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April 18, 2008

AFC East: Dolphins need plenty of help

Rivals.com has partnered with NFL scout and draft expert Frank Coyle of draftinsiders.com to analyze the five biggest needs of each NFL team. Today, we look at the AFC East.

New Dolphins vice president Bill Parcells holds the No. 1 selection and his team has some glaring needs. Will Parcells begin his rebuilding project by taking a quarterback, addressing another position or trading out of the pick? Frank Coyle breaks down the needs for each team in the AFC East.

AFC East: Buffalo Bills | Miami Dolphins | New England Patriots | New York Jets

Head Coach: Dick Jauron (Third Year)
Key needs: 1. Wide Receiver 2. Tight end 3. Cornerback 4. Offensive tackle 5. Linebacker
2. TIGHT END: The Bills have a major need here and hope to address it in the top 100 picks. They like Notre Dame's John Carlson in the second round and Tennessee's Brad Cottam in the third round. They also like California's Craig Stevens in the middle rounds.
3. CORNERBACK: The Bills hope young corner Ashton Youboty develops but will look to add a quality cover man, possibly in the top 100 picks. They could have a chance at Troy's Leodis McKelvin and Tennessee State's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie in the first round. Penn State's Justin King and Iowa's Charles Godfrey could be on the Bills' board in the third round.
4. OFFENSIVE TACKLE: With their No. 1 pick, they could consider Boise State's Ryan Clady or Vanderbilt's Chris Williams. It's highly likely at least one will be on the board. They also like Pitt's Jeff Otah in the first and USC's Sam Baker in the second round.
5. LINEBACKER: The Bills added Kawika Mitchell in free agency and they love rookie Paul Posluszny, who was injured after a great start last season. They most likely will address this area from the middle rounds on, with an emphasis on special teams. They most likely will add an outside linebacker.
Head Coach: Tony Sparano (First Year)
Key needs: 1. Quarterback 2. Offensive tackle 3. Cornerback 4. Wide receiver 5. Outside linebacker
2. OFFENSIVE TACKLE: The Dolphins have struggled in protection in recent seasons. They have Michigan's Jake Long as a high priority with the first overall pick. With two second-round picks, Boston College's Gosder Cherilus could be available early in the round and USC's Sam Baker later in the round.
3. CORNERBACK: The Dolphins will look to add a starting corner in the early rounds, if the value is on the board. They like Kansas' Aqib Talib early in the second round. They also like Indiana's Tracy Porter, Iowa's Charles Godfrey and Penn State's Justin King in the third round. The Dolphins have little experience and marginal talent at this position.
4. WIDE RECEIVER: Top pick Ted Ginn was slow to contribute last season. The Dolphins will look to address this area early and maybe at 32nd overall if Michigan State's Devin Thomas or Indiana's James Hardy is available.
5. OUTSIDE LINEBACKER: This position becomes even more important if the Dolphins trade Jason Taylor. They like Auburn's Quentin Groves and Purdue's Cliff Avril with the 32nd pick as possible replacements - or as defenders on the opposite side. They like Georgia Tech's Darrell Robertson and Georgia's Marcus Howard in the middle rounds.
Head Coach: Bill Bellichick (9th Year)
Key needs: 1. Cornerback 2. Linebacker 3. Safety 4. Wide receiver 5. Offensve tackle
2. LINEBACKER: The Pats play a 3-4 and need new talent, both inside and outside. They could address this position a few times in the draft. They like Ohio State's Vernon Gholston, but they would need to move up to select him. They also like USC's Keith Rivers.
3. SAFETY: Former top pick Brandon Meriweather could move to safety in camp. That would minimize this need. They have little depth if Meriweather stays at cornerback.
4. WIDE RECEIVER: The Pats have little depth here. They like Michigan's Mario Manningham and Vanderbilt's Earl Bennett in the second round. They also like Kansas State's Jordy Nelson and Coastal Carolina's Jerome Simpson in the third round.
5. OFFENSIVE TACKLE: The Pats are starting to show some age along the line. They like Toledo's John Greco, who fits their profile for an offensive lineman. He could be available in the third round.
Head Coach: Eric Mangini (Third Year)
Key needs: 1. Linebacker 2. Cornerback 3. Defensve end 4. Offensive line 5. Tight end
1. LINEBACKER: The Jets signed LB Calvin Pace in free agency and he has the talent to be a difference-maker in their 3-4 scheme. His addition won't stop them from adding another edge rusher, such as Ohio State's Vernon Gholston, with the sixth overall selection. They also like Purdue's Cliff Avril and Auburn's Quentin Groves and could move in that direction in the second round.
3. DEFENSIVE END: The Jets would like to add a highly developed prospect here. They need a big body and like Eastern Michigan's Jason Jones, a versatile athletic lineman with a middle-round grade. He has played inside and outside. They also like Hampton's Kendall Langford in the middle rounds.
4. OFFENSIVE LINE: The Jets hope to improve this area and like Northern Iowa tackle Brandon Keith in the middle rounds. They like guards Shawn Murphy (Utah State) and Andrew Crummey (Maryland) in the middle rounds.
5. TIGHT END: The Jets like starter Chris Baker but would like to upgrade their depth. They may have a chance at a few of the top prospects in the third round, such as Tennessee's Brad Cottam, USC's Fred Davis or Texas A&M's Martellus Bennett. Cottam would be an excellent addition.

This is special to Rivals.com from Frank Coyle. Coyle has written about the NFL Draft in his newsletter for more than 15 years and has endorsements from NFL veterans like Gil Brandt, Phil Savage and Charley Casserly. Coyle's work can also be found at draftinsiders.com or you may call him toll-free at 800-776-1949.

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