Brady best buy in AFC East, but Bills lead way

Posted by ESPN.com's Tim Graham
AFC South potentate Paul Kuharsky and Ryan McCrystal from ESPN Stats & Information worked together on a cool project to determine the 50 best buys in NFL draft history.

Every player in ESPN's draft database was applied to a formula that awarded points for top individual honors and Super Bowls. An MVP award was worth 15 points. Each first-team All-Pro selection was worth five points. Super Bowl victories were good for five points. Super Bowl losses garnered 2.5 points.

Player scores then were adjusted based on where they were drafted.

Here are the best buys with AFC East ties:

3. Brett Favre (84.74 points): If not for legends finishing their careers in green and white, the New York Jets wouldn't be represented among the top 50 best buys. Favre spent his final season with the Jets before retiring -- we think -- and accumulated all of his points with the Green Bay Packers.

8. Tom Brady (71.34 points): The New England Patriots quarterback has a chance to rise up the chart because he's the youngest player on the entire list. The only active player ranked higher is Indianapolis Colts star Peyton Manning.

20. Ronnie Lott (65.54): The legendary defensive back amassed all of his points before he joined the Jets, with whom he played his final two seasons.

22. Bruce Smith (64.49 points): The NFL's all-time sackmaster is rated as the second-best No. 1 overall draft pick behind Manning and one of only five on the entire list. Smith played in four Super Bowls with the Buffalo Bills.

42. Zach Thomas (54.50 points): The celebrated Miami Dolphins linebacker is the highest-rated active player with AFC East ties on the list behind Brady. Thomas, a fifth-round draft pick out of Texas Tech, made five All-Pro teams.

43. O.J. Simpson (54.40 points): With an MVP and five All-Pro honors, he's more decorated than Zach Thomas, but Simpson was the No. 1 draft pick in 1969. Thomas catches up based on the draft-slot adjustment.

49. Thurman Thomas (53.30 points): Barely one point separates the two greatest running backs in Bills history. Thurman Thomas was named All-Pro only twice, but his four Super Bowl appearances get him on the list.

50. Rodney Harrison (53.24 points): His best individual years were with the San Diego Chargers, but team success with the Patriots and a big draft-slot adjustment gave the fifth-round pick from Western Illinois just enough points to make the top 50.