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AFC East Draft Winds: Rumors connecting players, NFL teams

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College Football 24/7 takes a look at the buzz surrounding the AFC East teams leading up to the 2014 NFL Draft.

Buffalo Bills

First-round spot: 9
» Bills' 2014 draft picks | Draft history

The Bills are riding the NFL's longest-running playoff drought -- having gone 14 seasons without a postseason appearance -- and own another top-10 draft pick. A top-flight tight end for last year's top pick EJ Manuel to throw to would be an option, as could adding more pieces to a promising defense.

Marcus Martin, C, USC
April 22: One of draft's top 2 centers meets with Bills
Martin (6-foot-3, 320 pounds) and Colorado State's Weston Richburg are the two best centers in the draft. Martin started at guard in his first two seasons with the Trojans, then moved to center as a junior in 2013. Center wouldn't appear to be a high priority for Buffalo, which already has former first-rounder Eric Wood, 28. But Martin could start at guard until Wood is ready to be replaced; then again, Buffalo could think Martin is best-suited for guard. Buffalo picks ninth in the second round (41st overall), then picks ninth again in the third round (73rd overall). But Martin likely would be gone by the 73rd pick.

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
April 22: Evans meets with Bills
Evans met with the Bills, but whether or not the receiver will be available at No. 9 likely would be a concern for the team. The Bills need to add some receiving weapons for second-year quarterback EJ Manuel.

Kyle Fuller, CB, Virigia Tech
April 21: One of draft's top corners visiting Bills
Fuller (6-foot-0, 190 pounds) is one of the five best corners in this draft (along with Darqueze Dennard, Justin Gilbert, Bradley Roby and Jason Verrett), and he is both physical and fast. Could the Bills be interested at No. 9? That seems a bit early for Fuller; plus, corner doesn't seem like a first-round need for Buffalo. It seems likely that five corners are going in the first round, and the first one coming off the board could spark a run of sorts at the position. A selection in the late teens or early- to mid-20s is in line with where Fuller is expected to go.

Preston Brown, LB, Louisville
April 9: Run-stuffing LB meets with Bills
Buffalo entertained two draft prospects Wednesday: Texas A&M OT Jake Matthews and Brown. Matthews is considered a top-10 lock; Brown (6-foot-1, 251 pounds) is seen as a third-day pick. Brown is solid against the run but struggles in coverage. Buffalo signed Brandon Spikes in free agency to be its starting middle linebacker, but Brown could be a special-teams guy and the backup in the middle.

Jake Matthews, OT, Texas A&M
April 8: Report: Matthews meeting with Bills
The Buffalo News said Matthews would be in town for the meeting with Bills representatives. The Bills pick ninth in the first round, and it seems doubtful Matthews will be available. Cordy Glenn starts at left tackle for Buffalo, while Erik Pears started on the right side in 2013.

Cody Latimer, WR, Indiana
April 7: Latimer has busy month with team meetings
There is a deep pool of wide receivers in this year's draft, and Latimer appears to be one of the fastest-rising prospects at the position. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt said Latimer already has met with Buffalo, is visited with Philadelphia and has meetings set up with Carolina, Detroit, Oakland, Seattle and San Diego.

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
April 4: Ebron visits with Bills
Ebron has an April dance card filled with private workouts and visits with various NFL clubs. But while teams are more serious about drafting some of their prospect guests more than others, Ebron's trip to Buffalo figured to be all business. Ebron visited the Bills along with LSU running back Jeremy Hill and Oregon State defensive end Scott Crichton.

April 3: Breeland, Cockrell visit with Bills
The Bills could be looking for some young depth at corner, having just signed Corey Graham away from Baltimore, and Clemson's Bashaud Breeland and Duke's Ross Cockrell could be interesting additions. Both Breeland (5-foot-11, 197 pounds) and Cockrell (6-0, 191) have good size. Breeland is considered the better prospect of the two, despite running a 4.62 40 at the combine, and he has the potential to develop into a starting corner; Cockrell seems more likely to become a No. 3 or 4 corner. Breeland looks to be a second-day pick, while Cockrell should go on the third day.

April 2: Roby, Seastrunk, Shazier visit with Bills
Ohio State cornerback Bradley Roby and linebacker Ryan Shazier, and Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk visited with the Bills. This came a day after Indiana wide receiver Cody Latimer and Notre Dame tight end Troy Niklas also visited with the team.

Sammy Watkins, WR, Clemson
March 17: Watkins grew up a Bills fan
Watkins was on NFL Network's "Path to the Draft" and admitted that his favorite team growing up was the Bills. Wide receiver is among the Bills' top draft needs, according to NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah, who writes, "If Sammy Watkins would somehow fall to No. 9, it would be difficult for Buffalo to pass."

Andre Williams, RB, Boston College
Feb. 26: Bills were first to interview BC back
Running back isn't the Bills' most pressing need, but adding depth to the position appears to be in the offing in Buffalo. At the NFL Scouting Combine, the first team to interview Williams -- who rushed for a FBS-leading 2,177 yards in 2013 -- was the Bills.


Miami Dolphins

First-round spot: 19
» Dolphins' 2014 draft picks | Draft history

The Dolphins endured some drama along their offensive line in 2013, and figure to be looking to rebuild that area this offseason. The team also figures to be on the lookout for another running back.

Keon Lyn, CB, Syracuse
April 23: Under-the-radar prospect visiting with three teams
Lyn's draft grade is a long way from being complete, given that he wasn't invited to the NFL Scouting Combine, and that a fractured knee cap would have prevented him from doing much there, anyway. He may not be drafted at all. But Lyn isn't totally off the NFL radar as he has visited the Oakland Raiders, Miami Dolphins and Detroit Lions, according to Syracuse.com. He'll hold a personal pro day Monday. And you have to like the photo he tweeted from Raiders headquarters.

Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU
April 21: Beckham meeting with Dolphins
At first glance, Beckham (5-foot-10, 198 pounds) meeting with the Dolphins might seem a little bizarre; after all, Miami has Brian Hartline and Mike Wallace at receiver and would seem to have a far greater need along the offensive line and at cornerback than at wide receiver. But if the Dolphins aren't sold on Wallace, who was signed to a big-money free-agent contract last year, a receiver such as Beckham would make sense. Still, this is a draft that is loaded with wide receivers, so why go for one in the first round when you look to have bigger needs?

Stephen Morris, QB, Miami
April 21: Local QB met with Dolphins
Morris (6-foot-2, 213 pounds) played his high school and college ball in Miami; will he get to remain in his hometown in the NFL? Morris had a disappointing senior season and might not even be drafted. Still, he played in a pro-style attack at UM, has one of the strongest arms in the draft and is an interesting developmental prospect. Miami has Matt Moore and Pat Devlin backing up starting QB Ryan Tannehill, and team officials could figure Morris' upside is worth a late pick or a priority free-agent signing.

Marqise Lee, WR, USC
April 14: Dolphins bringing in top WR
Lee is expected to visit with the Dolphins on Tuesday, according to an ESPN.com report. Wide receiver would not seem to be a first-round priority for Miami -- especially in a draft this deep at the position -- but adding Lee (6-foot-0, 192 pounds) to a receiving crew that includes Mike Wallace and Brian Hartline would certainly give the Dolphins' offense a lift and appeal to QB Ryan Tannehill. Still, an offensive lineman would probably make more sense in the first round.

Tre Mason, RB, Auburn
April 12: Mason, White work out for Dolphins
Miami signed free-agent RB Knowshon Moreno but still worked out Mason (5-foot-8 1/2, 207 pounds) and Wisconsin's James White (5-9, 204); both attended high school in south Florida. Mason handled a heavy workload last season at Auburn and is one of the top backs in the draft even if his receiving ability and blocking skills are a question. While White isn't as fast as Mason, he can catch and block. Mason is a second-day pick, and White seems to be a third-day selection. Unless Miami is convinced that RBs Lamar Miller and Daniel Thomas can't help, using an early-round pick on Mason would seem to be a bizarre choice. White, on the other hand, would be an interesting selection on the third day.

Martavis Bryant, WR, Clemson
April 7: Rangy receiver visits with Dolphins
Miami certainly has bigger position needs than wide receiver, but Bryant has an intriguing size/speed mix (he ran a 4.42 40-yard dash at the combine -- faster than celebrated teammate Sammy Watkins' 4.43). Bryant likely will be available when the Dolphins pick in the second round. But his college production never came close to matching his potential, and "safer" receiver picks could be had in the second round and on the third day of the draft. Miami also is expected to meet this week with Florida State running back Devonta Freeman. Freeman is a solid all-around back who can catch as well as run between the tackles and also turn the corner. The recent acquisition of Knowshon Moreno has made drafting a running back a lower priority for the Dolphins.

Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan
April 7: Lewan is a favorite of tackle-needy Dolphins
The Dolphins need offensive line help and they reportedly "would be happy" if Lewan falls to them at No. 19. The Miami Herald reported that "an associate of Lewan said he is aware of Miami's interest." The Herald reported that the Dolphins also like Michael Schofield, who was Michigan's starting right tackle the past two seasons.

Kerry Wynn, DT, Richmond
April 3: Wynn has visit with Dolphins
Wynn had a visit with the Dolphins, NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt reported. Wynn appears like a late-round draft choice possibility, where the Dolphins could be looking to add some depth to their roster.

Terrance West, RB, Towson
April 1: Dolphins conduct private workout with West
Dolphins running back coach Jeff Nixon conducted a private workout with West, the Miami Herald reported. Despite possessing Lamar Miller and the addition of Knowshon Moreno, the Dolphins appear to be on the lookout for another running back to add via the draft.

Michael Sam, DE, Missouri
Feb. 22: Sam: I'd be excited to join Dolphins
Sam, the NFL's first openly gay draft prospect, was at complete ease answering questions from a massive media contingent during his availability at the NFL Scouting Combine. One of those questions centered on the Dolphins, whose ugly locker room culture was laid bare in Ted Wells' independent report.


New England Patriots

First-round spot: 29
» Patriots' 2014 draft picks | Draft history

The Patriots were decimated at the tight end position in 2013 due to injuries to Rob Gronkowski and legal problems for Aaron Hernandez. The team could be looking to shore up that suddenly sketchy position. Offensive line, defensive line and cornerback also appear to be areas of need for a team that figures to remain in Super Bowl contention in 2014.

Dominique Easley, DT, Florida
April 21: Disruptive DT to meet with Patriots
Easley (6-foot-2, 288 pounds) would be an interesting fit with the Patriots. He would've vied for first-team All-SEC honors in 2013, but his season ended after the third game because of a torn ACL in his right knee; he tore his left ACL in 2011. When healthy, Easley -- who is a high-energy guy -- can be disruptive because of his quickness, strength and leverage. While he spent most of his career at tackle, he also played some end at Florida and could fit as a 3-4 end in the Pats' scheme. Easley's injury history makes him a risk; on the other hand, a healthy Easley would have been a potential first-round pick. New England drafts 29th, and could feel Easley's value at that spot overcomes his injury history.

Deone Bucannon, SS, Washington State
April 16: Hard-hitting SS meets with Patriots
Bucannon (6-foot-1, 211 pounds) seemingly is moving up draft boards and would be a good fit for the Patriots, who could use safety help. But would the Patriots take him with the No. 29 pick? That might be a little early. Bucannon, considered the best strong safety in this draft, is a big hitter who had six forced fumbles and 15 interceptions at Washington State, where he was a four-year starter. Bucannon also has met with Indianapolis, which doesn't have a first-round selection and doesn't pick until 27th in the second round, which almost certainly would be too late to get Bucannon.

Weston Richburg, C, Colorado State
April 10: One of draft's best centers meets with Patriots
Richburg could be the first center off the board (NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt said that Richburg will "be your starting center for the next 10 years"); if he isn't (he could go behind USC's Marcus Martin), he likely will be the second. While taking him in the first round might be a bit of a reach, the Patriots often don't listen to conventional wisdom when they draft. They may think he is worth the No. 29 pick; they also are not shy about making draft-day trades, and Richburg very well could be had early in the second round. Patriots starter center Ryan Wendell turned 28 in March, but he's a journeyman-type talent. Richburg could become a legitimate star at the position.

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
April 10: McCarron meets with Patriots
The Patriots do not have a pressing need for a starting quarterback with Tom Brady still entrenched in that position. But the team appears to be doing its due diligence on the top QB prospects in this draft, in an effort to potentially add Brady's eventual successor or just to gain intelligence on some of the passers they might be playing in the coming years. New England hosted McCarron on Wednesday, and if Bill Belichick wants more info on the prospect, he's in a good position to get it, considering his relationship with Nick Saban.

Logan Thomas, QB, Virginia Tech
April 9: Thomas latest QB to meet with Pats
The Patriots seemingly have met with every draft-eligible quarterback in this class, and it seems as if they are serious about selecting one in May. If it's Thomas, it almost certainly would be on the third day. Thomas (6-foot-6, 248 pounds) has great measurables and is a big-time athlete (4.61 in the 40 at the combine, with a 35.5-inch vertical jump), but he is far from a polished quarterback and definitely is a project. Then again, perhaps the Pats think he can be converted into a tight end.

Zach Mettenberger, QB, LSU
April 8: Mettenberger meets with Patriots
Mettenberger met with the Patriots on Tuesday, according to NFL Media insider Albert Breer, joining the list of quarterback prospects whom the team has visited or scheduled a visit with: Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Keith Wenning are also on the list. NFL Media analyst Charles Davis believes Mettenberger would be an ideal candidate for the Pats to draft and develop behind Tom Brady before eventually taking over as starter.

Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State
April 7: Gillmore brought in for visit
Gillmore is part of the second-tier group of tight ends and seems likely to be a mid-round pick. Gillmore has prototypical size, is a solid blocker and possesses good hands, but he is not an explosive player. As everyone knows, the Pats make good use of their tight ends and Gillmore could develop into a nice No. 2 tight end behind Rob Gronkowski.

Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Louisville
April 2: Bridgewater to visit Patriots
Bridgewater in Patriots gear? Given that the former Louisville star quarterback might be a top-five pick in a draft where New England holds the No. 29 overall pick, it's hard to imagine. But it's even harder to imagine the club burning one of 30 allotted chances to host draft prospects on a player it isn't serious about.

Johnny Manziel, QB, Texas A&M
April 1: Manziel set to meet with Patriots
Manziel will visit with the Patriots, NFL Media insider Ian Rapoport reports. Private workouts and visits with teams are nothing new for top prospects in the 2014 NFL Draft, but it is notable that the Patriots would bring in somebody like Manziel.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
March 26: Patriots held private workout with Benjamin
Bill Belichick and six members of his staff worked out Benjamin at the Florida State campus. NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt reported the news. The Patriots are famously tight-lipped about what prospects they regard highly enough to invite to a private workout, so it's especially intriguing when word like this gets out.

Avery Williamson, LB, Kentucky
March 24: Patriots set to meet with Williamson
The Patriots are among the teams set to meet with Williamson in the coming weeks, a good sign for the rising draft hopes of a prospect once considered on the fringe of NFL interest. Based on NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah's experiences from his scouting days, the Patriots won't be too happy that news of their apparent interest in Williamson is available to opposing clubs, much less in the public arena.

Kevin Norwood, WR, Alabama
March 24: Norwood will visit with Patriots
Norwood wrote in a draft diary for USA TODAY Sports that he has a visit set up with the Patriots. In what is a deep draft for receivers, Norwood figures to be a late-round pick. The Patriots, meanwhile, have a need for a legitimate No. 1 receiver, according to NFL Media analyst Daniel Jeremiah.

Dee Ford, DE, Auburn
March 21: Ford scheduled to meet with Patriots
Ford has visits scheduled with the Patriots, as well as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. If Ford is drafted in the first-round range as expected by draft experts, it's tough to imagine the pass-rushing standout landing with at least one of them in the 2014 NFL Draft.

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
March 5: Patriots meet with Evans
Evans has talked to the Patriots, who have a need at the receiver position. However, Evans also believes that he will be a top-10 draft pick -- recent mock drafts on NFL.com have Evans going anywhere from No. 9 to No. 13. That would require the Patriots -- who own the No. 29 overall pick in the first round -- to make an aggressive move up via a trade.

AJ McCarron, QB, Alabama
Feb. 21: McCarron would love to learn under Brady
If McCarron has to ride a bench to begin his pro career, he can't think of a better place to do it than New England. After all, having played for a Bill Belichick disciple in Nick Saban, and having won three national championships in five years at the school, the winning ways in Foxborough, Mass., would be far more familiar than, for instance, the weather.


New York Jets

First-round spot: 18
» Jets' 2014 draft picks | Draft history

The Jets feature a talented defense, but cornerback might be one area to shore up on that unit. Otherwise, the offensive line needs work as could the receiving corps. Will the team also jump back into the market for a quarterback in the 2014 draft?

Jason Verrett, CB, TCU
April 21: Jets will be visiting with top-5 cornerback
Verrett (5-foot-9½) is the shortest of the top-tier corners available in this draft; there are five CBs in the top tier. The Jets need a cornerback, but will they go in that direction with the No. 18 pick? Wide receiver and tight end (if North Carolina' Eric Ebron is available) are other potential picks. If Verrett goes in the first round, he will be the shortest corner to be a first-rounder in the past six drafts. The Jets are bringing in Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard later this week; he generally is considered to be higher on most draft boards than Verrett.

Walt Powell, WR, Murray State
April 18: FCS WR to visit with Jets
Powell (5-foot-11, 189 pounds) caught 66 passes for 837 yards and 13 TDs in a pass-happy offense in 2013, and he also is a solid return man. He had a slower-than-expected 4.63 clocking in the 40 and didn't show all that much athleticism at the combine, but he had a much better showing at his pro day. Powell could sneak into the later rounds or be a priority free agent. The Jets, who certainly need some help at wide receiver, have four picks in the sixth round and one in the seventh. Powell's brother, Brandon Williams, played wide receiver at Wisconsin and was a third-round pick by San Francisco in the 2006 draft.

Paul Richardson, WR, Colorado
April 18: Deep threat to meet with Jets next week
Richardson (6-foot, 175 pounds) is considered one of the better deep threats in this draft, and the Jets certainly could use a guy who can stretch the field. Richardson's lack of bulk is an issue, though; in addition, he suffered a torn ACL in 2012. This is a deep draft for receivers, and there doesn't appear to be all that much difference between guys who will be drafted in the second round and those who will go in the fourth and fifth rounds. Would the Jets target Richardson in the second round? They pick 17th in the round (49th overall).

Odell Beckham and Brandin Cooks, WRs
April 17: Beckham, Cooks to visit with Jets
Two more wide receivers are set to visit the Jets as LSU's Beckham and Oregon State's Cooks get a chance to sell their draft value to the NFL club that needs a first-round-caliber wide receiver perhaps more than any other. Jets coach Rex Ryan has made little secret of the team's desire to upgrade at the receiver position.

Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU
April 17: Jets bringing in productive receiver
Landry (5-foot-11½, 205 pounds) has been overshadowed on the draft trail by teammate Odell Beckham Jr., who seems to be a first-round lock, but Landry had the better college career. Alas, he isn't nearly as fast as Beckham and that hurts him in the draft process. He was clocked in a slower-than-expected 4.77 seconds in the 40 at the combine but improved that to 4.60 and 4.63 at LSU's pro day. Landry, who had 133 catches in his final two seasons at LSU, is a polished receiver with good hands, and despite his lack of speed, he could become a solid complementary receiver in the NFL. He looks to be a third- or fourth-round pick, and the receiver-needy Jets should be interested.

C.J. Fiedorowicz, TE, Iowa
April 10: Big tight end set to visit TE-needy Jets
Fiedorowicz (6-foot-5½, 265 pounds) is among the second-tier group at tight end, behind the top four at the position. He is a good blocker, and while he was underutilized as a receiver at Iowa (30 catches in 2013, just 91 in his career), he is athletic and has good speed for a guy his size. Fiedorowicz (pronounced feh-DOOR-uh-wits) would be a good fit for the Jets, who need a tight end, especially one with dual-threat ability (catch and block). He looks to be a third-round pick, and the Jets pick 16th in that round.

Kelvin Benjamin, WR, Florida State
April 3: Jets source: 'You can't teach 6-5'
It is no secret the New York Jets remain in need of some help in the pass-catching department. Reports have surfaced about the team having interest in Marqise Lee and Jace Amaro. Now, Manish Mehta of the New York Daily News has reported that, according to a team source, the club is "very intrigued" by the massively-sized Benjamin (6-5, 242 pounds), and that a Benjamin visit to the Jets' facility is pending.

Jace Amaro, TE, Texas Tech
April 1: Amaro to visit with Jets
The Jets are in definite need of receiving help, but who says they have to turn to a wide receiver to get it? The club is reportedly interested in Amaro, whose prolific receiving skills in college generated 106 receptions last year for 1,352 yards.

Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State
April 1: Roby to visit with Jets
Roby has visits scheduled with the Bills, Chargers, Jets, Titans and Steelers, NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt reported on Twitter. Roby is the fourth-rated cornerback on NFL Media draft analyst Mike Mayock's rankings, and a projected first-round selection based on mock drafts posted on NFL.com.

Eric Ebron, TE, North Carolina
March 25: Jets scout witnesses UNC's pro day
A scout from the Jets -- who could use help at the position -- was among the representatives on hand for North Carolina's pro day, where Ebron worked out and solidified his first-round draft status, according to NFL Media senior analyst Gil Brandt.

Mike Evans, WR, Texas A&M
March 20: Report: Jets to host Evans for pre-draft visit
Evans has scheduled the Jets among his pre-draft visits to NFL clubs, providing yet another hint that the Jets are targeting a wide receiver with their first-round draft choice. If the narrative on Evans' rising draft stock is on target, however, Ryan will have to trade up in order to get the 6-foot-5, 231-pounder.

Marqise Lee, WR, USC
March 13: Jets show serious interest in Lee
A report from the New York Daily News says high-level personnel from the organization met with Lee before and after his pro day on Wednesday and are strongly considering taking him in the first-round. The 6-foot, 192-pounder could pair nicely with the newly acquired Eric Decker following the departure of Santonio Holmes from the Jets.


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