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Thoughts on the AFC East's picks in rounds 4 through 7 of the NFL draft

Posted by Erik Frenz  April 27, 2013 07:55 PM

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Quick thoughts on the players selected to the AFC East on Saturday.

New England Patriots


  • Round 4, pick 102: Josh Boyce, WR, TCU
  • Round 7, pick 226: Michael Buchanan, DE, Illinois
  • Round 7, pick 235: Steve Beauharnais, ILB, Rutgers

The Patriots completed the double-dip at wide receiver by selecting Josh Boyce. He fits the profile of a Patriots wide receiver, with a fast three-cone drill (6.68 seconds) ranking him among the top five in that drill at the combine. He also ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash according to NFL.com, all on a broken foot. At 5'11" and 203 pounds, he's built like a brick and has the versatility to line up inside or outside.

Buchanan gives the Patriots another pass-rushing option at defensive end. His length makes him an intriguing prospect, standing 6'5" with 34" long arms. He logged just 12 sacks over the past two years, but he knows how to get into the backfield and had a total of 26 tackles for loss in the past three years. His best year came in 2011, when he had 7.5 sacks and helped the Illini rank third in the nation against the pass.

Steve Beauharnais completes the hat trick of Rutgers prospects. The inside linebacker was one of the leaders of the Scarlet Knights defense, and he has a nose for making plays in the backfield (22 tackles for loss, six sacks past two seasons). NFL.com's scouting report lauds his ability to play with good pad level against the run, and although he's not an exceptional athlete, he has versatility to play the run as a read-and-react defender as well as to rush the passer, either with his hand in the dirt or from a two-point stance.

New York Jets


  • Round 5, pick 141: Oday Aboushi, OT, Virginia
  • Round 6, pick 178: William Campbell, DT, Michigan
  • Round 7, pick 215: Tommy Bohanon, FB, Wake Forest

With both Matt Slauson and Brandon Moore headed out of New York, the Jets needed to take some shots at the board to fill their two vacant starting spots at guard. They started that with Brian Winters in the third round, and took Oday Aboushi with their next pick. He could back-up Austin Howard at right tackle, where he played at Virginia, but at 6'6" and 308 pounds, he doesn't quite have the quick feet and athleticism to remain an effective pass-blocking tackle in the NFL.

William Campbell is an interesting pick for the Jets. He was a defensive tackle at Michigan, but will switch to offensive line in the NFL. According to ESPN, he worked out as an offensive linemen in two of his three private workouts. He will probably not make an immediate impact as he learns his new position, but he wouldn't be the first Jets draft pick to successfully make that switch -- Brandon Moore did so coming out of Viriginia back in 2003.

Tommy Bohanon has some versatility to his game. He is a great blocker. He put up 36 reps on the 225-pound bench press at the combine, and he uses his strength functionally for bone-jarring blocks when out in front of his running back. He had 50 career carries (three touchdowns) and 51 career receptions (seven touchdowns), evidence of his versatility in the running and passing game.

Buffalo Bills


  • Round 4, pick 105: Duke Williams, S, Nevada
  • Round 5, pick 143: Jonathan Meeks, S, Clemson
  • Round 6, pick 177: Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State
  • Round 7, pick 222: Chris Gragg, TE, Arkansas

Well, things just got a lot more uncomfortable for safety Jairus Byrd. He has yet to show up for team workouts, and was given the franchise tag for 2013, but he was put on notice by the Bills when they drafted safeties with back-to-back selections.

Williams' burst and closing speed are likely a product of his experience help make him the hardest-hitting safety on the roster, but he will likely be used primarily against the run and as a blitzing safety.

Meeks is a bit bigger than Williams at 6'1" and 210 pounds, and will probably contribute mainly on special teams to start his career. This is just another big, hard-hitting safety to add to Mike Pettine's beffy secondary. The Bills brought him in for a pre-draft visit with Buffalo, so their interest has been evident for awhile.

A kicker may seem like a rather innocuous pick, but the Bills absolutey needed a new kicker. The Bills had very little confidence in Lindell's ability to kick long field goals last year, attempting just two of over 50 yards in 2012. Dustin Hopkins went five-of-six on such attempts as a senior at FSU, so there's much less trepidation in his leg strength.

At 6'3" and 244 pounds, Gragg isn't the ideal size for a true in-line blocking tight end, but he has the speed to get downfield and the ability to pick up yards after the catch. His ball skills and catch radius make him an intriguing fit in the passing game. He put his physical skills on display at the combine, running a 4.5-second 40-yard dash and posting a 37.5" vertical according to NFL.com. Coupled with Scott Chandler, the Bills have a talented duo of pass-catching tight ends.

Miami Dolphins


  • Round 4, pick 104: Jelani Jenkins, LB, Florida
  • Round 4, pick 106: Dion Sims, TE, Michigan State
  • Round 5, pick 164: Mike Gillislee, RB, Florida
  • Round 5, pick 166: Caleb Sturgis, K, Florida
  • Round 7, pick 250: Don Jones, SS, Arkansas State

The Dolphins cornered the market on Florida players in the late rounds, with three of their first four selections on the third day of the draft.

Jelani Jenkins started 31 games at linebacker for Florida. He has skills in coverage, which could be of service to a Dolphins team that loaded up on blitzing linebackers in free-agency, but there may not be room for him to get significant playing time on defense. He will have to make a majority of his impact on special teams.

Dion Sims is more of a blocking tight end than a receiver, and put up just 59 receptions for 707 yards and eight touchdowns in his Michigan State career, but he has underrated athleticism and could be used more as a receiver if the Dolphins choose. He has the ball skills, leaping ability and an understanding of how to get open against zone coverage. His versatility gives the Dolphins a nice complement to Dustin Keller, who is almost exclusively a receiving tight end.

Adding Mike Gillislee is a slam-dunk pick, as it rounds out the roster with a third young back. His production at Florida -- 10 touchdowns on 244 carries -- is indicative not only of his nose for the end zone, but also of his low odometer; with just 389 career carries at Florida, there's still a lot of tread left on the tires.

Kicker Dan Carpenter has missed two games to injury in each of the past two years, and hit a rough patch early in the season where his confidence seemed shaken (went five-of-nine in Weeks 3 through 5). Caleb Sturgis converted 34 of his 35 field goal tries (97.1 percent) and missed just three field goals over the past three years.

Colleague Zuri Berry highlighted Don Jones in a pre-draft scouting report, highlighting his game-breaking speed and overall physical tools as his most intriguing quality.

At the Arkansas State pro day, he ran a 4.42 and 4.40 40-yard dash, according to NFLDraftScout.com. He also recorded a remarkable 42-inch vertical jump, which has skyrocketed his draft stock. While he was estimated as a third- or fourth-round pick originally, that has more than likely changed.

Considering the Dolphins had him for a seventh-round pick, it's safe to say they got a steal for a safety with a lot of potential.

This blog is not written or edited by Boston.com or the Boston Globe.
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About the author

Erik Frenz delivers analysis of the biggest news with the Patriots, including insight into the AFC East and New England's biggest rivals from a Patriots perspective. Erik is an interactive writer who engages his audience in his posts’ comments sections and on Twitter. Readers are encouraged to share their thoughts and ask questions. More »


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