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AFC East 2018 NFL Draft Grades: Jets Win, Bills Roll The Dice

2018 NFL Draft
Sam Darnold has changed the outlook on the AFC East for the next 10 years. The Jets won the 2018 NFL Draft! (Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports)

The 2018 NFL Draft is over and now it’s time to grade the draft. Idiot experts who cover the draft seem to love every draft pick but that’s never the reality. However, the AFC initial takeaways show that they drafted very well. The New England Patriots have been the class of the division my entire life but may have some competition brewing. The Bills, Dolphins, and Jets may be on the rise after fantastic drafts. In regards to the AFC East, how does each team stack up when grading their 2018 NFL Draft Class?

Buffalo Bills: A-

  • Round 1, Pick 7 (No. 7 overall) [via Tampa Bay] Josh Allen, QB, Wyoming
  • Round 1, Pick 16 (No. 16 overall) [via Baltimore] Tremaine Edmunds, LB, Virginia Tech
  • Round 3, Pick 32 (No. 96 overall): Harrison Phillips, DT, Stanford
  • Round 4, Pick 21 (No, 121 overall): Taron Johnson, CB, Weber State
  • Round 5, Pick 17 (No. 154 overall) [via Baltimore]: Siran Neal, CB, Jacksonville State
  • Round 5, Pick 29 (No. 166 overall): Wyatt Teller, G, Virginia Tech
  • Round 6, Pick 13 (No. 187 overall): Ray-Ray McCloud, WR, Clemson
  • Round 7, Pick 37 (No. 255 overall): Austin Proehl, WR, North Carolina

It’s really hard not to love what the Bills did. Josh Allen is very much a coin flip, there’s no doubt about it. However, if he pans out, Buffalo got the perfect quarterback for them. Playing in Buffalo under the tough conditions is no easy task. They get the biggest arm in the draft with the highest ceiling of any quarterback. Even if Allen turns out to be a Jay Cutler who cares or Matt Stafford, the Allen pick will be well worth it. Allen needs development and isn’t totally refined yet but having that bridge, A.J. McCarron is perfect.

The rest of their picks really sealed the A here. Let’s say they do miss on Allen (which is totally possible) They still had a lot of picks to work with after making smart trades dealing away Sammy Watkins, Tyrod Taylor, and moving down in that Pat Mahomes deal. Buffalo nailed these picks and there’s no other way to put it. Tremaine Edmunds is a premier talent and they land him moving up in the first round. You can’t find a lot of 6-foot-5 demon linebackers and Edmunds could very well be that. In a draft that only had a few top end talents, Buffalo was lucky enough to snag one at 16.

The rest of their picks were wisely used as well. Two small school corners, Taron Johnson and Siran Neal are projects but you can’t have enough corners. Wyatt Teller is an awesome pick in the 5th round. He had a solid Senior Bowl and really has been overlooked in the process because of what is a really deep guard class. He may be a starter day one. Even the 6th and 7th round picks were used with a purpose. Buffalo is really in need of weapons. They grab two slot receivers with some potential. Ray-Ray McCloud could be a swiss army knife and even play some running back. Remember Ricky Proehl with the Rams. Yeah, that’s his son, Austin. Both players should make this roster and even create some havoc over the middle. Buffalo did well here and continues the momentum from an excellent draft a year ago.

Miami Dolphins: A

  • Round 1, Pick 11 (No. 11 overall): Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
  • Round 2, Pick 10 (No. 42 overall): Mike Gesicki, TE, Penn State
  • Round 3, Pick 9 (No. 73 overall): Jerome Baker, OLB, Ohio State
  • Round 4, Pick 23 (No. 123 overall): Durham Smythe, TE, Notre Dame
  • Round 4, Pick 31 (No. 131 overall): Kalen Ballage, RB, Arizona State
  • Round 6, Pick 35 (No. 209 overall) *compensatory selection: Cornell Armstrong, CB, Southern Miss
  • Round 7, Pick 9 (No. 227 overall): Quentin Polling, LB, Ohio
  • Round 7, Pick 11 (No. 229 overall): Jason Sanders, K, New Mexico

I can’t believe. The Dolphins nailed a draft! How in the world did this happen? When did Mike Tannebaum grow a brain? Minkah Fitzpatrick was one of the can’t miss guys in this draft. Roquan Smith and Bradley Chubb being the others. The Alabama safety has the potential to be a better version of Tyrann Mathieu. Fitzpatrick is that perfect free safety that will clean the mistakes of others and can really play all over the field. There’s no other way to slice it other than the Dolphins got a steal there.

Miami also nailed the rest of this draft. Mike Gesicki in round 2 could be the best tight end in the class and will immediately be a red zone nightmare. He can’t block at all but that makes their other pick a perfect compliment. Durham Smythe was one of the only blocking tight ends that exists which makes Miami look really smart here.

Talk about Jerome Baker in the third round…Wow. That’s a great pick there who has great range and speed. He also gets to pair with former collegiate teammate Raekwon McMillan. Kalen Ballage may even be the best running back on the roster from day one. Ballage is a really good player and put up the same combine numbers that Saquon Barkley did and no one is talking about it. They may have even found a starting kicker which Miami hasn’t had a reliable one in years. This was a job well done for Miami here.

2018 NFL Draft
The Patriots went Georgia heavy in the draft and it seems to be the right call (AP Photo/Bill Sikes)

New England Patriots: A

  • Round 1, Pick 23 (No. 23 overall) Isaiah Wynn, OL, Georgia
  • Round 1, Pick 31 (No. 31 overall) Sony Michel, RB, Georgia
  • Round 2, Pick 24 (No. 56 overall, via Bucs): Duke Dawson, CB, Florida
  • Round 5, Pick 6 (No. 143 overall) [via San Francisco]: Ja’Whaun Bentley, LB, Purdue
  • Round 6, Pick 4 (No. 178 overall): Christian Sam, LB, Arizona State
  • Round 6, Pick 36 (No. 210 overall *compensatory selection): Braxton Berrios, WR, Miami (FL)
  • Round 7, Pick 1 (No. 219 overall): Danny Etling, QB, LSU
  • Round 7, Pick 25 (No. 243 overall): Keion Crossen, DB, Western Carolina
  • Round 7, Pick 25 (No. 243 overall): Ryan Izzo, TE, Florida State

After years of bad drafts, it finally caught up to the Patriots. That below average roster has been exposed as of late and this dynasty could finally be on the decline with Tom Brady heading into age 41. Of course, Bill Belichick had to come swooping in isn’t ready to let this dynasty die yet. Let’s start off the conversation by figuring out how they acquired the Bears 2019 2nd round pick and the Lions 2019 third round pick. That’s ammo to get the next quarterback in a year or two. They also picked up a starting tackle with Trent Brown who is a really good player in a trade with the 49ers.

With this draft, they picked up the Georgia roommates Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel. Wynn has the potential to be an all-world guard. Wynn is an outstanding player and really upgrades this offensive line. There is a chance they slide him at left tackle to replace Nate Solder but he has shorter arms than you would like to fill that role. They also grab his roommate Sony Michel who will be a better version of Dion Lewis. New England has a thousand backs so I’m not sure how many touches he will get but Michel is a good player. Michel becomes a better Dion Lewis from the jump.

The Pats also took two linebackers that should really start. The Pats linebacking core is beyond slow and really needed youth. Duke Dawson is perfect for that nickel corner spot which is something they also needed. You can essentially book him having a better year than Malcolm Butler who people make a way bigger deal than they should. What about Braxton Berrios! He is the definition of a Patriot waiting to happen. He’s destined to become the next Julian Edelman. A…and there’s no other way to put it.

New York Jets: A+

  • Round 1, Pick 3 (No. 3 overall): Sam Darnold, QB, USC
  • Round 3, Pick 8 (No. 72 overall): Nathan Shepard, DT, Fort Hays State
  • Round 4, Pick 7 (No. 107 overall): Chris Herndon, TE, Miami
  • Round 6, Pick 5 (No. 179 overall): Parry Nickerson, CB, Tulane
  • Round 6, Pick 6 (No. 180 overall): Folorunso Fatukasi, DL, Connecticut
  • Round 6, Pick 30 (No. 204 overall): Trenton Cannon, RB, Virginia State

The New York Jets got the best quarterback in the draft and started out the process picking 6th. Darnold is so perfect for New York for so many reasons. Darnold is a blue-collar personality who can handle the New York market with class. Darnold is always better in the 4th quarter compared to the 1st and being in New York could be a great thing. He also has Josh McCown to mentor him which is a luxury the other quarterbacks don’t have. You know why else I love Sam Darnold besides the fact that he is a monster on the field? The USC product has no twitter account! Darnold is the best quarterback prospect on and off the field and it’s not really that close. The New York Jets have been incompetent my whole life and could be the next up and coming dynasty.

2018 NFL Draft Quarterback Rankings

Does it really matter who else the Jets picked? Nathan Shepard showed flashes at the Senior Bowl but you’re really rolling the dice on a small school player. Chris Herndon? Eh… but again it doesn’t matter. The franchise is finally here and that deserves an A+.

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