that saban left us. besides, our best offensive player is ronnie brown and we need to put him in a position to succeed. finally, while our overall defense was solid last year, the pass defense was very weak. so as dolfans see their needs:


pretty rough picture.