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NFL Draft grades 2013: AFC East squads hoping quarterbacks change future

The Bills and Jets each drafted quarterbacks in hopes of changing the direction of their franchises, while Bill Belichick's somewhat lackluster draft class reminds many of previous Belichick classes that turned out just fine.


The 2013 NFL Draft is over, and the Bills, Jets, and Dolphins hope their drafts can upset the typical Patriots-heavy balance of power in the division, as few considered the Pats to have an elite draft. But then again, people rarely think the Patriots have an elite draft, and they generally turn out pretty well.

The Jets and Bills each nabbed quarterbacks they hope can become starters, although graders had mixed reviews. We looked at three different rankings: Chris Burke's at SI, Rob Rang's at CBS, and Mel Kiper, Jr.'s for ESPN Insider.

Buffalo Bills

Burke: B-
Kiper: C-
Rang: B

After earning the No. 8 pick, Buffalo traded down and picked E.J. Manuel at No. 16, not considered by many to be the top quarterback in the draft. For many, that was enough to ruin the entire draft. But after that, most experts agree the Bills hit needs -- two strong wide receivers for Manuel in USC's Robert Woods and Texas' Marquise Goodwin, and people liked the pick of Oregon linebacker Kiko Alonso and Nevada safety Duke Williams. Their early miss might overshadow the later successes if Manuel doesn't pan out.

New York Jets

Burke: C
Kiper: B
Rang: B

The Jets are intriguing in that probably their most important pick was their third, Geno Smith, who they nabbed at No. 39. Smith will be expected to come in and push Mark Sanchez for the starting spot, and how well he plays will determine whether or not this was a successful draft. Their first-rounders got mixed reviews: some felt it was silly to trade away Darrelle Revis, then use their first pick on another cornerback, but most agree he's the best one in the draft. And Sheldon Richardson doesn't seem an ideal fit for the Jets' front, but some have faith in Rex Ryan's ability to scheme.

New England Patriots

Burke: C+
Kiper: C+
Rang: B-

People give Bill Belichick and the Pats somewhat of a pass when it comes to drafting, as they've got a history of finding under-the-radar guys. That's the vibe they were going for with this draft, trading their first-rounder for some later picks and then using those on some lesser-known guys -- Jamie Collins from an 0-12 team was their first pick, and the team opted for three Rutgers players, including a pick generally considered to be an enormous reach in safety Duron Harmon in the third round. All things told, very Belichick-y, and that tends to work out well, even if it befuddles experts. Adding more weapons for Tom Brady in Aaron Dobson and Josh Boyce is scary.

Miami Dolphins

Burke: B+
Kiper: B-
Rang: B-

How you feel about the Dolphins' draft probably has a lot to do with how you feel about their decision to get rid of the 12th and 42nd pick to get Dion Jordan. Some feel Jordan could be an elite pass-rusher due to his combination of size and speed, but others think he's too much of a gamble for such a high pick. The team's second- and third-round picks, cornerback Jamar Taylor and offensive tackle Dallas Thomas, were very well received, as Thomas could battle to replace Jake Long.

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