Fantasy Football

2019 NFL Draft Perfect Fits: AFC East


To count down the two final weeks prior to the NFL Draft, here is a series featuring some ideal picks for each NFL team, based on needs, draft position and offensive/defensive schemes.

The aim is to slightly deviate from the typical names you’ve heard associated with certain teams throughout draft season.

We’ll try to offer options on days two or three, based on possible day one scenarios.

2019 NFL Draft Perfect Fits: AFC East

Buffalo Bills

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How many mock drafts have you read, sending D.K. Metcalf to the Bills? While there is a high probability of this happening, I thought we could take another angle. What if the Bills decide to fill another gap in their roster in the first round? Considering the inconsequential drop-off at wideout this year, it wouldn’t be that far-fetched.

The Bills could use their ninth pick to protect Josh Allen with Jawaan Taylor or Jonah Williams. Or look to replace Kyle Williams at defensive tackle with the likes of Christian Wilkins or Ed Oliver. An alternative approach at defensive tackle would be waiting until day two to snatch Jeffery Simmons (torn ACL), a first-round talent with great value if available. This is not without risk, as Simmons will most likely miss the 2019 season.

Nevertheless, if the Bills do take one of the first two approaches in round one, they’ll undeniably need a wide receiver in day two. Assuming Metcalf and Harry fall in the first round, Buffalo could turn to Kelvin Harmon out of NC State in the second round.

For an extended period of time, Harmon was regarded as the potential WR1 in the NFL Draft by many analysts and scouts. Since then, D.K. Metcalf has muzzled his hype. Let’s not forget about Harmon’s talent! He’s one of the many prospects that make this receiving class so deep and talented.

If Kelvin Harmon lands in Buffalo, he should become the instant X-receiver. He’ll be facing tight-coverage situations against top corners, which is nothing he hasn’t seen before. Harmon has made incredible contested catches throughout his college career. He may be the cream of the crop in this area. He has strong hands, and Josh Allen would benefit greatly from a big target he can trust like Harmon.

Compared to what the Bills offense had to work with last season, a receiving corp featuring Harmon and Brown on the outsides, with Beasley manning the slot is a definite step up. The Bills look to create mismatches in the passing game building off of a gap-scheme running game. Harmon is used to running this approach under offensive coordinator Eliah Drinkwitz.

Miami Dolphins

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The Dolphins are entering the draft with their work cut out for them. Despite signing Ryan Fitzpatrick to a two-year, $11 million deal, Miami is still facing a pressing need at quarterback. Despite exceptional flashes with the Bucs, we know that Fitzmagic lacks the consistency to be a viable long-term option. However, he does offer a good buffer for the Dolphins to take their time and groom a young quarterback into a starting role.

Hence, Miami could turn to this year’s draft to find their guy. Holding the twelfth pick in the draft, the Dolphins may be kept out of reach from Kyler Murray and Dwayne Haskins. They could be looking at a very intriguing option in Drew Lock.

Drew Lock has his weaknesses and will need polishing to reach his ceiling. His footwork is the cause behind a lot of his accuracy issues and inconsistency from one throw to the next. I’ve noted that he relies on his arm too much to compensate for his lack of anticipation. But with Fitzpatrick on the roster, Lock can take his time to work on his craft.

Traits-wise, Lock has one of the most talented arms in the draft. It’s hard to predict what the Dolphins’ offense will look like considering the complete make-over in the coaching staff. Nevertheless, with Kenyan Drake on the roster, they may look to an inside-zone and play-action heavy scheme. This should give plenty of deep ball opportunities to Kenny Stills and Lock has the arm to fulfill that role. He’s very comfortable throwing on the run, which would allow for bootleg designs. Again, this is all hypothetical but with a young QB under center, they should look to relieve pressure through the running game and play to his strengths.

If Drew Lock does land in Miami, he’ll be working with perhaps the most inexperienced coaching staff in the league. GM Chris Grier appointed Brian Flores at head coach and Chad O’Shea at offensive coordinator (both former Patriots‘ positional coaches). O’Shea has never been at the head of an offense before (College or NFL) and will be assisted by former Lions head coach: Jim Caldwell. The former Lion head coach will also be taking on QB coaching duties.

While Caldwell wasn’t the most successful as a head coach, he’s received plenty of praise and recognition as a quarterback coach throughout his career. He was the QB coach on multiple Super Bowl-winning teams (2001 Buccaneers, 2006 Colts, 2012 Ravens). Peyton Manning openly praised Caldwell for the impact he’s had on his learning process and improvement to his game.

Drew Lock to the Dolphins would be an interesting first-step for this rebuilding franchise. Although, they will need to find some offensive-line talent to keep him clean, as the play in the trenches has been atrocious.

As a matter of fact, backing out of the first-round quarterback race for a top-tier lineman prospect wouldn’t be such a bad idea for the Dolphins. Throwing a rookie behind a frail offensive line is never a good idea. For a recent example, have a look at Josh Rosen last season… Jonah Williams at 12? Why not? We’ll have to wait and see.

New York Jets

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Over the past two seasons, the New York Jets have started to trend in the right direction. They even released new uniforms to symbolize the start of this new era.

Listening to player reactions, it sounds like the whole building is excited.

The Jets drafted who they hope to be their franchise quarterback in Sam Darnold last year, and he showed much promise in his first campaign.  Along with their new franchise quarterback, the Jets have been building a very solid defense over the past three years with additions such as Jamal Adams, Trumaine Johnson, and this off-season: C.J. Mosley and Brian Poole

The next step for the Jets is protecting Sam Darnold and providing him with weapons to fuel the offense. A process well underway, after the signing of Le’Veon Bell.

New York currently holds the third pick in the NFL Draft. This leaves the New York Jets with a realm of options in how to spend their top-three pick. It would be very tempting to grab Jonah Williams third overall. Darnold would have a safety wall on his blindside, and Le’Veon Bell his very own battering ram off the edge. If that is the option they opt for, they may look to trade back with a quarterback-needy team and pick up some draft capital in the process.

Nonetheless, the Jets have a glaring need for a pass rusher off the edge. New York runs a 3-4 defensive scheme, hence they’d be looking for a versatile pass rusher that can step back in coverage if needed. Filling that role with a top-3 talent would take this defense over the top. Josh Allen, a linebacker out of Kentucky, fits the bill perfectly.

The SEC Defensive Player of the Year has plenty of versatility to his game, with experience pass rushing and dropping back into coverage. He can stop the run (88 tackles in 2018), rush the passer just as well as the best in the class (17 sacks in 2018, only failed to pick up a sack in 3 games last season), and accounted for 4 pass deflections.

Kentucky’s defense altered between 3-4 and 4-3 sets throughout the season, often switching to a 3-4 in red zone situations. Josh Allen is the man the Jets are looking for and if he’s still on the board at three, should be a shoo-in. I did say I’d avoid listing day one prospects, but this is tinder-esque matchmaking. I am so ready for Josh Allen sacking Josh Allen next season…

New England Patriots

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Here we go… Who can really predict what Belichick’s bunch will do on draft night? Nobody but him, really, but we’ll give it our best shot.

Just like every year, we ask ourselves if the Patriots will be looking for Tom Brady‘s successor. With the 32nd pick in the first round, the consensus top four should be off the board. So if the Pats do make a move for one, they’d have to trade up. There are some intriguing mid-round options like Brett Rypien, Ryan Finley, Jarrett Stidham or Tyree Jackson that the Patriots could be looking at.

If you’ve read my prior articles, you know I’m a huge Rypien fan and seeing him land in Foxborough would have me more excited than a cricket on caffeine pills. But who knows who New England has their eyes on. I mean they went for Danny Etling last year…

With Rob Gronkowski retiring, I believe they face their biggest need at TE. Gronkowski’s had a lesser impact in the passing game last season (despite the fact that defenses had to account for him). But the gap he leaves in the running game is enormous. Very little tight ends combine receiving and blocking threat as well as Gronk. And the only prospect that may cover those areas in this year’s draft is T.J. Hockenson. But tight ends like Hockenson don’t come around often, and odds are he’ll be gone by pick 32.

The Patriots can, therefore, focus on another position in the first round. They may opt to add a pass rusher opposite to Michael Bennett, recently acquired from Philadelphia. Or find a wide receiver to add to their currently shallow corp. There have been talks of N’Keal Harry or Marquise Brown, both dangerous weapons in an offense like the Patriots. Harry would give TB12 a big target on the outside, and complement well with Julian Edelman. While Marquise Brown would be an instant threat over the top. They may turn to Andy Isabella as Julian Edelman’s heir in day two, although the race for Isabella will be very contested after having seen what Edelman was able to do last Super Bowl.

Nevertheless, if the Pats don’t address the need at Tight End in round one, they can find their gem in day two. A great fit would be Jace Sternberger, out of Texas A&M.

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Sternberger should be available the next time the Patriots are on the clock (pick 56) and offers one of the best receiving/blocking combination in his class. He stood out at the NFL Combine with good hands and incredibly smooth routes, sending me right back to the tape. He’s primarily a receiver but has experience in run-blocking sets. He was used all over the formation with the Aggies and we know Belichick loves versatility. If any coaching staff knows how to get the best out of its players, it’s the Pats’. To my dynasty heads: pass on Hockenson for a good RB/WR, and pick this guy up later. You won’t regret it.

Looking for more NFL Draft content as we edge closer to the big day? Make sure to check out our Mock Draft!

About Selyan Lonqueux

Selyan's a football addict (no rehab planned). Winner of countless fantasy football championships. Prospect tape grinder, rookie draft smasher, and re-builder of dynasties. Oh, and also plays wide receiver.

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