AFC East Q&A: Who is division's rising star?

Today's question: Who is the rising star in the AFC East?

Mike Rodak, Buffalo Bills: This is relative. I believe Sammy Watkins -- if he can stay healthy -- will take a step forward this season and become a top-15 receiver in the NFL, but his celebrity has already been established. Among the players who might not be considered stars but could rise into that category is New England linebacker Jamie Collins, a 2013 second-round pick who emerged as one of the Patriots' best players in their Super Bowl run last season. He's an off-the-charts athlete who recorded four sacks, two forced fumbles and one interception in the final five games last season. He'll be important for the Patriots in defending opposing tight ends Charles Clay and Jordan Cameron, as well as the Jets' spread attack.

James Walker, Miami Dolphins: I really liked the Jets' pick of rookie defensive lineman Leonard Williams at No. 6 overall. I think it was one of the best value selections of this draft and a case of going with the best available player regardless of the position. The Jets didn't need another stud defensive lineman -- they already have Sheldon Richardson and Muhammad Wilkerson, who are expected to start at defensive end ahead of Williams. But new Jets head coach Todd Bowles is a smart enough defensive mind to find ways to get Williams on the field. The stats might not jump off the board right away this season, but in the long run, Williams -- who recently turned 21 -- will be one of the top young players in the AFC East for years to come.

Mike Reiss, New England Patriots: One could go in several directions, but how about Dolphins second-year receiver Jarvis Landry? When choosing a "rising star," one requirement for me was that there had to be some notable production already. Landry totaled 84 receptions as a rookie, so the foundation is there for potentially an even greater contribution in 2015. The 5-foot-11, 202-pound Landry is also a factor as a punt returner and reminds me a bit of Packers receiver Randall Cobb, a 2011 second-round pick who is now considered one of the NFL's better receivers after putting up 80- and 91-catch seasons in 2012 and 2014, respectively.

Rich Cimini, New York Jets: The trendy pick might be Watkins, but I'm taking Collins, who is beginning his third season. He was a raw talent when he came into the league as a second-round pick, but he took a tremendous leap in his second season, posting four sacks, four forced fumbles and two interceptions. In the age of specialization, here's a linebacker who can do everything: rush the passer, drop into coverage and play the run. He played 85 percent of the defensive snaps, which illustrates his every-down prowess. If Collins continues his ascent, the Patriots will have an All-Pro-caliber player. Considering their well-documented issues at cornerback -- like, they're all gone -- the Patriots will be heavily reliant on the front seven. A player like Collins, who's versatile and dynamic, makes it a feasible plan. Just watch, he'll emerge as one of the leaders on the Patriots' defense.