'18 NFL Draft - Overview of the AFC

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Tony Pauline

Draft Analyst Writer

Keeping in mind it’s only on paper and you really can’t “grade” a draft until two or three years down the line, here are some initial thoughts on what took place this weekend in the AFC. We’ll take a deeper dive into each team next week.

AFC East

Buffalo Bills: The Bills did a bang-up job. They may have selected their quarterback of the future in Josh Allen and got great value in Tremaine Edmunds, and Harrison Phillips is a future starter.

Miami Dolphins: The Bills may have come away with higher-rated prospects, but the Dolphins filled a lot of holes. Michael Gesicki and Durham Smythe will be a one-two punch at tight end for years to come. Kalen Ballage has tremendous upside, and Minkah Fitzpatrick was excellent value.

New England Patriots: Isaiah Wynn and Sony Michel improve the offense. Duke Dawson adds talent to the secondary. They traded down a bunch of times, so next year’s draft will also have an impact on this year’s result.

New York Jets: The Jets first two picks, Sam Darnold and Nathan Shepherd, have great upside but also a big bust factor. Parry Nickerson was a steal while Trent Cannon will surprise.

AFC North

Baltimore Ravens: The Ravens won big by virtue of being able to trade down multiple times, which was their goal entering the draft. Kenny Young and Anthony Averett bring speed to the defense, Lamar Jackson is a long-term option at quarterback and Gregory Senat should develop in time to protect Jackson.

Cincinnati Bengals: There’s no “wow” factor in this draft, but the Bengals did a solid job and plugged holes with good prospects. Billy Price will develop into a dominant center, Jessie Bates III will be a very good starting free safety and Darius Phillips will be a very good nickel corner.

Cleveland Browns: The more things change, the more they remain the same. I hate to be negative about John Dorsey, a guy I like and feel will do a good job, but there’s just too much risk in this draft for a team that needed sure things.

Pittsburgh Steelers: No one will ever be able to justify Terrell Edmunds in Round 1, but after that they did a good job. Jaylen Samuels and Josh Frazier were both last-day steals.

AFC South

Houston Texans: For a team that did not have a pick until the third round, the Texans did a good job. Keke Coutee is a home-run threat as a receiver and return specialist while Duke Ejiofor was great value in the late rounds.

Indianapolis Colts: It was a mixed bag for the Colts. Quenton Nelson, Braden Smith and Nyheim Hines were great additions to the offense. Linebackers Darius Leonard and Kemoko Turay were both selected much earlier than we graded them.

Jacksonville Jaguars: The Jaguars got value and impact. Taven Bryan and Ronnie Harrison strengthen an already strong defense. DJ Chark was a brilliant selection and immediately upgrades the receiver position.

Tennessee Titans: The Titans lost out on the player they wanted when Leighton Vander Esch was swiped off the board three picks before them, but they had a solid backup plan in Rashaan Evans. Harold Landry and Dane Cruikshank were both great value.

AFC West

Denver Broncos: The Broncos won and won big. They filled needs and got value right away with Bradley Chubb. Courtland Sutton and DaeSean Hamilton immediately upgrade the receiver position, and Royce Freeman will be a steal.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs draft was a defensive one, as all six selections were prospects from that side of the ball. I especially like the choices of linemen Breeland Speaks and Derrick Nnadi. Armani Watts was an excellent addition at safety.

Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers’ draft was quizzical at times. Derwin James was good value in Round 1, but they came back later and selected the same type of player in Kyzir White. Justin Jones will turn out to be a steal for the team.

Oakland Raiders: The Raiders draft has a lot of potential but also a lot of risk. Kolton Miller possesses a tremendous amount of upside but needs a ton of work. Players like Arden Key, Maurice Hurst and Azeem Victor could all be impact players, but they all could be out of the league very quickly.

NFC Draft Overview