The Combine Report: 2017 NFL Team 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. Due to expected injuries and overall development, constructing a solid roster from top to bottom is essential for clubs to succeed. 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 amass the right talents to execute the system well enough to dictate outcomes on the field, skies the limits.

The AFC East has been owned by the New England Patriots for well over a decade, and they are showing no signs of slowly down.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Combine Report: 2017 NFL Team Needs – AFC North

 

Due to the reigning Super Bowl champions’ credit, to be successful in the East, the squads must be smart, play great situational football and fundamentally sound on both sides of the ball. Clearly, all the clubs in the East are on board with that concept as they function as the best defensive division in the AFC Conference (1,417 points allowed).

If the New York Jets, Miami Dolphins and the Buffalo Bills can find successful consistency against the Patriots as a benchmark to win the East, they can challenge for a Super Bowl.

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS – (Current RC players – DT Hamilton Woodrow, TE Matt Lengel)

Last season, 14-2 (Super Bowl champions)

 

Apparently, the Patriots improved their roster since their historical Super Bowl victory in February with their offseason acquisitions. With the NFL Draft looming, and their history in discovering talent, the Patriots can frighteningly be impressive.

Needs – Offensive Lineman, Linebacker, Wide Receiver/Tight End

Offensive Lineman

Jack Plankers (North Dakota State), Nasty, agile, powerful, quick, great feet, solid pass protector

Philip Osa-Mose (Colorado State-Pueblo), Powerful, moves well, great hands

Michael Boland (UMASS), Fiery, high motor, balanced, great feet

Linebacker

Dvonta Derricott (Arkansas Tech), Intense, solid tracking speed, great hands, great tackler, discipline

Joshua Hill (Merrimack), Strong hands, agile, quick, discipline, aggressive

B.J. Bello (Illinois State), Agile, great feet, decent hands, hybrid, plays the pass, quick

Robert Meade (Kean), Mobile, great feet and hands, smart, plays well in space

Wide Receiver/Tight End

WR Troy Doles (Brown), Powerful, physical, explosive, good hands

WR Mark Thomas (Southern Connecticut State), Fast as h*#@, good hands, explosive

TE Lorenzo Mitchell (Tusculum College), Great hands, aggressive towards ball, athletic, decent speed

TE Tyler Scalzi (Texas Tech), Good hands, extremely physical, good route running

TE Robert Tonyan (Indiana State), Strong, great hands, total package

MIAMI DOLPHINS – (Current RC players – DT Lawrence Okoye)

Last season, 10-6

 

The Dolphins may have found their nitch midway through the 2016 campaign as a ball control team, led by running back Jay Ajayi.

Miami is forecast as a better location to play football, due to the nightlife and attractive weather. However, they can be considerably gorgeous if they can discover a way to tackle the Patriots. Through the vehicle of the RC, the Dolphins can finally start hooking the champions by the waist, instead of the ankles.

Needs – Defensive End, Offensive Lineman, Tight End

Defensive End

John Popovich (Southeast Missouri), Agile, strong, athletic, good hands, smart

Alex Jenkins (Incarnate Word), Extremely athletic, raw talent, explosive, strong, great hands

Monte Taylor (Albany State, Ga.), Solid, strong, quick, agile, high motor

Offensive Lineman

Darius Jokarzadeh (Swansea University), Agile, fast, strong, powerful, raw talent

Thomas Evans (Richmond), Explosive, good feet and hands, smart

Casey Perry (North Carolina-Pembroke), powerful, strong, moves well, good hands

Tight End

Walter Hibbler – (West Georgia), Strong hands, great wheels, agile, tough

TE Robert Tonyan (Indiana State), Strong, great hands, total package

TE Tyler Scalzi (Texas Tech), Good hands, extremely physical, good route running

BUFFALO BILLS – (Current RC Players – None)

 

The Bills are fighters, but were often punched out in the fourth quarter of contests. The Bills finished 2016 with differential of plus 21 as they outscored their opponent by that margin.

The Bills have solid talent, but they must have more confidence in their undrafted skilled players as they housed 23 athletes last season. With an exceeding amount of players waiting to have their name called, or have their phone ring during NFL Draft weekend, the Bills will have a chance to bring in more gems, but they have to be used.

Needs – Cornerback, Wide Receiver

Cornerback

Wayne Morgan (Syracuse), Good speed, great hands, great instincts

Antonio Brown (William Penn), Burner, decent hands, aggressive, intense

Kedrick Davis (North Carolina-Charlotte), Good speed and technique, balance, decent hands

Wide Receiver

Kevin Snead (Carson-Newman), Burner, good hands, quick

Reggie Davis (Georgia), Great speed and hands, good footwork, special teams’ standout

Troy Doles (Brown), Powerful, physical, explosive, good hands

NEW YORK JETS – (Current RC player – DT Brandin Bryant, FB Julian Howsare, LB Julian Stanford)

Last season, 5-11

The Jets should move forward in utilizing younger talent and stop gambling on the older skilled players.

Needs – Quarterback, Defensive Back, Offensive Lineman, Linebacker

Quarterback

Austin Apodaca (New Mexico), Strong arm, quick release, smart, moves well, great touch

Nick Mullens (Southern Mississippi), Great release, mobile, smart, great vision, strong with a solid touch

Justin Dvorak (Colorado Mines), Mobile, great arm and touch, smart

Defensive back

Jarell Carter (Trinity Int’l), Burner, explosive, decent hands, good feet, strong

Chris Brockman (Colorado Mines), Great tackler, decent hands, tracks ball, good feet

Christopher Lyles (Mississippi College), Big, great hands, good speed, determine, balance

Offensive Lineman

Jason King (Purdue), Huge, strong, moves well, uses hands well

Toree Boyd (Howard), Athletic, strong, good feet, aggressive, mean

John Clark (Southern Nazarene), Moves well, great feet and hands, great run blocker

Linebacker

Nigel Harris (South Florida), Balance, hybrid, quick, play well with weight, strong, great hands

KyRandall Smith (St. Mary), Explosive, quick, good hands, balance, tough

George Stone III (Stephen F. Austin), Quick, discipline, decent speed and hands

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