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NEEDS FILLED — The Bills added a playmaker in first-round pick C.J. Spiller, sure to bring some excitement to Buffalo. They also helped out their defensive front with second-round selection Torell Troup and third-rounder Alex Carrington and added some necessary depth at receiver with fourth-round find Marcus Easley.
NEEDS IGNORED — Buffalo was widely expected to upgrade at offensive tackle, unless a franchise quarterback fell to them; instead, they passed on Bryan Bulaga and Jimmy Clausen twice. Now they’ll have to hope OTs Ed Wang (Round 5) and Kyle Calloway (Round 7) are real gems and seventh-round quarterback Levi Brown is a Tom Brady-like late-round find.
BEST PICK — Any time you can grab the most explosive player in the draft you’re doing well; however, for pure value the fourth-round pick of Easley might give the Bills the most bang for their buck. Assuming, of course, that a quarterback emerges — along with someone to protect him.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY — It’s tough to debate the merits of Bulaga or Clausen over Spiller at #9. However, the Bills could have addressed the offensive tackle need with Vladimir Ducasse or Charles Brown in Round 2 or even Bruce Campbell in Round 3.
FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — Obviously, Spiller will draw plenty of attention in both redraft and dynasty leagues. Those thinking short-term should realize that at present he’s slated to share touches with both Fred Jackson and Marshawn Lynch — and that the trio will be drawing from a Buffalo rushing attack that ranked 26th in fantasy scoring last season and has done little to upgrade the offense around Spiller. Long-term, you’d like to think that the team will build around Spiller, who is significantly less of a character question mark than Lynch, their first-rounder just three years ago.
NEEDS FILLED — Having addressed the need for a wide receiver with the predraft trade for Brandon Marshall, the Dolphins focused on defense — specifically the edge, where they traded down in the first round before adding DE Jared Odrick, then traded back up to get OLB Koa Misi in the second and added OLB A.J. Edds in the fourth. Safety was another position of need, and Miami’s patience paid off as they grabbed Reshad Jones — widely considered a potential Day Two pick — late in the fifth round.
NEEDS IGNORED — Even pseudo owner Jennifer Lopez was aware the Dolphins needed a nose tackle, but Miami did not address the interior of their defensive line. With the Marshall acquisition filling the receiver need, that was about the only hole the Dolphins did not attempt to fill.
BEST PICK — In last year’s draft the Dolphins added a pair of big, physical corners, and the expectation was that they might do the same with the safety position this time around. While Miami didn’t move on a safety until pick #163, they wound up with a real bargain in Jones, a 6-1, 215-pound hitter who has Mike Nolan and Bill Parcells to help him reach his vast potential.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY — Trading down from the #12 spot cost Miami a shot at DT Dan Williams, but they still could have had Brian Price at #28. They also could have had Torell Troup or Terrence Cody at #40, but instead they’ll roll into the start of the season with Randy Starks and Paul Soliai on the nose.
FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — The only non-defender among Miami’s eight picks was their third-rounder, OG John Jerry, so unless you’re counting the second-round pick that brought Marshall to South Beach there’s nothing to see here.
New England Patriots
NEEDS FILLED — When you end up with a dozen picks — plus Oakland’s one and Carolina’s two for next year — you’re pretty much able to address your deficiencies. And not just throw draft picks at needs; the Patriots used five picks over the first two days to address needs in their secondary (CB Devin McCourty, Round 1), passing game (TE Rob Gronkowski, Round 2 and WR Taylor Price, Round 3), and linebacking corps (Jermaine Cunningham and Brandon Spikes, both in Round 2).
NEEDS IGNORED — The Pats were expected to add a running back and safety to their mix, yet somehow managed to dodge both of those positions over the course of 12 selections.
BEST PICK — Gronkowski was considered by some the best tight end in the draft, sliding to the second round because of a back injury that cost him most of last season. The Patriots did their homework and figured his upside warranted the risk of the 42nd pick. And if not they have Aaron Hernandez, another talented tight end who slipped to the fourth round because of off-the-field issues, as an insurance plan.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY — You can’t really quibble with much of the Patriots’ draft board until they selected a punter, Zoltan Mesko, in Round 5 — with safeties Larry Asante and Reshad Jones and running backs Anthony Dixon and Jonathan Dwyer still on the board.
FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — Alge Crumpler currently sits atop the New England depth chart at tight end, but Gronkowski and Hernandez will both push for immediate playing time — in an offense that knows how to use the position. The speedy Price could find early work out of the slot with Wes Welker sidelined; long-term he has enough size to play on the outside and might be the heir to Randy Moss’s downfield numbers. In larger dynasty leagues, a flier on seventh-round QB Zac Robinson could be viewed as an investment along the lines of Matt Cassel.
New York Jets
NEEDS FILLED — The Jets had but four picks, but they also didn’t have a ton of needs. First-rounder Kyle Wilson gives the Jets as deep a corner rotation as there is in the league, second-round pick Vladimir Ducasse will likely step right in at left guard for released veteran Alan Faneca, and RB Joe McKnight (Round 4) is the heir to Leon Washington’s job.
NEEDS IGNORED — Gang Green completely ignored its front seven, which was indeed successful last season but lacks both depth and a next generation behind some key veterans.
BEST PICK — Wilson was a find at #29, but it’s Ducasse who will have the greatest immediate impact. If he can kick inside to guard and succeed, the decision to let Faneca walk won’t be second-guessed.
MISSED OPPORTUNITY — With Darrelle Revis and Antonio Cromartie at the corners, Wilson feels like a luxury — especially with edge guys like Jerry Hughes, Koa Misi, and Sergio Kindle on the board.
FANTASY RAMIFICATIONS — How Ducasse fares will have a dramatic impact on every aspect of the Jets’ offense. If you’re looking for more direct fallout, McKnight probably won’t be the third down back this year — not with LaDainian Tomlinson in town — but a Shonn Green/McKnight backfield is the future of the Jets’ offense.