AFC East: Aggressive Patriots worthy of praise

NFL.com analyst Bucky Brooks is handing out grades for each team following the 2010 NFL Draft. Check back daily as he breaks down each team, division by division.

New England Patriots: B+

The Patriots are one of the most aggressive teams at maneuvering up and down the board while still picking up quality players along the way. This year's draft was no different, as the team added several highly rated prospects at every stage of the event. Although Devin McCourty ranks as the team's marquee player due to his draft status, it is the value selections of Rob Gronkowski, Brandon Spikes and Aaron Hernandez that makes the Patriots' haul worthy of praise. Throw in the fact that the team picked up an additional pair of early selections in 2011, it's hard to knock the Patriots for their clever draft strategies.

Key picks:

Round 1 (27th overall): Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers
The former Rutgers standout gives the team a dynamic cover man and special teams player. Although he won't be counted on to step right in as a starter, McCourty should excel as a sub-defender/special teamer in his rookie season. The Patriots are routinely chastised for their willingness to trade away picks, but it's hard to dispute their ability to find gems at the right value.

Round 2 (42nd overall): Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona
The big, athletic tight end has exceptional tools, and is one of the few complete players at the position available in the draft. With the offseason departures of Ben Watson and Chris Baker, the Patriots needed to add a playmaker at tight end, and Gronkowski has the talent to blossom into a Pro Bowler.

Round 2 (62nd overall): Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida
Although his slow 40 time dropped him down some draft boards, his outstanding production throughout his collegiate career is indicative of his superior instincts and awareness. The Patriots needed to add talent to their linebacker corps, and Spikes gives them a young player with immense potential.

Miami Dolphins: B

The Dolphins entered the offseason hoping to turn over their roster to make it more athletic, and the draft has been instrumental in the transition. The team traded down in the first round to pick up the second-rounder lost in the Brandon Marshall trade. With the two selections, the Dolphins nabbed Jared Odrick, a big bodied interior defender, and picked a versatile pass rusher in Koa Misi. In addition, the team grabbed a late-round pass rusher (Chris McCoy) to add to their pass rush rotation. Although the Dolphins surely wanted to address their safety situation early, the selection of Reshad Jones could be the sleeper pick that pushes their draft over the top.

Key picks:

Round 1 (28th overall): Jared Odrick, DT, Penn State
As the "five-technique" in the Dolphins' 3-4, Odrick has the length to occupy blockers on the edge, and his relentless style often leads to disruptive plays at the line of scrimmage. With Mike Nolan slated to tweak the team's defense, Odrick could be a key cog as an interior defender.

Round 2 (40th overall): Koa Misi, DE, Utah
A high-motor edge rusher with sneaky speed and quickness, Misi excels at creating pressure off the edge and has the potential to become a double-digit sack artist in their scheme. The Dolphins needed a replacement for Jason Taylor and Joey Porter, and Misi definitely has the skills to fit the bill.

Round 3 (73rd overall): John Jerry, OT, Mississippi
Jerry has good size and strength, while possessing the ideal skill set to move inside to guard. With his versatility and talent, Jerry could develop into a solid contributor in time.

New York Jets: B-

The Jets have earned kudos for their aggressive offseason moves, and the praise should continue after a solid draft. The Jets grabbed the top-rated corner on several boards with the selection of Kyle Wilson, and he will step right in as their nickel corner. In Vladimir Ducasse, the Jets get a young, physical interior blocker to develop for a big role along the line. With Leon Washington no longer in the mix, Joe McKnight becomes the team's third-down back if LaDainian Tomlinson is unable to provide a spark to the running back rotation. The Jets didn't have many picks to utilize, but their value and potential is immense, which makes this draft class worthy of solid marks.

Key picks:

Round 1 (29th overall): Kyle Wilson, CB, Boise State
The Boise State standout was viewed as the top corner on some boards, and his skills make him an exceptional nickel corner. Additionally, he possesses the requisite grit and toughness that is demanded by the Jets' coaching staff. For a team that is loaded on defense, the landing of Wilson is a case of the rich getting richer.

Round 2 (61st overall): Vlad Ducasse, OT, Massachusetts
The Massachusetts star played offensive tackle as a collegian, but could move inside to guard for the Jets, who recently released veteran Alan Faneca. The team does have some options along a very good offensive line, so Ducasse could also sit on the sideline and learn the craft before playing a bigger role in a few years.

Round 4 (112th overall): Joe McKnight, RB, Southern California
The scat back from Southern California has exceptional open-field ability, and his skills give the Jets another weapon to use in their running back rotation. His services will be in even higher demand now that the team traded Leon Washington to the Seahawks.

Buffalo Bills: C+

The Bills land a dynamite runner in C.J. Spiller, but the early pick cost them a chance to fortify their woeful offensive line with an elite offensive tackle. In fact, the Bills didn't address their offensive tackle need until the fifth-round when they selected Ed Wang. Defensively, the team found a few essential pieces along the defensive front with the additions of Torell Troup and Alex Carrington. Both should see immediate time in the rotation as the Bills move to a 3-4. The Bills took an unconventional route to upgrade their roster, and time will tell if the team plotted the right course for 2010.

Key picks:

Round 1 (9th overall): C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson
Spiller gives coach Chan Gailey a multi-purpose weapon to feature in his spread offense to alleviate some of the pressure on the Bills' suspect quarterbacks. While addressing the offensive line remains a priority, it's hard to argue against the addition of a talented playmaker with the ability to score from anywhere on the field.

Round 2 (41st overall): Torell Troup, DT, Central Florida
The mammoth interior defender possesses outstanding strength and power, and is the stout force that the Bills need in the middle of their defense. Although some would say that Terrence Cody would've been a good fit, Troup has similar skills and should be a solid player in his first season.

Round 5 (140th overall): Ed Wang, OT, Virginia Tech
Though he remains a bit of a project, Wang gives the Bills an athletic blocker capable of developing into a solid left tackle in a few years.

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content

Gamepass_vert_web_r

See all the Action

Replay every game all season.