With a missing first round pick, a surprise slide and a controversial quarterback; let’s take a look at the AFC East’s 2016 NFL draft.
1 (13) Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss
2 (38) Xavien Howard, CB, Baylor
3 (73) Kenyan Drake, RB, Alabama
3 (86) Leonte Carroo, WR, Rutgers
6 (186) Jakeem Grant, WR, Texas Tech
6 (204) Jordan Lucas, S, Penn State
7 (223) Brandon Doughty, QB, Western Kentucky
7 (231) Thomas Duarte, TE, UCLA
The Dolphins went where others dared not, stopping the sensational slide of tackle Laremy Tunsil with the 13th overall pick. Before the draft Tunsil was projected a top pick, possibly the first overall until the Rams and Eagles traded up for quarterbacks However, the controversial video of him using drugs, released literally minutes prior to the first round opening, spooked several teams and allowed the Dolphins to snap up a player they likely never imagined they could. Questions over his off field antics ensure that Tunsil will face huge scrutiny, but Miami clearly believe the reward will be worth the risk.
Xavien Howard’s draft profiles refer to plenty of ‘potential’ but also plenty of errors which have led some to suggest he may not be worth the second round pick Miami used to get him. Pro football focus ranked him 16th of all cornerbacks in the draft in terms of coverage.
The two offensive additions in the third round are more positively viewed. Running back Drake has good straight line speed and will complement Jay Ajayi in the Dolphins backfield which lost Lamar Miller in free agency. Receiver Carroo was highly coveted by the team to “add toughness” according to general manager Chris Grier. To snag him, Miami traded the team’s sixth round pick (186) this year, and the franchise’s third- and fourth-round pick in 2017 to the Minnesota Vikings. This could come back to bite them in 2017 although they should receive a number of compensatory picks to bulk up their mid-round options. With no picks in the fourth or fifth rounds, the Dolphins took some interesting late rounders, including mismatch TE Thomas Duarte who could provide a further dimension to the offense.
1 (19) Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson
2 (41) Reggie Ragland, ILB, Alabama
3 (80) Adolphus Washington, DT, Ohio State
4 (139) Cardale Jones, QB, Ohio State
5 (156) Jonathan Williams, RB, Arkansas
6 (192) Kolby Listenbee, WR, TCU
6 (218) Kevon Seymour, CB, USC
Despite focusing on defensive players (well it is a Rex Ryan team, what did you expect?), the Bills have been widely praised for their draft haul this year. First rounder Shaq Lawson is expected to step into the void left by Mario Williams’ departure although he isn’t quite as physically dominant as Williams. In a draft with limited pass rush options, the Bills struck gold with Lawson. Reggie Ragland is the definition of the kind of monster linebacker Rex Ryan loves. Projected as a possible first rounder, the Bills made a steal trading up in the second round to snatch him. He’ll be a key member of Buffalo’s defense for seasons to come. Washington seems a similar prospect who was hugely productive for Ohio State. In a make or break year, Rex Ryan has stacked his defense with system fitting guys.
Ohio State’s National Championship winning QB Cardale Jones is a high ceiling pick in the fourth round. He has huge arm strength but questionable accuracy. The Bills currently have Tyrod Taylor as starting quarterback, so Jones will have time to develop and for the team to assess whether he could be the future. Running back Williams’ talent would have made him a higher round prospect had he not sat out all of 2015 with injury. Listenbee and Seymour are both described as better than their sixth round value suggests. Initial evaluations suggest that the Bills have drafted well although the proof of the pudding of course will be in the eating.
New York Jets
2 (51) Christian Hackenberg, QB, Penn State
3 (83) Jordan Jenkins, OLB, Georgia
4 (118) Juston Burris, CB, NC State
5 (158) Brandon Shell, OT, South Carolina
7 (235) Lachlan Edwards, P, Sam Houston State
7 (241) Charone Peake, WR, Clemson
3 (78) Joe Thuney, G, NC State
3 (91) Jacoby Brissett, QB, NC State
3 (96) Vincent Valentine, DT, Nebraska
4 (112) (from New Orleans) Malcolm Mitchell, WR, Georgia
6 (208) Kamu Grugier-Hill, CB, Eastern Illinois
6 (214) Elandon Roberts, ILB, Houston
6 (221) Ted Karras, G, Illinois
7 (225) (from Dallas via Seattle) Devin Lucien, WR, Arizona State