The Combine Report: 2016 NFL Needs – AFC East

By:  Barry Barnes, Founder

Other than using the vehicle of the NFL Draft to solve an immediate need, teams look to the selection process to build depth. For expected injuries and overall development, constructing a solid roster from top to bottom is essential for clubs’ success. Players must be teachable, hungry and ready, which is why the NFL Regional Combine is significant.

NFL teams should build according to their division. If a squad can collaborate the right athletes, and they can executed the system well enough to dictate their actions on the field, skies the limits.

Dating back to 2001, the combatants of the AFC East has been facing a greater challenge far more difficult than winning a Super Bowl, dethroning the New England Patriots.

Gerard Fives III/Locker-Report.com

The Patriots has been the face of the league for at least a decade, with evidence of continuous domination for a few more years as the Tom Brady/Bill Belichick era show no signs of slowing down.

To succeed in the AFC East – better yet – against the Pats, teams must run the ball, with patience, have solid quarterback play, be smart and fundamentally sound, defensively. Being fancy does not work in this division. This philosophy is recognized across the division, especially last season as they finished with three teams over .500.

Statistically, the AFC East was probably the best division in 2015 as they recorded the second most points with 1,541, while surrendering the second fewest points (1,377).

AFC East have the numbers on their side, but on the surface, The New York Jets, Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins are simply runner ups to the Patriots, and are overlooked for their accomplishments as a division. With a pending 4-game suspension for Brady hanging in the balance, can anyone of these teams take advantage?

As the AFC East divisional teams continue to improve, for the Patriots, the Pats will continuously stockpile for the league. The NFL Regional Combine can help these AFC East squads on all accounts.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS (Current RC Players – WR Chris Harper and LB Rufus Johnson)

2015 record (12-4), .750

Trent Corney/Locker-Report.com

The Patriots are probably the scouting team in the NFL. If the right talent is out there for their system, the Patriots will find them. Surely, the Pats will find some standouts from the NFL Regional Combine platform.

NEEDS: Defensive End, Defensive Tackle, Linebacker, Running Back, Wide Receiver

Defensive End

Trent Corney (Virginia), Tackling machine, good speed and hands, solid footwork, mobile.

Justin Evans (Delta State), Quick, explosive, uses hands well, decent ball skills, balance, strong.

Hunter Little (Columbia), Extremely mobile, balance movement in his change of direction, strong hands, decent speed.

Defensive Tackle

Josiah Smith (Graceland University), Powerful, strong hands, quick feet, decent leaping ability.

Greg Carswell (Shorter), Explosive, moves well, decent speed and ball skills, nasty.

Johnny Maxey Jr. (Mars Hill), Huge, decent speed, powerful, moves well.

Linebacker

Tyrone Ward (Hampton), Explosive, great speed, solid ball skills, complete athlete.

Jamaar Crayton (Waldorf), Pure athlete, can cover, speed and good hands.

Quentin Harton (West Alabama), Fiery, great awareness, decent speed, moves well.

Running Back

Darryan Ragdale (Alcorn State), Keeps ball high and tight, moves well, runs strong, power runner.

Terrance Timmons (South Alabama), Explosive, cuts on a dime, discipline, solid ball skills, Keep pads low and ball high.

Khairi Dickson (St. Francis, PA), great ball skills, strong, quick, discipline, fluent, agile.

Tobias Lofton (Nicholls State), Elite speed, explosive, great balance, decent hands, solid footwork.

Wide Receiver

Jacob Lampman (Ferris State), Strong hands, runs hard, decent speed, physical, powerful

Reggie Begelton (Lamar), Great hands, possession receiver, solid ball skills and speed, excellent route runner, calculated.

Andre Davis Jr. (Kansas State), Solid speed and footwork, good ball skills, discipline route runner.

Anthony Kelly (Kutztown), Fast, great burst, good ball skills, great footwork.

NEW YORK JETS (Current RC Players – FB/LB Julian Howsare, CB Darryl Morris, LB Lawrence Okoye, LB Julian Stanford and Dominique Williams)

Douglas Warrick/Locker-Report.com

2015 record (10-6), .625

Other than the reigning Super Bowl champion Denver Broncos, the Jets were the only team that nearly had the Patriots’ number. Meaning, the Jets are almost there. Balance and mistake-free quarterback play is what the Jets need in order to get to the next level.

Under the leadership of head coach Todd Bowles, the Jets are thrusting into the right direction. As one of the biggest the supporters of the RC, the Jets will usher in more undiscovered gems to help along their journey.

NEEDS: Quarterback, Offensive Tackle, Guard, Tight End, Linebacker

Quarterback

Brady Bolles (Northwest Missouri State), Quick release, strong arm, great touch, mobile.

Offensive Tackle

Dominick Richards (James Madison), Athletic, physical, powerful lower and higher body, good footwork.

John Smith (Howard), Athletic, powerful, explosive, great hands and footwork.

Guard

Aaron Morris (Mississippi), Very physical, strong, moves well.

Isaac Sampson (Alcorn State), Powerful, uses hands well, solid footwork.

Sheldon Saddler (Shaw), Nasty, powerful, quick.

Tight End

Dylan Curry (Ball State), Discipline, fundamentally sound, solid hands, decent speed.

Bryce Duncan (Minnesota State-Mankato), Huge, decent hands and speed, blocking ability, strong.

Douglas Warrick (Elon), Huge target, solid hands and ball skills, strong, good speed.

Daree’ Goodwin (West Liberty State), Great ball skills and speed, solid footwork, physical, runs hard.

Linebacker

Kentrell Reynolds (West Georgia), Explosive, fast, decent ball skills and leaping ability.

Ezekiel “Zeek” Bigger (East Carolina), Quick, explosive, decent ball skill, solid footwork.

Derrick Lawrence (Tabor College), Long, strong hands, decent speed and ball skills.

BUFFALO BILLS (Current RC Player – K Jordan Gay)

2015 record (8-8), .500

James Harris/Locker-Report.com

The Bills are very interesting. Along with a solid coaching staff, the Bills have talent on both sides of the ball. They started to gel towards the end of last season. However, they struggled in situational football.

The Bills were in nearly all their matches last season. However, their youth and inexperience, playing collectively as a group, haunted them in critical situations.

The Bills will be judged in 2016 according to how well they execute in challenging circumstances, whether making a play or stop to win contests. Buffalo will open the door for RC players to assist them in their growth.

NEEDS: Defensive End, Defensive Tackle, Linebacker, Wide Receiver, Quarterback

Defensive End

Dez Howard (Buffalo State), Strong, powerful, good footwork, decent ball skills.

Austin Orr (North Texas), May have to play the linebacker position because of weight, but plays the position naturally.

Keenan Brown (Langston University), Balance, moves well, decent hands and decent.

Defensive Tackle

Steven Wright (Fort Valley State), Great speed around edges, solid footwork and hands, strong.

Johnny Maxey Jr. (Mars Hill), Elite speed for size, powerful, great footwork, balance.

Linebacker

Charles Wood (Texas A&M Commerce), Fast, solid speed, athletic, decent ball skills.

P.L. Lindley (Oklahoma), Decent ball skills, quick, strong, agile, good feet.

Alex Wahl (Upper Iowa), Balance, moves well, use hands well, decent ball skills.

Wide Receiver

Nyiakki Height (Georgia State), Great hands, decent speed and route running, solid leaping ability,

Justin Leavy (Delta State), Elite speed, good hands, big target, good footwork.

Quinshad Davis (North Carolina), Great technique and instincts, solid hands and quick.

Christian Morgan (Southern Utah), Quick, solid ball skills, good route runner, balance.

Quarterback

James Harris (California, PA), Sharp, soft touch, solid arm, great footwork, mobile.

Mike Bercovici (Arizona State), Mobile, moves in pocket well, decent footwork, solid arm strength.

Issac Fisher (McKendree), strong arm, good touch, solid awareness.

MIAMI DOLPHINS (Current RC Players – DB Damarr Aultman, T John Ulrick and WR Tyler Murphy)

2015 record (6-10), .375

Gergory Hilliard/Locker-Report.com

Comparably to the Bills, the Dolphins have talent on both sides of the ball. While the Bills are heading into the right direction as their skilled players are gelling together, the Dolphins aren’t making the same progression – for now.

The Dolphins unquestionably made some solid move during the offseason, and with the talented players who ventured through the RC waiting to prove they can be major assets, the Fins will have more athletes to build with.

Here are a few.

NEEDS: Guard, Running Back, Cornerback, Defensive End, Linebacker

Guard

Sean McGwen (Calgary), Can play any position on offensive line, explosive (lower and upper body), light on toes, mobile, powerful.

Robert Blodgett (Buffalo), Huge, explosive, athletic, solid footwork.

Running Back

Adrian Sterling (Florida Atlantic), Hard runner, fast, has burst, solid ball skills, physical.

Jared Baker (Arizona), Elite speed, solid ball skills, fluent, decent route runner.

Cary Littlejohn (Catawba), Solid speed, footwork and ball skills, patient, burst.

Lawyer Tillman (Auburn), Powerful, decent ball skills, moves well, physical, loves contact.

Cornerback

Tyrai Anderson (Lock Haven), Solid speed and ball skills, great leaping ability, clever,

Ahmad Christian (Utah), Physical, decent ball skills, good speed

Deneco Hathorn (Concordia, Ala.), Extremely quick, solid recovery speed.

Defensive End 

Brandon Jones (Widener), Decent speed, moves well, strong, quick first step.

Trenton Donald (Gannon), Solid tackler, fundamentally sound, good technique, moves well, decent ball skills.

Braden Bennett (Wesley), Quick, balance, decent hands, has a high motor.

Linebacker

Troy Beddoe (Cortland State), Explosive, strong, moves well.

Manoa Pikula (BYU), Solid speed, great ball skills and footwork, decent jumping ability, explosive.

Gregory Hilliard (Wagner), Physical, quick and good hands.

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