AFC East: What the Bills, Dolphins, Patriots and Jets Accomplished in the 2019 NFL Draft

The Jets gave their defense a huge boost by taking Alabama defensive tackle Quinnen Williams third overall

After every NFL draft, sports journalists tend to give draft grades, dive into the analytics of each draft pick, and sometimes make season predictions based on draft selections alone. But at the end of the day, each team goes into the draft with an objective in mind. These objectives range from team improvement to adding depth or perhaps replacing a star player.

 

When all is said and done each team has achieved some type of goal or objective once the seven rounds have concluded. Here is what each AFC East team accomplished with their selections in the 2019 NFL Draft.

 

Buffalo Bills

 

Objective Achieved: Filled positions of glaring need

The Bills defense finished 14th last season in sacks (41). That number should increase after drafting Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver ninth overall. Some would make the argument that Oliver is the top defensive lineman in this year's class. On the other side of the ball, Buffalo also surrendered 41 sacks last year, something they hope to remedy after moving up in the second round to take Oklahoma's Cody Ford with the 38th pick.

 

Entering the draft, running back didn't necessarily seem like a need since Buffalo already had LeSean McCoy, Frank Gore and T.J. Yeldon on the roster. However, a closer look shows these three combined for 1,637 rushing yards and only four touchdowns on the ground last season. McCoy hasn't put together a 1,000-yard season since 2017, for Gore it was '16, and Yeldon has averaged four yards per carry in his career. McCoy and Gore also are in their 30s, which is considered old for a running back.

 

So with this in mind, while there's certainly no guarantee that FAU's Devin Singletary, who the Bills took in the third round (74th overall), will hit the ground running, he does add a different dynamic to the backfield mix.

 

Miami Dolphins

 

Objective Achieved: Youth at running back, depth on defense

Initially, Miami was in need of a quarterback but the trade with Arizona to acquire Josh Rosen changed that. So the Dolphins decided to add to the supporting cast around its new quarterback by drafting a pair of running backs late in Auburn's Chandler Cox (7th round, 233rd overall) and Washington's Myles Gaskin (234th).

 

Miami also never really found a replacement for Ndamukong Suh after cutting him three years into his monster contract… until now. The Dolphins used their first-round pick (13th) overall on Christian Wilkins, who was part of one of the most talented and fearsome defensive lines in college football history.

 

Wilkins can defend both the run and pass as evidenced by his 192 tackles, 40 tackles for a loss, and 16 sacks during his career at Clemson. Miami also added Wisconsin linebacker Andrew Van Ginkel (5th round, 151st overall) to the defense. It’ll be interesting to see how new head coach Brian Flores makes use of his new talent.

 

New England Patriots

 

Objective Achieved: The quarterback of the future?

Tom Brady has said continuously that he hopes to play into his 50s. Since that likely won’t happen, the Patriots grabbed Auburn gunslinger Jarrett Stidham in the fourth round to perhaps be the future Hall of Famer's successor. Stidham's production in a Tigers jersey speaks for itself (64.3 completion percentage, 7,217 passing yards, 48 touchdowns, 13 interceptions, 151.4 passer rating), but the issue will be whether or not Stidham stays in New England for the long term. If you recall, Jimmy Garoppolo started his career as Brady's backup before getting traded to San Francisco midway through the 2017 season (and then signing a huge contract extension the following February).

 

New York Jets

 

Objective Achieved: Filled most of their needs

It’s not often that teams address all of their needs in the draft, especially if it's a long list, but the Jets took care of about 90 percent of what they needed with their six-man class. Obviously, No. 3 overall pick Quinnen Williams is the headliner, but by drafting defensive end Jachal Polite, offensive tackle Chuma Edoga, tight end Trevon Wesco, linebacker Blake Cashman, and cornerback Blessuan Austin, the Jets appeared to have taken care of most everything on their pre-draft to-do list.

 

New York breathed new life into its pass rush, bolstered Sam Darnold's pass protection, added another option at tight end, depth at linebacker, and introduced new blood in the secondary. The Jets could still use another wide receiver but that could come in the form of an undrafted rookie free agent or a position they can address once training camp starts. If I had to grade the Jets' draft class, I’d give it an A-.

 

— Gabe Salgado is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He's also written for NBC, Fox, The Sporting News, The Sports Journal, The Undefeated and Complex. He's a co-host of The Rewind Sports: 60. Follow him on Twitter @GabeSalgado82.

 

(Top photo courtesy of @nyjets)

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