The first in a series on division needs leading up to the April 26-27 NFL Draft
The New England Patriots are the class of the AFC East -- and the conference. To catch them, it will take shrewd drafting by the other three teams in the division, maybe for a couple of years to get even close.
|Vernon Gholston could be a strong addition to the Patriots' scheme. (US Presswire)|
But even New England, for all of the success it had in going 16-0 in the regular-season in 2007, has needs. Not as many as the other three teams in the division, but still enough to warrant concern.
So here's our first look at the draft needs of all the NFL's 32 teams, kicking it off with the AFC East.
The skinny: When you win all your regular season games and end up in the Super Bowl, you don't need that much. But this is a team that prides itself on drafting well. Scott Pioli and Bill Belichick do a heck of a job. And they have the seventh overall pick, which they can use to move down if they want.
Primary need: Corner. They lost Asante Samuel and Randall Gay to free agency, so they must get somebody who can step in and play. Jason Webster can give them a little time to bring that player along.
Secondary needs: An outside pass rushing linebacker for their 3-4 and an offensive tackle. Their tackles got handled in the Super Bowl and Matt Light isn't a kid anymore.
Possible targets: Troy State cornerback Leodis McKelvin or South Florida corner Mike Jenkins. Ohio State defensive end Vernon Gholston is also a possibility.
Summary: If not for Spygate, the AFC Champions would have two first-round picks, but they forfeited their own pick, 31st overall, as part of the punishment handed down by the league. With the seventh overall pick, acquired from San Francisco last year, they can get an impact player or move down and get additional picks. This smart-drafting team will do the right thing.
The skinny: The Bills are a team getting better each year. They have a lot of good, young talent and might be one draft away from pushing for a Wild-card spot. They've drafted well in recent years and they have to hope that continues.
Primary need: They want to add a receiver who can help take some coverage away from Lee Evans. They could do it in the first round or they could opt to wait until the second round and take a corner or a defensive lineman in the first round.
Secondary needs: Cornerback, tight end and defensive line.