By Don Banks
April 20, 2005
AFC South Five-Year Draft Grades
Buffalo Bills
For better or worse, Tom Donahoe's draft record is going to be decided by how running back Willis McGahee (1st, 2003) and quarterback J.P. Losman (1st, 2004) fare. McGahee started paying dividends last year and forced Travis Henry onto the trading block. The Bills think so much of Losman that they released Drew Bledsoe. Receiver Lee Evans (1st, 2004) is a player, but offensive tackle Mike Williams (1st, 2002) has played soft and been a disappointment for the fourth overall pick. The top of the 2001 class was very strong.
Miami Dolphins
The Ricky Williams deal cost the Dolphins their first-rounders in 2002-2003, and in the end didn't work out so well. The top of the draft has been a disaster, with guard Vernon Carey (1st, 2004), linebacker Eddie Moore (2nd, 2003) and cornerback Jamar Fletcher (1st, 2001) all being underachievers. Miami does deserve a nod for receiver Chris Chambers (2nd, 2001), center Seth McKinney (3rd, 2002) and tight end Randy McMichael (4th, 2002).
New England Patriots
The Bill Belichick-Scott Pioli era has been a textbook case of how to use the draft wisely. For starters, they were the lucky stiffs who finally selected Tom Brady in the sixth round in 2000. But it's not the home run the Patriots are known for as much as the solid, run-scoring double. David Givens (7th, 2002), Dan Koppen (5th, 2003), Asante Samuel (4th, 2003) and Dexter Reid (4th, 2004) are all dependable contributors. And the top of the draft has yielded production from Daniel Graham (1st, 2002), Deion Branch (2nd, 2002), Richard Seymour (1st, 2001), Matt Light (2nd, 2001), Ty Warren (1st, 2003) and Eugene Wilson (2nd, 2003).
New York Jets
Last year was very strong, with Jonathan Vilma (1st) and Erik Coleman (5th) making immediate contributions. But the Jets have gotten nowhere near enough defensive impact from the top two picks of the previous two years: Bryan Thomas and Jon McGraw in 2002, and Dewayne Robertson and Victor Hobson in 2003. The 2001 draft was solid with Santana Moss, LaMont Jordan and Kareem McKenzie going 1-2-3, and the vaunted four first-round pick haul of 2000 had more hits (Chad Pennington, John Abraham and Shaun Ellis) than misses (Anthony Becht).

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