Welcome to GNB Sports’ NFL offseason guidelines. Today we are previewing the AFC East.
Positions of Strength: S, P (to be fair, he is very good)
Positions of Weakness: QB, OL, DL
A journey back towards winning ways is going to be a long and tough one for Buffalo. Their defensive line needs to get stronger and bigger, but they really need a jolt on the offensive side of the ball. A talented QB that can get the time to throw to his receivers is the first step. Expect modest improvement this season in Buffalo.
Potential First Round Draftees: QB Jimmy Clausen (Notre Dame), QB Sam Bradford (Oklahoma), OT Bryan Bulaga (Iowa)
Positions of Strength: QB, RB, Special teams
Positions of Weakness: LB, CB/S
Despite being in the same division as the Patriots and a surging New York, Miami can be a legitimate playoff contender this season. Their Chad Henne-led offense is explosive and exciting, but their defense will need to get both faster and more physical if they are to advance into January. I see them landing somewhere around 9-7 or 10-6.
Potential First Round Draftees: WR Arrelious Benn (Illinois), DE Jason Pierre-Paul (South Florida), ILB Ronaldo McClain (Alabama)
New England Patriots
Positions of Strength: QB, WR, (Really the whole offense)
Positions of Weakness: DL. (Basically the whole defense, except Merriwhether and Mayo)
New England is a team facing a lot of questions, and at this point they have few answers for them. Their offense needs a healthy Wes Welker, which is a far from certain prospect early in the season. Bill Belichik seems to have forgotten that the Pats Super Bowl wins early in the 2000s was thanks to their defense, a defense that is now very mediocre. Such massive restructuring will take up some time, so fans shouldn’t be surprised if the Patriots can only manage a .500 finish this year.
Potential First Round Draftees: TE Jermaine Gresham (Oklahoma), DE Carlos Dunlap (Florida), DT Terrence Cody (Alabama)
New York Jets
Positions of Strength: DL, OL, RB, Revis Island
Positions of Weakness: Second cornerback
As much as I despise the fawning the Jets got last year from the East Coast-biased media, there is no denying that they look very good this year. They should remain strong when it comes to running the ball and playing defense, as Sanchez and his receivers continue to mature and develop the passing game. Teams won’t underestimate the Jets this year (ahem, San Diego), so I don’t see them as Super Bowl champions for now, but an AFC East title is a definite possibility.
Potential First Round Draftees: CB Kyle Wilson (Boise State), CB Devin McCourty (Rutgers), LB Brandon Graham (Michigan)