Somehow, things had gone the New England Patriots’ way at 2013 NFL Draft before they even made a pick. With three other AFC East teams desperate to reload in the draft and try to knock off the reigning AFC East champion Patriots, the Miami Dolphins, New York Jets, and Buffalo Bills have all turned heads and sparked immediate debate online as their draft picks came to light. Whether trading up, trading down, or reaching for a desperate need, the Patriots were on the minds of their rivals. With the AFC East top ten picks reviewed here, there was still plenty of activity by the AFC East teams in the back-half of the first round and in the first half of the second round of the 2013 NFL Draft.
With the thirteenth pick of the first round, the New York Jets added yet another young defensive tackle after taking Muhammad Wilkerson in the first and Kenrick Ellis in the third round in 2011 and Quinton Coples in the first round of 2012. Probably the only position not desperately in need of young talent saw the Jets add another player, Sheldon Richardson of Missouri, to their interior defensive line. Considering they used their first pick at ninth overall to select cornerback Dee Milliner to replace the departed star Darrelle Revis.
All that, of course, went out the window with the Jets’ selection of West Virginia quarterback Geno Smith with the seventh pick of the second round. Smith, an expected first day pick, was left alone in the green room waiting for his name to be called all night on Thursday. Suddenly, the team that redefined dysfunction at the quarterback position in 2012, took the next step towards duplicating and even topping that nightmare. Quarterback Mark Sanchez, one year after being inexplicably given a huge extension full of guaranteed money and forced to have backup quarterback Tim Tebow looking over his shoulder, now has to contend with the quarterback of the future arriving today in New York.
The Buffalo Bills, expected to be in on a quarterback, surprised all the pundits Thursday night by passing on Geno Smith, and grabbing Florida State quarterback E.J. Manuel. Manuel, a quarterback more in the mold of a “pistol QB” brings the Bills a quarterback who needs time to develop and drops him into an environment made up of great football fans frenzied for their team to start winning again, and putting the hopes of all of Western New York on this young quarterback. The Bills made a huge gamble, and no doubt the thought of Manuel and running back C.J. Spiller running amok over opposing defenses over the next year in their heads, but will have difficulty winning with a young quarterback.