Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

2021 Day One Draft Grades: AFC East

In this series, I will be analyzing every team’s performance in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Let’s get into it with the AFC East:

Buffalo Bills: A+

Gregory Rousseau, DE, Miami: I had a feeling that Rousseau wouldn’t get drafted in the first round, but it wasn’t because I didn’t think he was worthy of such a high pick. For some reason, Rousseau’s stock seemed to steadily fall over the past couple of months. For the life of me, I can’t figure out why. While did opt out of the 2020 season after playing only one full season at Miami, he clearly showed that he deserved to be a first-round pick. Standing at 6-7 and 265 pounds, Rousseau had a whopping 15.5 sacks and 19.5 TFLs in 2019. On top of that, he had an impressive pro day, where he ran a 4.68 40. In any case, the Bills got an absolute steal here to add to an already well-built roster.

New York Jets: A-

Zach Wilson, QB, BYU: No surprise here right? This pick was almost as sure as Trevor Lawrence. It makes sense as well. In LaFleur’s offence, Wilson fits nicely. Simply put, they had their guy and they got him. Can’t ask for anything more, really.

Alijah Vera-Tucker, OG, USC: The Jets moved up nine spots to get this guy. I thought it was a bit of a reach, but it makes sense to want a versatile offensive lineman to protect your new QB. What’s more, is that they didn’t exactly sell the house for him. If you like a guy enough to draft him 14th overall, two 3rd rounders is a reasonable price to pay. That being said, I had Vera-Tucker getting picked in this exact spot to the Vikings, despite the fact that I think it was a tad high for him.

Miami Dolphins: C

Jaylen Waddle, WR, Alabama: This pick wasn’t the problem. At the end of the day, they liked Waddle more than they liked Smith. I would tend to go the opposite way, but it’s really a point of personal preference. Both are gonna be huge studs.

Jaelan Phillips, DE, Miami: This is the reason I gave the Dolphins a C. It’s funny isn’t it? Dion Jordan in 2013, Jaelan Phillips in 2021. They’re the same dude and they’re both busts, mark my words. I said in my mock draft that somebody was gonna make this pick, I just thought that Flores wouldn’t be the one to make it.

New England Patriots: A+

Mac Jones, QB, Alabama: I know what you’re thinking: “Cayne, you’re just giving your boys an A+ cause you’re a Pats guy.” Don’t get me wrong, I do have some Patriots bias here, but if you stop to think about it, this was an A+ pick. No matter what you think about Mac Jones, the Patriots got a highly-rated player to fill a need and they didn’t sell their souls to get him. Considering the fact that some people thought that 5 QBs would be gone in the first 10 picks, it is the patience that makes this an A+.