2021 NFL Draft
Mac Jones gives the Patriots their quarterback of the future. How did the rest of the AFC East do during the 2021 NFL Draft? (Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)

2021 NFL Draft Grades: AFC East

The AFC East might be one of the most competitive divisions in football after the 2021 NFL Draft. The Bills, Patriots, Dolphins, and Jets have all been infused with young talent in what should make for a fun upcoming season. Which teams nailed the draft? What grades does each team deserve?

Buffalo Bills

Grade: B
  • R1 (30): EDGE Gregory Rousseau, Miami (FL.)
  • R2 (61): EDGE Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest
  • R3 (93): OT Spencer Brown, Northern Iowa
  • R5 (161): OT Tommy Doyle, Miami (OH)
  • R6 (203): WR Marquez Stevenson, Houston
  • R6 (212): S Damar Hamlin, Pittsburgh
  • R6 (213): CB Rachad Wildgoose, Wisconsin
  • R7 (236): OG Jack Anderson, Texas Tech

“You don’t just luck into 15.5 sacks,”

That’s what Brandon Beane said about Gregory Rousseau. You know, he’s probably right. A year ago, Rousseau would have never been available at 30. I’m not 100 percent sold but it’s probably worth the gamble. Buffalo really beefed up this defensive line adding a really good player in Boogie Basham.

Brandon Beane did a couple of other things I liked. Marquez Stevenson is going to be a great return man for a team that had major issues in that area a year ago. Damar Hamlin is SUCH a steal in the 6th round. Really good player.

Smart front offices do smart things.

Miami Dolphins

Grade: C

R1 (6): WR Jaylen Waddle, Alabama
R1 (18): EDGE Jaelan Phillips, Miami (FL.)
R2 (36): S Jevon Holland, Oregon
R2 (42): OT Liam Eichenberg, Notre Dame
R3 (81): TE Hunter Long, Boston College
R7 (231): OT Larnel Coleman, Massachusetts
R7 (244): RB Gerrid Doaks, Cincinnati

If the Laremy Tunsil trade didn’t exist, this would be an F. What an atrocious job by this Dolphins front office. Really, you should separate the two drafts into segments.

The Tunsil haul that includes Jaylen Waddle, Jevon Holland, and an extra first round pick for moving down is excellent. No complaints there, right? Waddle is a total alien. He’s going to change the landscape of that offense. Holland is flat out terrific. His ball skills are other worldly. I’m a huge fan of him.

Then let’s get to the non-Tunsil package. Jaelan Phillips is garbage. He’s one concussion away from being done with football forever. You can’t justify that pick any way you slice it. Liam Eichenberg is fine but he’s not my favorite. The lack of picks in the 4th and 5th round when you had so many is disturbing. I don’t get the Hunter Long thing. What are you doing there?

In totality, I’ll give it a C. The Tunsil trade really saves this puppy. I’m so disappointed in Miami. They went in with a chance to win this division. I can’t see that now.

New York Jets

Grade: B

R1 (2): QB Zach Wilson, BYU
R1 (14): IOL Alijah Vera-Tucker, USC
R2 (34): WR Elijah Moore, Ole Miss
R4 (107): RB Michael Carter, North Carolina
R5 (146): S Jamien Sherwood, Auburn
R5 (154): CB Michael Carter II, Duke
R5 (175): CB Jason Pinnock, Pittsburgh
R6 (186): S Hamsah Nasirildeen, Florida State
R6 (200): CB Brandin Echols, Kentucky
R6 (207): DI Jonathan Marshall, Arkansas

Joe Douglas did better this go around. A year ago, he bombed that shit. There’s no other way to slice it. The Jets draft class provided nothing outside of the left tackle as I predicted.

The Jets had extra picks from the Jamal Adams trade. Douglas decided to reduce the return for Adams when he gave away TWO third round picks for the move up to go get Alijah Vera-Tucker. Egregious decision when you’re in charge of the worst roster in the NFL. If Vera-Tucker turns into anything short of a multi time Pro Bowler, that’s a fail.

Color me a fan of Zach Wilson. I think the dude can play. Some of the throws he makes are sick. He already has way more support than Sam Darnold ever did.

Elijah Moore and Michael Carter are two really good gets for the Jets. Moore is a burner. Carter immediately becomes RB 1 from day 1. Hard to hate those two picks.

Keep an eye on Nasirildeen. He could become a weapon for them.

New England Patriots

Grade: B

R1 (15): QB Mac Jones, Alabama
R2 (38): DI Christian Barmore, Alabama
R3 (96): EDGE Ronnie Perkins, Oklahoma
R4 (120): RB Rhamondre Stevenson, Oklahoma
R5 (177): LB Cameron McGrone, Michigan
R6 (188): CB Joshuah Bledsoe, Missouri
R6 (197): OT William Sherman, Colorado
R7 (242): WR Tre Nixon, UCF

This is Bill Belichick’s best draft in like 10 years. That’s not even talking about the Mac Jones pick. I have no issue with Jones being the next Patriots quarterback. To me, he was the hardest evaluation in the draft. Jones could easily develop into the next guy and get this puppy back on track.

New England traded up for Christian Barmore. I get it. In a weak defensive tackle draft, you get the one sure thing in the Bama product. Makes a ton of sense.

Ronnie Perkins in round 3 I thought was great value. Rhamondre Stevenson will become that next LeGarrette Blount for this offense. The Pats need a reliable power back. Great fit and great draft. New England is officially back in the mix for the AFC East.

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