In the first round the Bills began strengthening their defensive back corps by selecting CB Stephon Gilmore out of University of South Carolina and selecting CB Ron Brooks, a speedster, with the 124th overall pick. The Bills secondary in 2011 allowed close to 8 yards per reception and their entire defense was one of the major reasons they had a 7 game losing streak. Buffalo got lucky when G Cordy Glenn fell to the second round. Glenn was ranked, by most draftniks, as one of the top 20 prospects coming into this year’s draft. Glenn, along with 5th round pick T Zebrie Sanders and 6th round pick G Mark Asper will fight to strengthen and add depth to the offensive line protecting QB Ryan Fitzpatrick.
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The Dolphins used the 8th overall pick on QB Ryan Tannehill, whom they are hoping will turn out to be their franchise quarterback. Tannehill, who was switched from QB to WR back to QB during his college career, should step in as the starter right away. For the most part the Dolphins drafted players who will not have much of an impact during the 2012 season such as T Jonathan Martin and DE Olivier Vernon. However, the Dolphins added depth behind RB Reggie Bush with their 4th round pick of Lamar Miller out of University of Miami.
The Patriots spent six of their seven picks on defensive players including University of Alabama product LB Dont’a Hightower, who is someone that could step into a starting role immediately. The Patriots selected CB Alfonzo Dennard in the 7th round despite several off the field issues that including punching a police officer in Nebraska. At one point, Dennard was listed as a second round talent. 6th round pick CB Nate Ebner, out of Ohio State University, is a rugby player, who will finally focus on football. Ebner will add value to their special teams, being one of those players who is not afraid to run full speed into the wedge.
With the 16th overall pick the Jets drafted DE Quinton Coples, a University of North Carolina product who has questions regarding his motivation, motor and overall maturity. Coples, if he grows up a bit, will be able to start for Rex Ryan’s defense right away. The Jets drafted another project in the 2nd round in WR Stephen Hill. Many scouts have questioned the Georgia Tech’s route running, which is not unusual when you’re coming out of a run first offense, but he possesses size (6’4’’, 215 lbs), something no coach can teach.
Overall, this was an unspectacular draft for the AFC East teams. Nobody expects the Patriots to reach for any player but they always make something out of their draft picks. Ultimately, you have to trust Bill Belichick because of his track record. The Dolphins drafted their franchise quarterback and although he should start right away, he might not because the Dolphins’ coaches could make him hold the clipboard for a bit to continue to learn the offense. The Patriots are the winners in the division, as far as the draft goes, but the Bills have strengthened a glaring weakness on their team in defense. It’s easy to forget that they started out the season 5-2 before floundering and losing seven straight.