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AFC East 2023 NFL Draft Recap

AFC East

The 2023 NFL Draft is behind us and now we head into the review process. Over the next two weeks, the Draft Countdown staff will break down each team’s draft hauls, division-by-division. Today, I look at the four teams in the AFC East!

How did the Bills, Dolphins, Jets, and Patriots make out? Let’s take a look.

AFC East 2023 NFL Draft Recap

BUFFALO BILLS

1 25 TE Dalton Kincaid Utah
2 59 IOL O’Cyrus Torrence Florida
3 91 LB Dorian Williams Tulane
5 150 WR Justin Shorter Florida
7 230 IOL Nick Broeker Mississippi
7 252 CB Alex Austin Oregon State

The Bills did a great job adding impact pieces to their roster. Dalton Kincaid will pair nicely with Dawson Knox. In fact, I would suspect Kincaid will take a lot of the slot snaps vacated by Cole Beasley. O’Cyrus Torrence is a bully in the run game but could use some refinement as a pass blocker. I expect him to replace Ryan Bates at right guard soon. Buffalo had a need at LB and Dorian Williams is a great seek-and-destroy type of player. I believe that Nick Broeker and Alex Austin can compete for reserve roles on the team. I have no such confidence in WR Justin Shorter. 

Best Pick: O’Cyrus Torrence, IOL, Florida

Biggest Reach: Justin Shorter, WR, Florida

Day 3 Pick to Watch: Nick Broeker, IOL, Mississippi

PFA Name to Know: Richard Gouraige, OT, Florida

MIAMI DOLPHINS

2 51 CB Cam Smith South Carolina
3 84 RB Devon Achane Texas A&M
6 197 WR Elijah Higgins Stanford
7 238 OT Ryan Hayes Michigan

The Dolphins only had four picks but they made them count. Cam Smith was a tremendous value pick in round two. He should be the first corner off the bench this season. With an eye toward eventually replacing Xavien Howard or Jalen Ramsey. Devon Achane is one of the fastest players in this draft class. He averaged over 7 ypc in the SEC this past season. Achane can run competently between the tackles, despite his smaller frame. Elijah Higgins should seamlessly fill in for Mike Gesicki in the big slot role on their offense. Ryan Hayes could be a nice reserve lineman.  

Best Pick: Cam Smith, CB, South Carolina

Biggest Reach: None

Day 3 Pick to Watch: Elijah Higgins, WR, Stanford

PFA Name to Know: Aubrey Miller Jr., LB, Jackson State

NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS

1 17 CB Christian Gonzalez Oregon
2 46 EDGE Keion White Georgia Tech
3 76 S Marte Mapu Sacramento State
4 107 IOL Jake Andrews Troy
4 112 K Chad Ryland Maryland
4 117 IOL Sidy Sow Eastern Michigan
5 144 IOL Atonio Mafi UCLA
6 187 WR Kayshon Boutte LSU
6 192 P Bryce Baringer Michigan State
6 210 WR Demario Douglas Liberty
6 214 CB Ameer Speed Michigan State
7 245 CB Isaiah Bolden Jackson State

The Patriots had 12 picks in this year’s class. They did a great job maneuvering around the board. They dropped back three spots in round one and took my top CB in this class, Christian Gonzalez. Gonzalez has the length and speed New England sorely lacked at that spot a year ago. It should also allow Marcus Jones to kick inside to nickel if they want. The Patriots added a potential upgrade at 5-tech with Georgia Tech’s Keion White. Marte Mapu is a hybrid safety/LB that fits the Patriots’ defense like a glove. They have had a ton of success with small school players in the past like Kyle Dugger

I like them seeing their interior offensive line depth was lacking and they took Jake Andrews (C/G), Antonio Mafi (G/T), and Sidy Sow (G/T). I also like taking a flier on Kayson Boutte in the 6th. If he can regain his form from two years ago at LSU, great! if not, no big loss.

New England was also clearly not happy with their special teams’ units. They selected kicker Chad Ryland in the 4th and punter Bryce Baringer in the 6th. Long snapper Joe Cardona was clearly safe.

Best Pick: Christian Gonzalez, CB, Oregon

Biggest Reach: Jake Andrews, IOL, Troy

Day 3 Pick to Watch: Kayshon Boutte, WR, LSU

PFA Name to Know: Johnny Lumpkin, TE, Louisiana

NEW YORK JETS

1 15 EDGE Will McDonald IV Iowa State
2 43 IOL Joe Tippmann Wisconsin
4 120 OT Carter Warren Pittsburgh
5 143 RB Israel Abanikanda Pittsburgh
6 184 LB Zaire Barnes Western Michigan
6 204 CB Jarrick Bernard-Converse LSU
7 220 TE Zack Kuntz Old Dominion

The Jets kind of reached for a few picks at the top. After losing out on Broderick Jones in round one, it seems they grabbed Will McDonald IV about a half-round too soon. The same can be said for IOL Joe Tippman. I like the day three selections of RB Israel Abanikanda and CB Jerrick Bernard-Converse. TE Zack Kuntz is the most athletic tight end to test since 1987. That is worth a gamble in round 7. 

Best Pick: Will McDonald IV, EDGE, Iowa State

Biggest Reach: Carter Warren, OT, Pittsburgh

Day 3 Pick to Watch: Israel Abanikanda, RB, Pittsburgh

PFA Name to Know: Jason Brownlee, WR, Southern Miss

2023 NFL DRAFT REVIEWS

NFC EAST

AFC EAST

AFC SOUTH

NFC SOUTH

AFC WEST

NFC WEST

AFC NORTH

NFC NORTH

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