A look at how the Patriots’ AFC East foes stand after the NFL draft:
Bills: Buffalo could emerge as the Patriots’ toughest competition in the division after it followed a free agency period that brought pass rushers Mario Williams and Mark Anderson, with two top talents in cornerback Stephon Gilmore and offensive tackle Cordy Glenn at positions of need. Fourth-round cornerback Ron Brooks has a chance to improve the depth of a unit that has had injury problems. In later rounds, look for linebackers Nigel Bradham and Tank Carder to inject some much-needed youth into that group.
Jets: Rex Ryan bet big that North Carolina end Quinton Coples can shake off the bad tape he showed as a senior and deliver on his immense talent at 6-6 and 284 pounds with 4.78 speed. Scouts question whether he wants it bad enough. If Ryan can’t get the best out of Coples, the coach could be out of a job after this season. The Jets added Georgia Tech receiver Stephen Hill, who blazed 4.38 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the scouting combine. But are quarterbacks Mark Sanchez and Tim Tebow good enough to get the ball to Hill, Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, and Jeremy Kerley? The better question is, can the Jets give those quarterbacks enough time to distribute the ball? The Jets have not addressed big weaknesses at left guard (Matt Slauson) and right tackle (Wayne Hunter). They expect to improve from within.
Dolphins: In the second draft for general manager Jeff Ireland, Miami did well again acquiring some nice pieces at areas of need: tackle Jonathan Martin, end Olivier Vernon, tight end Michael Egnew, and running back Lamar Miller. But, as always, the success of the Dolphins will ride on the quarterback. Will Ryan Tannehill, who lacks playing experience, develop into a talent worthy of the eighth overall pick? Will veterans Matt Moore and/or David Garrard operate well enough for the Dolphins to compete?