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Grading the 2017 NFL Draft: AFC East

By
Rob Rang, The Sports Xchange
Tre'Davious White poses for photographs with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Buffalo Bills as the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater in Philadelphia, PA on April 27, 2017. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI
Tre'Davious White poses for photographs with NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell after being selected by the Buffalo Bills as the 27th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft at the NFL Draft Theater in Philadelphia, PA on April 27, 2017. Photo by Derik Hamilton/UPI | License Photo

Grading an NFL Draft immediately after it occurs is akin to giving your compliments to the chef based on the menu.

It will take at least three years before we can truly assess how the 32 NFL teams fared over the weekend.

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But waiting is no fun. As such, let's take a look at which teams appear to have done the best job of filling needs and building for the future via the seven rounds of the 2017 draft.

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AFC East

Buffalo Bills

After weeks of speculation that the Bills would invest in a quarterback to push incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor, general manager Doug Whaley instead took the blue-collar approach with ultra-productive selections at bigger positions of need, including All-SEC corner Tre'Davious White at No. 27 and the most productive receiver in the country a year ago in Zay Jones. Each stood out at the Senior Bowl, as did tough guy Dion Dawkins, a future starter selected at No. 63 who I thought warranted consideration 20 picks earlier. Pitt quarterback Nathan Peterman has the intangibles to carve out a niche in the NFL, but he may not possess the arm strength to cut through the cold and wind in Buffalo.

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Grade: B-

Miami Dolphins

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Defense was clearly the top priority for the Dolphins in this draft and first-year general manager Chris Grier did a nice job of stacking his board, getting terrific value with his seven selections. Top pick Charles Harris' best football lies ahead of him after only beginning to play sport five years ago. The Dolphins added a classic glass-eating, run-stuffing inside linebacker in Raekwon McMillan and a lanky press corner with excellent ball skills in Clemson's Cordrea Tankersley on Day Two, both of whom project as starters early in their respective careers. Isaac Asiata, the reigning Morris Trophy Award winner as the top blocker in the Pac-12, will outplay his fifth-round grade. Fellow Day Three strongmen Davon Godchaux and Vincent Taylor are similarly built run-stuffers, but may be too alike to both make the final roster.

Grade: B

New England Patriots

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After trading away three picks for quality veterans Brandin Cooks, Kony Ealy and Mike Gillislee, the defending champs had to wait until No. 83 overall to make their first selection. Youngstown State edge rusher Derek Rivers certainly was productive at the lower level -- recording 41 sacks over his career -- but only three forced fumbles over that time, which speaks to his lack of polish. Similarly, former Troy left tackle Antonio Garcia has good feet but didn't face top-notch competition. Both are developmental prospects who need to get stronger but have starter-caliber traits, otherwise, if they commit to their craft. Day Three picks Deatrich Wise and Conor McDermott are big names from solid programs but are lacking in ideal length and balance, respectively. The veterans will provide an immediate impact for the Patriots, but otherwise this is a class that may require a redshirt year.

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Grade: B

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New York Jets

The Jets added some very intriguing individual talents but the group as a whole may struggle to help the club build upon last year's 5-11 last-place finish in the AFC East. SEC standout safeties Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye are similar highly physical prospects whose presence may lead to a trade of former first-round pick Calvin Pryor. Similarly, the Jets replaced Brandon Marshall with another physically imposing receiver in ArDarius Stewart in Round Three and added polished pass-catchers Chad Hansen and Jordan Leggett a day later. None of them, however, possess the game-breaking ability necessary to make up for the Jets' below average talent at quarterback.

Grade: C-

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Rob Rang is a Senior Analyst for w, a property of The Sports Xchange distributed in partnership with CBSSports.com.>ww.NFLDraftScout.com

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