Chat with James Walker
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, ESPN.com AFC East blogger James Walker will stop by to chat about the NFL and what to expect from your team.
Walker joined ESPN.com in 2008 after three seasons covering the Cleveland Browns for the Columbus Dispatch.
Send your questions now and join Walker Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET!
James Walker (4:00 PM)
Good afternoon, everyone. I hope your Tuesday is going well. Let's discuss the AFC East, shall we?
If the Dolphins take Tannehill at #8, or trade up for him, how big does the attendance of Dolphin games drop?
James Walker (4:02 PM)
Kevin, I don't know if attendance can fall any lower. Miami has trouble filling the stadium for most of its home games. However, I really don't like the idea of Miami trading up to get Ryan Tannehill. No. 3 is too high and giving up a first-, second- and third-round pick in the process makes little sense. He's going to ride the pine anyway in 2012. Why give up the farm for a player who probbaly won't contribute right away?
James Walker (4:03 PM)
As far as taking Tannehill at No. 8, I'm warming up to it. That is more reasonable. But who knows if he's a sure thing?
smoke rep (earth)
James - do you think Miami will win more than 8 games this season?
James Walker (4:04 PM)
More than eight games? I would say no, the Dolphins will not finish next season with a winning record.
Hi, I just need enlightenment on how Pats get one of the easiest schedule yet the make it to the Superbowl, Dolphins start the season off 0-7 and finish 6-10 and have 18 hardest make no sense
James Walker (4:06 PM)
A lot of AFC East readers have been asking me this question. Most of it is simple: The AFC East is a weak division. The Patriots play the Jets, Dolphins and Bills twice a year and all finished with non-winning records in 2011. Those teams have to play the Patriots twice, who were 13-3. That hurts the SOS. Also, New England got a little lucky this year by also drawing the NFC West. That division is probably worse than the AFC East.
Steve (Mendon, MA)
James...what would you think of a Patriots/Colts Week 1 matchup in Foxboro?? I think it'd be a great idea to see if Andrew Luck can live up to his hype right off the bat
James Walker (4:08 PM)
I'd rather have Denver and Peyton Manning at Gillette Stadium in Week 1. I think that would be a doozy. Luck is an interesting story, but I don't expect the Colts to be very good next season.
sean (rochester) [via mobile]
If the bills can stay healthy can they contend for the division....beat the patriots once last year without williams or anderson
James Walker (4:11 PM)
I like what the Bills are doing. They are actually my sleeper pick to surprise a lot of people in 2012. But the AFC East is still the Patriots' division to lose. They are the best team with the best QB and have the easiest schedule. That will be tough for Buffalo, NY or Miami to overcome. I think the No. 2 spot in the division (and potentially the wild card) is wide open. That's a reasonable goal for the Bills, who haven't been to the playoffs since 1999.
What are the chances of the Bills trading up to get Kalil? it seems this would solidify their line and be well worth the investment. There are many receivers to take in later rounds.
James Walker (4:13 PM)
This speculation is starting to grow legs but don't count on it, Steve. Kalil is one of the safest picks in this draft. But giving up your first three picks to get him is too much. Buffalo will have solid options at No. 1 The Bills just need to stay there and take the best player that fits their needs.
Nick (Buffalo )
Why is it that everybody has Buffalo taking Riley Reiff at 10? Buffalo was in a position to take Brian Bulaga a couple of years ago and took Spiller instead with the same need at left tackle. They look to be the same prospect and it looks like Buddy Nix favors other tacks such as Glenn, and Martin.
James Walker (4:17 PM)
Nix is known to stay true to the board, and Spiller was one example of that. But Buffalo can't play around this year. This is a huge season for everyone involved. The Bills can't take another RB or a player for the sake of being the highest on the board. They need someone who can help them now and make an immediate impact. Bills need a LT and that's why Reiff is getting a lot of projections.
Between the Jets' circus, the Dolphins' inadequacies, and the fact that nobody really knows what kind of team the Bills are, do you even see anyone seriously challenging the Patriots in the East?
James Walker (4:19 PM)
I mentioned earlier that the division is the Patriots' to lose. Barring injuries, I don't see how they can't win at least 11 or 12 games. I don't see the Bills, Jets or Dolphins matching that win total next season.
smoke rep (earth)
just curious - who is your favorite team anyway? don't be shy.
James Walker (4:20 PM)
Welcome back Walker! What can Miami do in the draft next week to brighten up this terrible offseason?
James Walker (4:23 PM)
Just have a solid draft. That's all the Dolphins can do at this point. Free agency is done and they are going with Moore or Garrard at QB. Now get some good rookies around them and see what they have.
Doug (in class) [via mobile]
All this Miami and Tannehill talk is crazy. If he doesn't fall to 8 would you agree that taking the best player on the board (Coples, Ingram, Reiff) and just wait until next year? What do they have to lose? Whether or not they take a QB this year I'm guessing they will be in a good spot to get Matt Barkley next year...a star Ross would love
James Walker (4:25 PM)
Let's stop the Matt Barkley talk until at least December or January. Who knows what will happen before then. Remember all the Luck to Miami talk last fall? As far as trading up for Tannehill, that would be one of the biggest mistakes Miami could make in this draft. Tannehill might end up being a solid QB, but he's not the third best player in the draft.
If the Bills are considering using their #1 pick on Michael Floyd, why not just sign Mike Wallace and make him essentially your first round pick? Even Todd McShay said the Bills arent in a great spot because of need and talent drop off, so why not pull that trigger on a proven deep threat that they so badly need anyways?
James Walker (4:27 PM)
Xander, huge difference. Wallace will command a big free-agent contract in addition to the No. 10 overall pick going to Pittsburgh. With the way the rookie wage scale is, draft picks are very affordable now. It's better for Buffalo to keep the pick. But a team in the late first round would be better off considering it.
AL or NL?
James Walker (4:28 PM)
I'm not a huge baseball guy buy I like the DH rule. I'm not a fan of watching pitchers bat 3-4 times per game. So AL.
What do you think of the talk about getting rid of kickoffs? Crazy right?!?!
James Walker (4:32 PM)
I haven't really put much thought into it. If a change is made, it won't be for a while. I understand player safety, but there comes a point where you are changing the actual dynamics of the game. Special teams is a big part.
Joe (St. Louis)
Since this is a passing league now.. do you feel the Bills and Pats are the only two teams in this divison that are moving w/ the times offensively?
James Walker (4:34 PM)
I still think you need a good defense. The Jets and Dolphins both have that. The biggest difference now is teams must have a QB. You're not going to beat Brady, the Mannings, Rodgers, etc. on a consistent basis unless you have someone who can keep up with those guys.
Rocky (Sacramento, CA)
I think they should put the kickoff point back to where it was before. Football stinks with all these touchbacks
James Walker (4:36 PM)
Some have argued that point as well. A lot of players made their name on special teams before moving on to bigger and better things. With the amount of touchbacks and potentially eliminating kickoffs, those guys may not get a chance.
Edward (New York)
Do you think Tebow could eventually become starter in a year or 2 or do you think Sanchez will improve?
James Walker (4:38 PM)
I can only look year-to-year. It's too hard to predict things as it is. I take the Jets at their word that they are not looking to replace Mark Sanchez. I think he has to struggle pretty bad to get replaced. If Sanchez plays as poorly as he did down the stretch last year, then it's possible.
Do you think the FINS will finally draft that blue-chip player?
James Walker (4:41 PM)
People get on Miami's drafting and I'm not sure why. The Dolphins/Jeff Ireland have actually been solid in the draft. Jake Long, Mike Pouncey, Vontae Davis, Jared Odrick...these are solid finds.
James will any of the AFC East teams try to make a play for Richardson? Essentially anyone of these teams could a top notch RB.
James Walker (4:46 PM)
I don't see it, Anthony. The Jets would love to have him in their "ground and pound" offense. But Richardson is not falling to No. 16. Otherwise, no one in the AFC East really has interest.
Brendan (New Jersey)
Will Matt Moore do even better than he did last year?
James Walker (4:49 PM)
We have to see if he wins the job first, Brendan. But based on losing his best WR (Brandon Marshall) and the first year in a new offense, I would say no.
Tim (Long Island)
James, who do you see replacing Wayne Hunter at right tackle. Someone in the draft or someone in free agency who hasn't signed? Surely the Jets can't be going with him as the starter going into the season.
James Walker (4:52 PM)
It has to be someone in the draft, Tim. Free agency is just about over. There are no starting RTs out there. I was surprised when the Jets brought Hunter back, at least as a starter. I was not impressed by what I saw last year, and I'm surprised the Jets coaching staff isn't seeing the same thing.
Andrew Buyea (New Orleans)
Would it make sense for the Bills to trade down and try to land extra picks this year, as depth seemed to be the biggest problem last year?
James Walker (4:54 PM)
That's not a bad idea, Andrew. The problem is there must be a player worth trading up for who is available. The two I can think of are QB Ryan Tannehill and RB Trent Richardson. If one of those players fall to No. 10, Buffalo could have some suitors willing to trade draft picks to move up.
Marc Colombo (The Long Grass FL)
I could replace Wayne Hunter, if Coach Sparano would only take my calls!
James Walker (4:55 PM)
Well, that would be an interesting training camp battle. I'm not sure who would win this one.
How is mark sanchez going to develop while splitting time with tebow in the jets new "2 QB" system?
James Walker (4:58 PM)
At this point, I think deep down the Jets know what they have in Sanchez. He's entering his fourth season as a starter. High much higher can his ceiling really be from what they've already seen? If things are clicking, Tebow's Wildcat package is moving the ball and making things easier for Sanchez. I don't think he's ever going to be a 4,400-yard, 40-touchdown type of gunslinger and the Jets know that. So they are working with what they have.
James Walker (5:00 PM)
Everyone, thanks again for the time and questions. Remember to check out the AFC East blog this evening for team-by-team schedule analysis.