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Buffalo Bills (9th pick)
Nine picks: 1.9; 2.9; 3.8; 4.9; 5.9; 6.9, 6.23 (f/PHI); 7.2 (f/DET); 7.9
The Bills don’t have many areas that aren’t in need of an upgrade. The most critical need is along the offensive line, though if a quarterback should fall into Buffalo’s lap they’d likely fly to the podium to make the selection. If the Bills go o-line first, don’t rule out a trade back into the first round for a shot at one of the second-tier quarterbacks; Chan Gainey has used a modified spread at the NFL level before with Tyler Thigpen in Kansas City, so if anyone could adapt Tim Tebow to the pro game it’s Gainey. Buffalo also needs playmakers in the passing game as well as some run-stoppers in their defensive front seven.
Possible options: QB Jimmy Clausen, Notre Dame; OT Trent Williams, Oklahoma; OT Rodger Safford, Indiana; WR Eric Decker, Minnesota; WR Taylor Price, Ohio; DT Cam Thomas, North Carolina
Miami Dolphins (12th pick)
Nine picks plus one compensatory pick: 1.12; 2.11; 3.9; 4.12; 6.4 (f/KC); 6.5 (f/WASH), 6.10; 7.5 (f/KC), 7.12, 7.45 (comp)
The Dolphins have two primary areas to address in this draft: a playmaking wideout (like they hoped Ted Ginn would provide them with when they spent a top-10 pick on him a couple years back) and help along their defensive front seven. With Miami a defense-oriented club with a run-first mentality, they may put the wideout pick on the backburner for a round or two while focusing on linebackers and defensive tackles in the earlier rounds. The Dolphins could also look for safety help after failing to find what they were looking for in free agency the past two offseasons.
Possible options: LB Sergio Kindle, Texas; LB Rolando McClain, Alabama; DT Terrence Cody, Alabama; WR Mardy Gilyard, Cincinnati; WR Dezmon Briscoe, Kansas; S Chad Jones, LSU; S Reshad Jones, Georgia
New England Patriots (22nd pick)
Eight picks plus four compensatory picks: 1.22; 2.12 (f/JAX), 2.15 (f/TEN), 2.21; 4.21; 6.21, 6.36 (comp); 7.22, 7.24 (f/PHI), 7.40 (comp), 7.41 (comp), 7.43 (comp)
The Pats are loaded with picks and have the luxury of no major areas of need to address—leaving them to pluck the proverbial “best player available” off the board. Expect the earlier picks to focus on the defensive front seven, with later selections addressing offensive line depth. That said, the Patriots always seem to pick up a tight end along the way and there are few sure things at running back or even at wideout, where Wes Welker may not be ready for the start of the season and Randy Moss could be playing his final season in New England.
Possible options: LB Ricky Sapp, Clemson; LB Jerry Hughes, TCU; DT Jeff Owens, Georgia; TE Rob Gronkowski, Arizona; TE Ed Dickson, Oregon; WR Jordan Shipley, Texas; WR Andre Roberts, The Citadel
New York Jets (29th pick)
Six picks: 1.29; 2.29; 4.26 (f/ARI); 5.32 (f/PHI/NO); 6.29; 7.29
Last season’s run to the conference championship game indicates the Jets are a team on the rise, and their roster supports that theory in that there are few major holes. The biggest need appears to be a downfield threat in the passing game, unless the Jets think Braylon Edwards is the long-term solution. Rex Ryan will want to bring in some younger defenders to train as eventual replacements for “his” current veterans, so don’t be surprised if most of the picks are spent on that side of the ball—especially after going quarterback/running back with their top two picks in 2009.
Possible options: WR Golden Tate, Notre Dame; WR Demaryius Thomas, Georgia Tech; DE Corey Wootton, Northwestern; DE Alex Carrington, Arkansas State; LB Jason Pierre-Paul, South Florida; S Nate Allen, South Florida