My AFC East Roster Grades
Updated: Aug 24
Scoring System Summary - A+ = 10 D+ = 1 , All scores are added up then the average is found giving the score out of 10.
Overall Grade – B+ 6.5
Quarterback – C+
- Josh Allen has a legitimate claim to having the strongest arm in the NFL as well as being the most athletic quarterback not named Lamar Jackson. I believe if Allen can work on his accuracy, he could become one of the league’s best quarterback in the future as there is not a quarterback in the leagues with a skillset like his.
Running Backs - B
- Devin Singletary is going to be a star in the NFL, Only Derrick Henry had the same yards per carry as Singletary in 2019, he forced 42 missed tackles on just 181 touches making him one of the most elusive backs in 2019 and he forced a broken tackle every 7.6 carries ranking the 5thleast amount of carries. Singletary might be 5ft 7 and 203 pounds, but he plays a lot bigger. Behind Singletary is 2020 3rd round pick Zach Moss who is a downhill runner that looks for contact and veteran T.J. Yeldon who will likely be used more as a receiving back than a runner.
Wide Receivers – A-
- Buffalo have quietly built a very good wide receiver corps to surround their young quarterback. They traded for Stefon Diggs in the offseason who is one of the league’s best route runners and an elite deep threat which should open up the deep ball aspect of Buffalo’s offense. The Bills second option, John Brown had a very underrated season finishing with 1,060 yards showing he will be a great number 2. Out of the slot is Beasley who is not an elite athlete but has bags of heart and is very good playing from within the slot. One guy to look out for is Gabriel Davis who they drafted in the 4th round this year, he is a physical beast with big play potential which is completely different to their current receivers.
Tight Ends – C+
- Buffalo has a nice tight end room, Dawson Know has the potential to be great in the future but is currently very overrated by the Bills Mafia and he only had 388 yards in his rookie year. Both of Knox’s back-ups, Smith and Kroft aren’t very good receivers but instead good blockers which means Knox will see the majority of snaps in 2020.
Offensive Line – B-
- Buffalo has a mediocre offensive line with high potential, they have a plethora of good pass blockers but lack the ability to run block. Dion Dawkins who just signed a big 4-year $60 million extension is a good pass blocker and makes very few mistakes against the run. The same can’t be said however for both Spain and Morse who are both good against the pass but poor against the run. While the left side of their offensive line is good, the right is currently a liability. Brian Winters was released by the Jets for a reason, he’s no longer good enough to start in their offensive line and that says something, Cody Ford was their 2nd round pick in 2019 and while he is a good young talent he needs to improve in all areas to keep his starting job.
Corner Backs - A
- Although Tre’Davious White is one of the top 3 corners in the NFL finishing 2019 with a 50% completion rate when targeted, 6 interceptions, 17 passes defended and a first team All-Pro selection, the rest of the cornerback unit needs some work. Wallace’s snaps increased in 2019 but he regressed from his high-level play in 2018 but is still a good corner, however, Josh Norman is in my view well past his best, with exception to his one elite year in 2015 he has been an average to below average corner since. Taron Johnson provides some nice depth and blitzes well but has struggled in coverage from time to time.
Safeties - A
- The Bills might not have one elite safety but instead they have two great ones, Micah Hyde is one of the NFLs best cover safeties as well as a ball hawk with 8 interceptions over the last 3 years, Hyde is also a good run defender similar to his counterpart Jordan Poyer who is very good against the run and forced three fumbles in 2019, Poyer is also good in coverage and has an under the radar 11 interceptions over the last 3 years. Together they form an elite secondary and make life a lot easier for Buffalos corner in front of them.
Edge Rushers – B+
- What makes Buffalo’s edge rusher unit great is their depth, Hughes and Murphy are the starters, while Hughes is primarily a pass rusher, he has the ability to stop the run when needed, whereas Murphy can do it all at a good level. Buffalo brought in Mario Addison in 2020 free agency which was a very underrated pick up, Addison will start as the Bills 3rd option but over the last 4 years Addison has quietly totalled 39 sacks and 38 tackles for loss, his presence as a rotational rusher will be great for Buffalo’s defense. The Bills also added A.J. Epenesa in the 2nd round of the 2020 draft, While Epenesa isn’t the best run defender his unique bull rush ability that led him to 22 sacks, 8 forced fumbles and 30.5 tackles for loss in his final two years of college will allow him to also be productive in the pros.
Interior Defensive Line – B
- Buffalo’s interior defensive line could do with a little more bolstering as with the exception of 2019 9th overall pick Ed Oliver most of the unit are rotational players such as Phillips, Butler and Jefferson, all of whom primarily stop the run and have little effect as rusher. With that said the Bills were still the 10th best defense against the run in 2019 so it is clearly working within their scheme. For this unit to take the next step Oliver needs to develop into his full potential and wreak havoc through the middle.
Linebackers – B+
- Edmunds and Milano are the perfect one two punch, Edmunds is a young developing linebacker with outstanding athleticism which allows him to play very well against the run, and while he has struggled at times in coverage, he has shown plenty of signs that he is getting better. Next to Edmunds is Milano who is one of the league’s elite coverage linebackers, although he isn’t great against the run and might not ever be its fine given, he plays alongside Edmunds. Backing up Edmunds and Milano is A.J. Klein, Klein has had an up and down 7-year career showing he can be good both in coverage and against the run he just hasn’t sustained it.
New England Patriots
Overall Grade – B- 5.4
Quarterback - B
- Despite Patriots fans being hopeful realistically no one truly thought Jarrett Stidham could lead this Patriots roster to the Play-Offs, however, with Cam Newton under centre they definitely have a chance. Newton is a former MVP and when last seen healthy was completing a career best 67.9% of his passes. While I had worries as did many about Cam and Belichick gelling all of Cams actions and quotes suggest he is completely bought in to the system.
Running Backs – B
- The Patriots run their running back room by committee instead of a singular work horse back. James White is one of the top 3 receiving backs in the NFL, Sony Michel has natural talent and athleticism but for whatever reason he’s been in Belichicks doghouse since his incredible play-off run and Super Bowl winning touchdown. Rex Burkhead rounds off the room giving good depth in both the rushing and passing game.
Wide Receivers - C
- It’s safe to say the Patriots have one of the worst receiving corps in the NFL. While Edelman has been productive over his career in New England, in recent years its more been down to high targets and a lack of other weapons, with tat said he will provide Cam with a trusted target in the slot. N’Keal Harry, Mohamed Sanu, Damiere Byrd and Jakobi Meyers make up the rest of the receiver room and while they all have good singular traits none of them would be a definite number three options on most NFL teams let alone second option.
Tight Ends – C-
- The Patriots tight end room has taken a steep decline from the Gronkowski- Hernandez and Gronkowski-Bennett years and is now headlined by 2020 3rd round rookies Devin Asiasi and Dalton Keene. The room is them completed by 2018 7th round pick Ryan Izzo.
Offensive Line – A-
- With all-time great offensive line coach Dante Scarnecchia retiring the Patriots offensive line will likely regress slightly in 2020 but that won’t stop them from being great, David Andrews is returning after spending the season on injury reserve due to blood clots in his liver, Mason and Thuney either side of him will continue to play at a high level, left tackle Isiah Wynn will continue to develop into a good tackle and veteran right tackle Marcus Cannon will remain a decent starter.
Corner Backs – A+
- When 2019 defensive player of the year, interception leader and first team All-Pro Stephon Gilmore steps onto the field for New England it’s almost like closing off half the field in the passing game. In 2019 Gilmore allowed no touchdowns, scored 2 touchdowns, broke up 13 passes and allowed only 50.5% of 101 passes thrown his way to be caught. In addition to Gilmore the Patriots cornerback unit goes 5 deep. Primarily J.C. Jackson plays opposite Gilmore, since entering the NFL Jackson has not allowed a catch of over 28 yards and when targeted quarterbacks would have the same passer rating if they threw the ball into the ground every play. Jason McCourty is a good coverage corner and Jonathan Jones provides great run defense. 2019 2nd round JoeJuan Williams was decent in coverage in his limited snaps and will continue to blossom into a good corner in New England.
Safeties – A-
- Devin McCourty is one of the league’s best safeties and is elite in coverage. locking him up in free agency to a 2-year $23 million extension was a great move by New England. Although Adrian Phillips played only 282 snaps in 2019, he was elite in coverage and good against the run, if they numbers can continue as his snaps increase the Patriots could have a great starting safety duo. The addition of Kyle Dugger to the unit via the 2020 draft was a great move in my opinion, Dugger is an exceptional athlete with corner like ball skills and the physicality to play in the box.
Edge Rushers - C
- The Patriots haven’t truly had an elite edge rusher since Chandler Jones in 2015 but their group in 2020 is by far their worst since. Winovich is a very well balanced edge rusher who will look to contribute more in 2020, Simon is a good run defender but has never been good in the pass rush throughout his career and rookies Uche and Jennings are both high ceiling guys but our inexperience and lack some technical abilities according to scouts.
Interior Defensive Line – C+
- Similar to the Patriots edge rushers the interior of their defensive line is the worst unit they have had in a while, Lawrence Guy has spent the last 3 years in New England, in 2018 he was been an elite run defender which regressed to very good in 2019, the only knock against Guy is he has zero presence as a pass rusher. Alongside Guy is Beau Allen who hasn’t been great since he’s entered the league but has evolved into a decent run stopping big. Behind Guy and Allen are rotational pieces, Butler and Wise Jr, Butler has played around 400 snaps for 3 years now so knows the Patriots system, likewise so has Wise Jr and was in fact a great rotational interior rusher in 2019.
Linebackers – C+
- This loss of Dont’a Hightower cannot be underestimated he is the quarterback of their defense and has played in New England for 8 years, all of which he has been a starter, he has won 3 Super Bowls with the Patriots and was known by Belichick as ‘Mr. February’ for his clutch play in the Play-Offs, his decision to opt out is going to have a big impact on their defense in my opinion. Taking over the starting role is Ja’Whaun Bentley who has started 4 games in 2 years for the Patriots and while he has proven to be decent in the run, coverage and rushing games he is still inexperienced, I’m not saying he won’t be good but he won’t fill the void Hightower leaves. The Patriots late 6th round pick is 3rd in their depth chart and while he has some nice side to side speed and physical traits, he lacks technical awareness and play recognition which could cause him some problems in the Patriots defensive scheme.
Overall Grade – B- 4.6
Quarterback - C
- Tua Tagovailoa is in my opinion the best quarterback in the 2020 draft class, Tua is a dual threat with elite accuracy, release and touch, however, he has big injury worries but if he can stay healthy the Dolphins have a future star at quarterback. Given Tua’s injury concerns he might not be the starter in week 1, that would be Ryan Fitzpatrick, although Fitz is a fan favourite I don’t view him very highly due to his wild inconsistency.
Running Backs - B
- In the 2020 offseason the Dolphins rebuilt their running back room. The duo of Breida and Howard has the potential to be one of the leagues bests. Howard is a 1,000-yard rusher and Breida has the potential to do so as well. Breida is a fast-elusive runner which complements Howard’s hard-nosed power back running style.
Wide Receivers - B
- The Dolphins have a receiver room full of talent and potential. DeVante Parker had a breakout year in 2019 with 1,202 yards and 9 touchdowns highlighting his undeniable talent, however, since entering the league in 2015 he had not eclipsed 750 yards until 2019. Opposite Parker is undrafted star Preston Williams who was having a great year until his season was derailed by injury. Behind Parker and Williams in the depth chart is Jakeem Grant whom plays primarily in the slot and is an elusive speedster. Grant provides elite game changing speed but is more of a gadget guy.
Tight Ends – C+
- Miami has one of the leagues young superstars at tight end. Mike Gesicki is an athletic 6ft 6 tight end with huge potential, Gesicki still needs to improve his ability to run routes and gain yards after the catch but now he has assumed the starting role for the first time in his career it’s safe to expect a potential breakout year for the young receiver in 2020. Gesicki’s only back up is Durham Smythe who is not a good receiver but is a good blocker which allows Gesicki to remain to undoubted starter in 2020.
Offensive Line – D+
- Miami needs to be careful in 2020 as Tua is a proven injury prone quarterback and the Dolphins have potentially the worst offensive line in football. Both tackles Austin Jackson and Robert Hunt are rookies who were drafted 18th and 39th overall respectively, both tackles are raw talents, hunt is a slightly more standard big man with athletic traits whereas Jackson is a developmental tackle with incredible athletic ability and talent with some improvable technical issues. Similar to Jackson, Flowers was a first round pick back in 2015 when he was taken 9thoverall, however, he only lasted 3 and half years in New York before behind shipped out to Jacksonville and then Washington where he converted to guard a position in which he had a lot of success to the extent the Dolphins signed him to a 3-years $30 million deal. Ted Karras was a 6th round draft pick who played his first 4 years in New England where he performed great as a rotational year but in his first 1,000+ snap year he regressed more to the average. Miami’s other guard position appears to be a free for all between rookie Solomon Kindley, 2nd year Michael Deiter and undrafted talent Shaq Calhoun. Overall, Miami’s offensive line is full of raw currently undeveloped talent and needs time to grow.
Corner Backs - A
- Miami’s corner back tandem is the best part of their roster heading into 2020, its undeniable that the Dolphins have one of the top corner back duos in the NFL in Byron Jones and Xavier Howard. Jones is one of the league’s elite corners in coverage, his only real knock is his lack of ball skills, but Howard’s incredible ball skills will likely make up for that. Howard led the league in 2018 with 7 interceptions but regressed both in takeaways and coverage ability in 2019, assuming he returns to his old form they could challenge Baltimore for the best cornerback tandem in the league. Miami’s 3rd option is 2020 first round pick Noah Igbinoghene, a former receiver turned defensive back, Igbinoghene is a stocky but athletic corner who is good against press and against the run making for a great slot corner out the gate.
Safeties – C+
- Neither of Miami’s safeties are very talented but both play their roles well. Eric Rowe played in New England so knows Coach Flores’ scheme and system, although Rowe is better against the run his previous experience at corner allows him to cover when necessary. McCain is almost the exact opposite to Rowe; he is awful against the run and average in coverage. With Rowe and McCain starting it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Miami’s 2020 3rd round pick Brandon Jones assume a starting role at some point in the 2020 season.
Edge Rushers – B-
- The Dolphin’s edge rusher unit go’s deep but lacks that bona fide star. Miami brought in their entire unit apart from Biegel in the 2020 offseason. Van Noy is veteran in both the NFL and coach Flores’ system as well as a 2-time Super Bowl Champion, Van Noy can do it all as an edge rusher, he can stop the run, rush the passer and drop into coverage when asked to. The Dolphins also signed Emmanuel Ogbah and Shaq Lawson in free agency hoping that they can elevate their play from rotational pieces to starting quality. Possibly the biggest addition to the unit was 5th round pick Curtis Weaver, although he was a 5th round pick he was incredibly productive in college with gret technical skills but below average athleticism which saw his draft stock drop. Weaver totalled 34 sacks and 47.5 tackles for loss in 3 years at Boise State. While its likely he may struggle against some of the NFL’s elite athletes at either tackle spot it’s not out of the picture that he has sustained success and becomes the steal of the draft.
Interior Defensive Line – C+
- The interior of Miami’s defensive line has potential but is very young and inexperienced. Davon Godchaux has spent the last 3 seasons in Miami and has evolved into a good run defender but Raekwon Davis and Jason Strowbridge both lack NFL experience which could be exposed by veteran lineman. Davis was at one point a lock for the first round, but his stock fell after for 2 consecutive years he couldn’t reach his 2017 heights of 10 tackles for loss and 8.5 sacks. Despite that Davis is an elite physical talent and will be able to start straight away whereas Strowbridge needs to be developed so that his technical skills can meet his physicality and tough mindset.
Linebackers – C+
- The Dolphins linebacker core has so much potential it’s hard to believe but they simply haven’t developed into it so far. Both Jerome Baker and Raekwon McMillan are young potential star linebackers with great noses for the football, however in 2019 Baker was awful, he regressed incredibly from what was a very good rookie year. McMillan played the run at a high level in 2019 just like he has since stepping on the field in 2018, however, he has also been terrible in coverage since stepping on the field. Miami has great depth with Grugier-Hill and Roberts and while they are both mediocre against the run, they are similarly bad against coverage which is worrying for Miami’s linebacker core as a whole.
New York Jets
Overall Grade – C+ 4.2
Quarterback – C+
- Out of the 2018 quarterback draft class I believe Sam Darnold is the most talented, however, he simply lacks any resemblance of help surrounding him, the Jets 2019 free agency acquisition of Le’Veon Bell had zero affect as their offensive line and receiver play still forced a heavy cap on his success. In my view the best thing that could happen for Darnold is that New York fire Gase and their front office and for the new guys to want their own guy at quarterback, hence trading Darnold to a team who can properly develop and surround him with talent.
Running Backs – B+
- While there is no doubt that Le’Veon Bell did not live up to his offense saving expectations in 2019 or his 4-year $52.5 million deal, there is reason to believe Bell will bounce back in 2020. Firstly, the Jets made some minor improvement to their offensive line which should benefit Bell and secondly with exception of his rookie year Bell had not averaged under 85.1 yards per game in his career up until 2019, and finally, Bell has never relied on his physical superiority to be great but instead he natural patience and instincts. Backing up Bell is 15-year veteran Frank Gore who is 3rd in all-time rushing yards and in reaching distance of both 2nd and 3rd, in 2020 Gore will likely give the Jets around 100-150 carries and 500-600 yards.
Wide Receivers – C+
- When your receiving corps is headlined by Breshad Perriman you know there is a problem. Although Perriman averaged 101.2 yards per game and totalled 5 touchdowns in his final 5 games of the 2019 season it’s safe to safe to say that he is a bust after being drafted 26th overall by the Baltimore Ravens in 2015, since being drafted Perriman is now on his 4th team in 5 years and ultimately that says all I need to know. After Perriman on the depth chart is Jameson Crowder, Crowder is a good slot receiver and will likely give you around 800 yards a season but is by no means a true number two. One bright spot in the Jets receiving game is rookie 2ndround pick Denzel Mims, in a deep receiver class Mims is a great pick up with great size and athleticism which makes his a very good RedZone threat. However, Mims has proven to struggle with separation and his release which is why he has so many contested catches in college.
Tight Ends – C+
- After a good rookie season in which Herndon made some incredible contested spectacular catches his 2nd year was cut short by injury. Assuming he can resume or improve on his rookie season he will provide Darnold with a serviceable weapon at the tight end position. Backing up Herndon is Ryan Griffin who showed why he has been a career back up when thrusted into starting roles in both 2018 and 2019 totalling 625 yards in both seasons combined.
Offensive Line – D+
- The Jets addressed their issues at offensive line over the 2020 offseason bringing in 4 new starters, while an overhaul at offensive line usual isn’t great the first season the Jets offensive line can’t get much worse than last year. The Jets first move was to bring back starting guard Alex Lewis, Lewis has had ample opportunity to be a good starting guard in the NFL starting 30 games in 3 years bt he simply hasn’t, he is decent in the pass and that’s all. In free agency the Jets brought in McGovern, Van Roten and Fant. McGovern had a huge breakout year in 2019 becoming a great pass protector but he wasn’t good by any measure in 2018 or 2017 so regression is possible. Van Roten has been a starter the past two seasons and has played at a good level as a pass protector. Fant was an awful pick up in my opinion, he was very overpaid and although he was very good in limited snaps in 2018, he was awful in both 2016 and 2019. Drafting Mekhi Becton 11th overall in the 2020 draft was a good move by the Jets, Becton’s huge frame along with his agile feet and athleticism gives him the ability to play either tackle spot, his primary weakness according to scouts is that he needs to become more patient so he can control and redirect pass rushers.
Corner Backs – C+
- New York’s corner back unit has some talent but overall it lacks it. Poole was a good cover corner and decent run defender in 2019 and Desir is good run defender with above average ability in coverage. Backups Wilson and Austin have shown flashes of good play against the run but lacks consistent quality play in coverage.
Safeties – C+
- Marcus Maye and Bradley McDougal combine to form an average safety duo, Maye who was drafted in the 2nd round in 2017 has proven to be a good coverage safety with the ability to defend the run. McDougal who came across as part of the Jamal Adams trade has shown the ability to both cover and defend the run at a high level but lacks consistency.
Edge Rushers – C-
- The Jets have arguably the worst pass rushing duo in the entire NFL, Basham has 4 sacks, 8 QB hits and 4 tackles for loss in his first 2 seasons in the NFL and although Jenkins has 15 sacks and 15 tackles for loss in the last 2 seasons he wouldn’t be the number one option for most NFL teams. While Jenkins is an above average rusher and Basham has potential, neither are god against the run.
Interior Defensive Line - B
- The Jets have a very underrated interior defensive line, in 2019 they allowed the second least rush yards per game, 86.9. While they don’t have much of a pass rush presence, they all defend the run well. Quinnen Williams had an overall very underwhelming rookie season for the 3rdoverall pick, Williams showed his ability to stop the run but needs to evolve as a pass rusher to be worthy of that 3rd overall pick. Anderson has proven to be a good run defender and average pass rusher since entering the league but had a bad 2019 season. Both McLendon and Fatukasi are rotational players, McLendon a 10-year veteran is a great rotational run defender and Fatukasi showed the ability to be an elite run defender in his minimal snaps in 2019.
Linebackers – B
- Injuries denied Jets fans from seeing their dynamic linebacker duo in action in 2019 and Mosley opting out will see it happen again in 2020. Mosley was the Jets big 2019 free agency addition signing a 5-year $85 million contract and while he is yet to compile a season in which he has been great in both coverage and against the run he has proven his ability to do it in separate seasons. Williamson is a great proven run defender but needs to improve in coverage but with Mosley’s ability to cover would allow Williamson to focus on the run. Onwuasor is a great back-up linebacker but is the epitome of inconsistent, his skill set has fluctuated year to year so far in his career.
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