Who will be the best newcomer in the AFC East? Our roundtable reporters give their picks.
Rich Cimini, Jets reporter: Sam Darnold, Jets quarterback. Frankly, there wasn't a tremendous influx of proven talent into the division, so I'm taking the rookie Darnold. In my opinion, he's certainly the most important newcomer, a shade ahead of Bills rookie quarterback Josh Allen, who was drafted four slots after Darnold at No. 7 overall. Darnold might not be in the opening-day lineup, but he has the potential to be the solution to the Jets' decades-old quarterback problem. The team's decision-makers absolutely believe he's The Guy. If he is, the Jets will be relevant again. I'm not putting him in Canton, as Bill Parcells might say, but Darnold has the tools and the mental makeup to be special. Now it's just a matter of developing him, which has been a problem for the Jets with past quarterbacks.
Mike Reiss, Patriots reporter: Minkah Fitzpatrick, Dolphins defensive back. While it's tempting to go with quarterbacks Darnold or Allen, and the promise they bring to both franchises is duly noted, I feel more confident in making Fitzpatrick the pick until we see more from the young signal-callers. Fitzpatrick, drafted 11th overall, is a four-down player who has already caught the attention of Dolphins staffers with ball disruption in spring practices. His versatility to play different spots (i.e. cornerback) adds to his value, especially if it means defending some of the game's top tight ends, such as Rob Gronkowski. Fitzpatrick could be a Day 1 starter. Patriots running back Sony Michel also warranted consideration, and had I gone with a free-agent signing over a draft pick, Patriots defensive end Adrian Clayborn and Bills defensive end Trent Murphy would have been among the top candidates.
Mike Rodak, Bills reporter: Frank Gore, Dolphins running back. I will lean on past over potential for this pick, opting for a future Hall of Famer over promising rookies Fitzpatrick, Darnold and Allen. Miami might be the end of the line for Gore, who at 35 is the NFL's oldest running back and ranks fifth all-time in rushing attempts. Whether he plays a major role in a backfield that also includes Kenyan Drake and 2018 fourth-round pick Kalen Ballage remains to be seen, but Gore has posted 12 consecutive seasons with at least 1,000 yards from scrimmage and deserves this recognition. He ranks fifth all-time with 14,026 career rushing yards.