Patriots

Here's how the rest of the AFC East drafted

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Here's how the rest of the AFC East drafted

By DannyPicard
CSNNE.com

FOXBORO -- @font-face font-family: "Times New Roman";p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal margin: 0in 0in 0.0001pt; font-size: 12pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; table.MsoNormalTable font-size: 10pt; font-family: "Times New Roman"; div.Section1 page: Section1; With the New England Patriots trading their 28th overallpick to the New Orleans Saints on Thursday night, the AFC East saw only fourtotal draft selections in the first round.

All four teams in the division made one pick, with theBuffalo Bills selecting Alabama defensive end Marcell Dareus, third overall.

What we like about him is his size, speed and athleticability, said Bills general manager Buddy Nix. And on top of all of that ishow hard he plays. Hes got a great motor, plays hard, tries to make a playevery snap, and we need that."

The great thing about Marcell is we saw him playing on thetight end, on the tackle, on the guard and on the center, said Bills coachChan Gailey. He gives you a lot of versatility and well play him at defensiveend initially in our scheme. But I can see him lining up in a lot of differentspots for us as time goes on. I think he is a forceful player. You cant saythat about every defensive player that comes along. There are a lot of peoplewho make plays, but he is a force. He creates havoc on the offensive side andthat was one of the things that we obviously liked about him.

Dareus is considered, by some, to be the most completedefensive lineman in the entire draft class, and was one of two defensivelinemen taken by an AFC team in the first round.

The other wasTemple defensive tackle Muhammad Wilkerson. He was taken 30th overall by theNew York Jets, and is considered to be a five-technique defensive tackle because ofhis size and strength.

Playing at Temple, Wilkerson didnt face strong competition,and is considered a raw, but promising player.

Wes Bunting, of the National Football Post, told CSNNE.com,Everyone is sky high on this kid, but hes kind of a flavor of the month guyfrom a smaller 1-A school. Hes got great size, but hes just raw. Id have ahard time taking a guy like Wilkerson in the first round who is a potentialstarter. I dont think hell contribute right away.

The Miami Dolphins went a similar route as the Patriots withtheir first-round pick on Thursday night, drafting Florida offensive linemanMike Pouncey, 15th overall.

The second and third rounds resume on Friday, and thePatriots will have five total picks in those rounds, which is one more pickthan the total number of combined picks that Buffalo, New York, and Miami havein the second and third rounds.

The Patriots have three second rounders (33rd overall, 56,and 60) and two third rounders (74 and 92) on Friday. Meanwhile, the Bills arethe only other team in the division with a second-round pick, at 34th overall.

The Bills, Jets, and Dolphins will each have one third-roundselection. Buffalo picks at 68th overall, while Miami picks at 79 and New Yorkpicks at 94.

Danny Picard is onTwitter at http:twitter.comDannyPicard.

QUICK SLANTS PODCAST: Belichick ignoring noise? Or trying to change the narrative?

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QUICK SLANTS PODCAST: Belichick ignoring noise? Or trying to change the narrative?

3:00 Why has Bill Belichick been so surprisingly positive of his team’s performance in tight wins?

6:30 Phil Perry breaks down what grades he gave the Patriots on his report card following the win over the Jets

15:00 Reaction to the Austin-Seferian Jenkins overturned touchdown, and what changes need to be made in the NFL replay system. 

23:00 Why was Patriots offensive line much more effective against Jets?

NBC SPORTS BOSTON SCHEDULE

25:00 Patriots-Falcons preview, how did Falcons blow a 17 point lead to the Dolphins?

What's missing from Patriots? A defense that has a clue

What's missing from Patriots? A defense that has a clue

FOXBORO - We’re not quite at the point of fire and brimstone coming down from the skies, or 40 years of darkness, or even dogs and cats living together, but this Patriots season isn’t headed down the right path, despite a 4-2 record and the top spot in the AFC East. 

There are several elements that appear missing at this juncture - chief among them a defense that actually has a clue. Please don’t celebrate holding the Jets to 17 points - I’m looking at you, Dont’a Hightower. Josh McCown threw for just 194 yards against the Cleveland freakin’ Browns for goodness sake, but he got you for 354 and two scores?! Even the 2009 Patriots defense is offended by that.

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We’d be foolish to think the Pats can’t get this leaky unit fixed for reasons so obvious I won’t state them in this space so as not to waste my time or yours. We also know - long before Bill Belichick’s 6 1/2-minute explanation on the Monday conference call - that it's not supposed to be perfect right now. Actually, it’ll never be perfect. That’s not how this game works. 

Yet week after week, we see uncommon breakdowns and one defender looking at the next as if to say, “I thought you had him?” or more to the point, “what the hell were you doing?” It started Sunday at MetLife on the third play of the game. Malcolm Butler, playing 10 yards off Robby Anderson, looking as if he’s never played the position before, inexplicably turning his back on Anderson even though the wide receiver makes no real move to the post. That results in just about the easiest completion of McCown’s life, a 23-yarder on third-and-10. 

On the same series, on another third-and-long, the Pats rushed four and dropped seven into coverage. Defensive end Cassius Marsh continued his season-long trend of rushing so far upfield he ended up in Hoboken. With Deatrich Wise ridden outside on the opposite edge, McCown wisely stepped up and found prime real estate with New York City views. He wanted to throw and could have when the Pats fouled up a crossing route from the backside of the play. But with that much room to roam, McCown took off, scooting for a quick 16 yards and another first down.

Fittingly, that drive ended with a Jets touchdown on yet another dumb play, this one courtesy of Mr. Hit or Miss, Elandon Roberts. Channeling his inner Brandon Spikes, the second-year pro blew off his key and responsibility on third-and-goal from the 1, charging hard to the line. This, despite one of the most feeble play-action fakes you’ll see. In fact, I’m not even sure it was a real play-action fake. Anyway, score it as a touchdown to Austin Seferian-Jenkins and an indictment on David Harris, who apparently can’t vault past the erratic Roberts on the depth chart.

Similar to the week prior in Tampa, the Pats found better footing after that. They forced three straight three-and-outs in the second quarter and then helped turn the game when Butler intercepted an ill-advised throw by McCown just prior to the half. They got another turnover to start the third, with Butler coming off the edge on fourth-and-1 and forcing McCown into panic mode. The veteran QB fired an off-target throw to - get this - a wide open receiver who went uncovered on a drag route and Devin McCourty was gifted an interception.

But this group frowns on prosperity. It took a little-seen rule to prevent a Seferian-Jenkins touchdown in the fourth, and on the game’s final drive, the Pats allowed a 32-yard completion on fourth-and-12. Then, on what turned out to be the Jets final play, the Pats let Tavaris Cadet leak out of the backfield and run unchecked 20 yards down the field. Had McCown not soiled himself again, Gang Green would have had a first down and at least one crack at the end zone. Then, who knows what the heck happens?

It was just a season ago that the Patriots led the entire NFL in scoring defense. If you’ll recall, we spent a better part of the year wondering if that defense was championship quality. Turns out they were. Right now, we’re wondering once again if this defense is of that ilk, but through an entirely different prism. It’s on the players and staff to change the current outlook, or those cats and dogs will have to figure out their shared space.