Tuesday April 19th, 2005

AFC East Draft Needs
Buffalo Bills
Left offensive tackle, cornerback, defensive tackle
If the Bills get their long-discussed deal with Arizona done at draft time -- shipping running back Travis Henry to the Cardinals for left offensive tackle L.J. Shelton -- they will have addressed their one crying need, which was created when Jonas Jennings signed with San Francisco. Other than that, without a first-round pick, Buffalo likely has to concentrate on adding depth at both cornerback and in its defensive tackle rotation in rounds two and three. More competition also is needed in the interior offensive line, at tight end, at running back (if Henry goes) and inside linebacker.
Miami Dolphins
Running back, outside linebacker, quarterback
The entire world knows the Dolphins need a running back, but they're not a lock to take one in the No. 2 slot as first assumed. If Miami deals down with Tampa Bay and winds up picking fifth (or even lower in the top 10) the odds improve that it'll be doing that with a running back in mind. A.J. Feeley has a nominal hold on the starting-quarterback job, but don't discount a first-day quarterback selection that would give new head coach Nick Saban another option on that front. Outside linebacker makes sense because of the wear showing in Junior Seau's game.
New England Patriots
Inside linebacker, cornerback, guard
Tedy Bruschi's health situation and Ted Johnson's age make inside linebacker the most obvious need position. The Patriots are great at filling holes with what's available, but losing veterans such as cornerback Ty Law, guard Joe Andruzzi and receiver David Patten this offseason created well-defined areas of concern on the depth chart. With nine picks, expect the Patriots to use at least two of them on the offensive line, where a tackle and a guard are needed. Even with the acquisition of Duane Starks, more bodies at cornerback, where the Patriots seem to go through a ton of players, would be a wise expenditure as well.
New York Jets
Cornerback, offensive tackle, tight end
The Jets are looking for a burst of speed at cornerback to inject more life into their improved defense, and that's why a player such as Nebraska's Fabian Washington -- who ran 4.25 at the scouting combine -- is on their radar screen. But New York at No. 26 also must take stock of what's available in the offensive tackle market when its turn comes around, as the loss of Kareem McKenzie on the right side gives them an obvious need. The departure of tight end Anthony Becht also makes it tempting to consider Virginia's Heath Miller in the first round.

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