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2024 NFL Draft Wish List: AFC East

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As March winds to a close, even more focus is on April’s NFL Draft. With free agency behind us, we are starting to paint a clearer picture of exactly what positions teams will be looking to address come draft day.

Like we did last year, we will run through all eight divisions in the NFL, highlighting which incoming rookies make the most sense for every roster.

Up first: The AFC East.

(Check out the NFL Draft Wish List series: NFC EastAFC NorthNFC North | AFC South | NFC South | AFC West | NFC West)

2024 NFL Draft Wish List: AFC East

Buffalo Bills

  • First pick: 1st round, 28th overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 11

You know, one of these years I, a Bills fan, will introduce this team as the defending Super Bowl champions. (Please?)

Buffalo had yet another successful regular season followed by a heartbreaking playoff loss to the hands of the Kansas City Chiefs. Lather, rinse, repeat. Heading into the 2024 NFL Draft, Buffalo has 11 selections, including 28th overall. If you look at most mock drafts out there, you will see wide receiver slotted next to the Bills and I can’t really disagree. Sure, the Bills added Curtis Samuel, but they need to replace the vertical, perimeter role that Gabe Davis left behind. As a huge fan of both the Bills and Adonai Mitchell, my dream scenario ends with him holding a Bills jersey on the stage on draft day. At 6-foot-2 and 205 pounds, Mitchell is fluid in his movement, especially on vertical routes, which is exactly what Buffalo needs. His double moves are some of the best in this class, while he demonstrates strong hip fluidity. Mitchell reminds me of Tee Higgins and Terry McLaurin and although his overall production profile doesn’t jump off the page, consider he played in multiple run first offenses at Georgia and Texas.

I also think it is very possible Buffalo moves out of the 28 spot, whether it is up or down. If they trade up, I’d imagine it is for LSU’s BrIan Thomas, who would be a huge upgrade over Davis. Throughout his time in college, Thomas played out wide on 888 snaps compared to 122 from the slot. Last year, he finished second in the nation in deep yards (670) and third in deep receptions (15), while his 17 touchdowns were the most in college football. Thomas had a 54% contested catch rate and has awesome sideline awareness when the ball is in the air. Meanwhile, if Buffalo trades out of the first round, don’t be surprised if Keon Coleman or Xavier Legette are on their radar.

Finally, Buffalo has 11 selections. They can’t go wideout with all of them. With Jordan Poyer in Miami and Micah Hyde’s future in question, safety will be addressed by the Bills. Kamren Kinchens from Miami probably makes the most sense, especially considering he played for Jahmile Addae, who is now the defensive backs coach for Buffalo.

Miami Dolphins

  • First pick: 1st round, 21st overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 6

The Dolphins have had a pretty rough offseason so far. They have lost Christian Wilkins, Robert Hunt, Andrew Van Ginkel, Raekwon Davis, Xavien Howard, Jerome Baker and DeShon Elliott. And the bad news? Miami only has six selections in this year’s draft. I’d be shocked if the Dolphins didn’t address the offensive line with their first pick at 21st overall. If Jackson Powers-Johnson is there, the Dolphins should sprint to the podium. He mostly played center at Oregon but also has over 400 career snaps at right guard, which is huge for a team that has holes at center and just lost Hunt at guard. I also like the fit for Washington’s Troy Fautanu, who also has experience at guard. He has quick feet and athleticism that would bode well for a team that runs a wide-zone scheme like Miami does.

In the second round, the Dolphins could try to fill the void left behind by Christian Wilkins. If that is the case, T’Vondre Sweat would make a ton of sense. In 2023, Sweat posted a very solid 12.8% run stop rate. However, I can guarantee Mike McDaniel and company are very excited about the possibility of adding Xavier Worthy to their offense because the Dolphins obviously need even more speed, right?

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New York Jets

  • First pick: 1st round, 10th overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 7

The Jets may have added left tackle Tyron Smith and wide receiver Mike Williams this offseason, but that doesn’t mean those positions are suddenly off the board at 10th overall. Smith is 33, on a one-year deal and has missed 22 games since the start of the 2021 campaign. Williams is also on a one-year deal and is coming off a torn ACL. It feels like three players have been mocked the most to the Jets in the first round: Olu Fashanu, Rome Odunze and Brock Bowers. All make plenty of sense for this team. Fashanu is strictly a left tackle, but we know Smith has had issues staying healthy, and the Jets don’t have a ton of offensive linemen under contract following the 2023 season. On 733 career pass-blocking snaps at Penn State, Fashanu didn’t allow a single sack. But perhaps they prefer Taliese Fuaga, who could not only learn from veteran Morgan Moses at right tackle, but also start at guard right away for this team.

And although the Jets added Williams to the offense, they still need more. Again, this could be his only year in New York and is coming off an ACL tear. Last season, Garrett Wilson and Breece Hall accounted for over 49% of the Jets’ total receiving yards. They got nothing from Allen Lazard and company and adding a player like Odunze would give this team a scary wide receiver duo for years to come. He reminds me of Chris Olave but with more size and physicality. Finally, Brock Bowers would easily be the TE1 in this offense and I think 10th overall to the Jets is the earliest we could see him go in the draft.

Of course, if the Jets pass on Odunze (or if he is off the board), they will certainly address the wide receiver position later on in the draft. It is, however, a bit more difficult considering they don’t have a second-round pick but at 72nd overall, Michigan’s Roman Wilson could be on their radar.

New England Patriots

  • First pick: 1st round, 3rd overall
  • Total first-rounders: 1
  • Total selections: 8

The New England Patriots might be the most interesting team in the draft. They obviously hold the third overall selection, which will undoubtedly be a quarterback — if they stand pat. There really isn’t a team that makes more sense as a candidate to move back than New England, despite how badly they need a quarterback. It is no secret that Minnesota is looking to move up and New England could be a trade partner, which would give them 11th and 23rd overall. Maybe they could still land JJ McCarthy at 11. Or maybe they can go after a quarterback in the second round. But this team still has so many holes to fill. Right tackle, wide receiver and edge are definitely toward the top of their draft board, but the way in which the Patriots make their selections this year could be interesting.

Of course, if they stay put at third overall, it seems like Drake Maye will be the selection, as Jayden Daniels to Washington has picked up plenty of steam. Maye has a huge arm and would give the Patriots their most physically gifted signal caller in a long, long time. Offensive line and wide receiver should be the two next positions off the board for the Patriots and at 34th overall, they could be looking at Troy Franklin or Ladd McConkey. And in the third round, guard Christian Haynes makes too much sense. The Patriots really need help at the guard position and Haynes could fit well in this scheme. New England brought in Alex Van Pelt as the new offensive coordinator, who has had that role in Cleveland since 2020. In the run game, Cleveland used a lot of pin/pull concepts, deploying it just over 18% of the time in 2023. Haynes has terrific ability to get off the line of scrimmage with strong athleticism.

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