Gil Brandt of NFL.com has worked closely with the NFL draft for several decades. He is a former director of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys for 28 years and now helps college prospects get through the pre-draft process during the NFL combine.
Brandt released his latest mock draft this week. Here is how he currently views the picks in the AFC East:
No. 8: Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Brandt’s pick: Alec Ogletree, MLB, Georgia
Analysis: This pick makes sense for Buffalo. The Bills need linebacker help in the worst way. They were ranked 31st against the run and the defense was bullied on a consistent basis. Ogletree is a physical and athletic middle linebacker. He also has experience playing in a 3-4 defense at Georgia, which is important under new Bills defensive coordinator Mike Pettine. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o got most of the national headlines and recognition last season. But there are a lot of questions currently surrounding Te'o. Also, Ogletree has more natural athleticism.
No. 9: New York Jets (6-10)
Brandt’s pick: Jarvis Jones, OLB, Georgia
Analysis: The Jets need a lot of things, and I’m not sure linebacker should be their first order of business. Jones is a playmaker who can rush the passer. But the Jets drafted front seven on defense in the first round two straight years with Muhammad Wilkerson and Quinton Coples. The Jets would be better served boosting their anemic offense. Drafting a top receiver, running back, tight end or quarterback could go a long way. Anything that would help New York score more points.
No. 12: Miami Dolphins (7-9)
Brandt’s pick: Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
Analysis: Similar to the Jets, Miami should focus more on offense in the draft. The Dolphins’ front seven on defense is solid. I understand Brandt’s thinking that Miami could use another pass-rushing end opposite Cameron Wake, especially if defensive tackle Randy Starks bolts in free agency and end Jared Odrick moves inside. Ansah could provide that. But I think rookie Olivier Vernon has some potential as a pass-rushing end and the Dolphins don’t have to use a first-round pick on that position. Miami needs offensive skill players early in the draft to build around young quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
No. 31: New England Patriots (12-4)
Brandt’s pick: John Jenkins, DT, Georgia
Analysis: It’s curious that Brandt pegs the Patriots with the 31st pick. Does that mean New England will advance to the Super Bowl and lose to the Atlanta Falcons? Brandt has the Patriots selecting Jenkins near the end of the first round. New England won’t have a lot of needs and is in position to take the best-available player. But the Patriots could use some youth and athleticism at wide receiver or safety.