I know there are those of you who just don't care, but tough. It's what I do.
We'll save the best for last, so let's start with the AFC East; home of the worst team in the league in '07:
Miami Dolphins - seemed to be telling us that they really are dedicated to the idea of moving Jason Taylor and be "married to" the 3-4 with their picks of two LARGE Defensive Ends in Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford. Perhaps Taylor can move to an outside LB spot. Jake Long from Michigan was taken with the first anti-climactic pick of the draft and should anchor the Dolphins offensive line for many years to come. Chad Henne from Michigan joins his Wolverine teammate with a 2nd-round pick to push some never-was' at Quarterback. Finishing up with two Guards, two Running Backs & a Defensive Tackle, Parcells shows where his mind is. Get bigger, get stronger and run on 1st, 2nd & 3rd downs. Hell, he may even on 4th if they're close enough. With so many holes to fill, the Dolphins did their level best to stabilize a downtrodden franchise. Grade: B
New York Jets - with only six picks, the Jets had to be very strategic in their choices. Vernon Gholston at Defensive End, the only player to get a sack off of Jake Long, was their first pick at #6 overall. Typically known as a big-game player, Gholston's a bit inconsistent which is why Chris Long was rated ahead of him. The Jets then went to a receiving Tight End with Dustin Keller from Purdue. While on paper his numbers are there, Keller's only 6'2" and 242 lbs which doesn't translate to the pro game well for a traditional Tight End. He did run a sub-4.6 40 at the combine, so maybe the Jets will line him up in the slot more often than not. They then addressed needs at Cornerback, Wide Receiver and Offensive Tackle. Their most interesting pick was the anti-thesis of Chad Pennington with the selection of Eric Ainge at 6'5-1/2" and a traditional pocket-passer in the 5th round. So few picks, but all leave me wondering about their wisdom. Grade: D
Buffalo Bills - having 10 picks and the 31st-worst pass defense in the league tells me they may look at their secondary. With 2 of their first 4 picks, the Bills picked up the highest-rated Cornerback, Leodis McKelvin from Troy, and Cornerback Reggie Corner (yep, that's his name) from Akron. They picked up another in the 7th round from Pitt, Kennard Cox. Wide Receiver was also a position of interest with Lee Evans & Josh Reed being the "best" they could field. Here they picked up big-body James Hardy from Indiana (6'5-1/2" 217 lbs.) and 1000-yard-man Steve Johnson from Kentucky. Chris Ellis, Defensive End from Va. Tech, provides a bit of a question mark in the injury and character categories with 3 surgeries while in college and an arrest or two, but should contribute early & often. Finishing up with a Tight End, Outside Linebacker, Running Back & Offensive Tackle, the Bills addressed some needs and pure quantity. They still needed to look Quarterback, though, Lohsman & Edwards are miserable. Grade: B
New England Patriots - Going undefeated all season 'til the Super Bowl may make you think a team doesn't have any holes to fill. With free agency, age and suspect performance in the Super Bowl, you would be wrong. An aging Linebacking corps was obviously the top priority for the Pats with the selection of 3 Outside Linebackers with their seven picks. Jerod Mayo from Tennessee leads the group at the 10th overall pick and providing 140 tackles for the Volunteers in 2007. Shawn Crable from Michigan and Bo Ruud from Nebraska (yep, his younger brother) were the other two. With Ellis Hobbs as their sole good Cornerback, the Pats picked 2; Terrence Wheatley from Colorado & Jonathan Wilhite from Auburn. They went on to pick Kevin O'Connell, QB from San Diego State, and Matthew Slater, listed as a Wide Receiver from UCLA, but will probably be a Return Specialist. The glaring question mark I have at the end of the day is: Did the coaches watch the offensive line get paralyzed by their lack of athleticism in the Super Bowl? With this in mind and no free agent pick-ups, you have to wonder. Grade: C
Next, we go North to Alaska! Okay, maybe just the Rust-Belt with the AFC North.