The AFC East brought a relatively light influx of new skill position players into the division in this year’s NFL Draft. Not one first rounder was chosen, and only two players were selected on the second day.
The defending Super Bowl champs opted to trade their selections away for proven, veteran talent, while the Miami Dolphins focused their draft on the defensive side of the ball and waited to take a stab on offense until the seventh round. Alternatively, the New York Jets attempted to inject some talent into their offense in consecutive rounds between the third and sixth, while the Bills spent the earliest pick in the division on wide receiver Zay Jones in the early second.
Let’s dive into each of the selections. Offensive line additions are noted in italics.
New England Patriots
Antonio Garcia, OT Troy – Round 3, Pick 21 (No. 85)
Conor McDermott, OT UCLA – Round 6, Pick 28 (No. 211)
Isaac Asiata, OG Utah – Round 5, Pick 20 (No. 164)
Isaiah Ford, WR Virginia Tech – Round 7, Pick 19 (No. 237)
Zay Jones, WR East Carolina – Round 2, Pick 5 (No. 37)
Dion Dawkins, OG Temple – Round 2, Pick 31 (No. 63)
Nathan Peterman, QB Pittsburgh – Round 5, Pick 28 (No. 171)
New York Jets
ArDarius Stewart, WR Alabama – Round 3, Pick 15 (No. 79)
Chad Hansen, WR California – Round 4, Pick 35 (No. 141)
Jordan Leggett, TE Clemson – Round 5, Pick 6 (No. 150)
Elijah McGuire, RB Louisiana-Lafayette – Round 6, Pick 4 (No. 188)
Very little of New England’s offensive personnel left town after winning the Super Bowl. LeGarrette Blount – who caught just seven passes last season – and Martellus Bennett are the only two notable departures. Replacing them are Mike Gillislee, Rex Burkhead, Dwayne Allen, Brandin Cooks, and the return of a healthy Rob Gronkowski.
In returning the best tight end in the game healthy while adding one of the NFL’s best deep threats and two highly efficient runners from the 2016 season, Brady seems poised to lead a pass-happy charge in what should be another high-powered season.