How The Dolphins Stack Up in the AFC East Pre-Draft

The NFL draft is days away and teams are stacking their draft boards. Teams are pretty much finished with their free agent spending. The question for the Miami Dolphins is how do they stack up against the rest of the AFC East before the draft and what else do they need to do?

The AFC East belongs to the New England Patriots and will until someone is ready to dethrone them. Right now, I'm not seeing it, but that could change. I will believe it when I see it. Tom Brady is still under center and continues to play at a high level. Don't know when he will slow down or hang it up. The Patriots have had their share drama since the middle of the season with rumors of friction between Bill Belichick, Tom Brady and team owner Robert Kraft. Things seem to have smoothed over slightly, but Brady hasn't shown up to off season workouts yet, which is strange, and neither has Rob Gronkowski. That stuff should straighten itself out. The Patriots lost a lot of players in free agency with Nate Soldier, Cameron Fleming, Malcom Butler, Dion Lewis, and trading Brandon Cooks. This is nothing new for the Patriots because they typically lose players year in and year out because they don't pay top dollar for players and they always seem to find ways, but with all of these loses and all of their needs it’s fair to say whether it will finally catch up with them. They lost both of their starting offensive tackles and this year’s draft isn't particularly deep at that position, but the Patriots have 2 first round picks and 2 second round picks so they should be able to make moves and as long as Brady is playing at a high level the team will always be the top team in the division.

The Buffalo Bills are coming off their first playoff appearance in 17 years and have also made changes as well. For starters they traded starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor. I'm personally skeptical of this move because say all you want about Taylor's short coming not making accurate throws, holds the ball too long, but the bottom line is the guy got you to the playoffs last year and wouldn't have sniffed the playoffs if he wasn't starting. The Bills signed AJ McCarron who is talented, but unknown as a starter. If McCarron was a hot commodity then why didn't someone else, try to bid for his services rather than taking a low-ball offer from the Bills? Plus, the Bills are still rebuilding, and truth is they were lucky to make the playoffs and had so many things go their way to get in. The offense doesn't have any real firepower. How many offensive touchdowns did they score against the Patriots in 2 games last year? The answer is 2 and they didn't help themselves this off season. They lost Eric Wood and Richie Incognitto to retirement and its possible they could have 4 new starters on the offensive line to go with a new quarterback. They do still have LeSean McCoy, but he will turn 30 years old and he isn't coming off his best season and with the offensive line in flux it's fair to wonder if he will have running lanes. The Bills don't have many game breaking receivers either. Their defense was better last year and created a lot of turnovers especially early in the season, but as the season wore on the turnovers went down and they got exposed. The Bills have 6 picks in the first 3 rounds and have the ammunition to trade up to gamble on a quarterback, so they will have the picks to get more players, but that will come with growing pains. The Bills are heading in the right direction but could be in for a letdown season.

The New York Jets just like the Bills are looking for a young quarterback in the draft. They brought back Josh McCown at 39 years old fair to wonder if he will have another good season like he had prior to his injury. They also brought in Teddy Bridgewater, but he is 2 years removed from a serious knee injury. The Jets traded up from the number 6 pick to the 3rd pick and are going to take a quarterback, but the question is who and will he be a franchise quarterback? The Jets got off to a good start last year but fell apart as injuries piled up especially at quarterback. They have good young pieces on defense led by Leonard Williams and Jamal Adams. The offense doesn't have a ton of fire power and they lost Matt Forte to retirement and lost their tight end in free agency. This will be Todd Bowles 4th season with the team and it’s a pivotal year for him. The team plays very hard for him, but he needs to generate wins this year and improvement to save his job.

The Dolphins lost some talent in Ndamukong Suh, Jarvis Landry, and Mike Pouncey. The wheels fell off for the Dolphins last year losing starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill before the season started. They also lost promising rookie Raekwon McMillan to a season ending injury in the preseason. On top of that the Dolphins had to play 16 straight games due to losing their opening game due to hurricane Harvey and Lawrence Timmons went AWOL on the team before their first game. Everything that could have gone wrong went wrong for the Dolphins, so they had to shake things up. They cut Suh and Pouncey in cost cutting moves with their bloated contract and the team wasn't going to pay top dollar for Landry, so they traded him for 2 draft picks. Tannehill will be back, but the team needs a solid back up plan in case he can't come back and there have been whispers they could take a quarterback with their first pick. The Dolphins did a good job solidifying their offensive line this off season and you could make the case they have the best line in this division before the draft. The Dolphins picked up speedy Albert Wilson and veteran Danny Amendola to help the receiving core. They also added Frank Gore to help mentor Kenyan Drake and bring a veteran’s presence to the team as well as contribute. Yes, he might be 34 years old, but he could add something to the team in a positive way. The defense added pass rusher Robert Quinn to go with Cameron Wake and Charles Harris. The Dolphins figure to add some more pieces in the draft, but with the exception of Suh mostly everyone is coming back. The Dolphins weren't horrible on defense, but they had trouble covering the tight ends and need to find a speedy linebacker that can run side line to sideline and cover the tight ends and running backs out of the backfield. They also need to find a tight end its been while since the team has had a good quality tight end on offense.

Overall, I think the Dolphins are in good shape in the division. I don't believe they have as many holes as the Jets and Bills and have a better quarterback situation than both of those teams. They still have ways to go to catch the Patriots, but I really believe they are better than the Bills and Jets. If Tannehill can stay healthy I think they can stay ahead of them.


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  2. as long as ....and i know its difficult in being such a physical and violent sport and all teams have these issues i get it.....if..Dolphins can decrease in injuries, significant and or of depth and especially our QB being healthy you bet your bag of chips we'll be in the post-season because we got a talented enough product to put out on that field ....


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