The AFC East has been absolutely dominated by the New England Patriots for over a decade, and the Pats are coming off yet another Super Bowl title. The Jets are still the Jets, and coming off one of their more disappointing seasons in recent history; the Dolphins overachieved, and Adam Gase seems to have this squad moving in the right direction; and the Bills fired Rex Ryan after losing four of their last five games.
Let’s take a look at what each team needs to do to come in second place behind the Patriots.
New England Patriots (14-2 last year)
- A pass rush is one of the biggest keys to success in the NFL, and it’s pretty scary to think the Patriots can get better at this area despite coming off a Super Bowl victory.
- LeGarrette Blount carried the load all season for the Patriots, but he’s a free agent and an older running back. The Pats signed Rex Burkhead from Cinci, but he likely won’t be a three-down back.
Other Needs: Offensive line
- The Patriots offensive line was a lot better last year than the year prior, but there’s still room for improvement. Considering Brady’s age and mileage, protecting him should obviously always be the #1 priority.
Miami Dolphins (10-6 last year)
- The Dolphins need to address their defensive line and linebacker unit.
- Ryan Tannehill, coming off an injury that ended his season, could use some more protection in the pocket.
Buffalo Bills (7-9 last year)
- The Bills haven’t exactly shown they’re 100% committed to Tyrod Taylor, and it wouldn’t shock me if they drafted a QB to eventually take over. I like Taylor, but the Bills don’t sound completely confident in him being the guy for years to come.
- Stephen Gilmore is off to NE, and the Bills need to replace him in the draft.
- Sammy Watkins has dealt with injuries for years now, and the Bills are probably worried about his availability or lack thereof.
Other Needs: O-line, D-line
New York Jets (5-11 last year)
- The Jets have been searching for their franchise QB for years and years. They signed Josh McCown, but he’s not going to be the guy for years to come. They need to either draft another QB this year, or go with what they have and plan to draft one the following year.
- The Jets cut Nick Mangold, who has been their center for years. They need to replace him and shop for tackles as well.
Other needs: Linebacker, RB, WR, Secondary