- WR Hartline cut after 6 seasons WR Gibson was also released
- Mike Tannenbaum hired... ...as Dolphins' executive VP of football operations
- Philbin retained Coach Philbin was given a contract extension
- Fins season ends on low note Jets down the Fins to end their season 8-8
AFC East Positional Grades – DBs
4) Buffalo Bills
It will be up to DC Mike Pettine to fix a secondary that has consistently underachieved. Pro Bowl FS Jarius Byrd (76 tackles, 5 INT’s, 4 FF’s in 2012) received a $6.9 million dollar franchise tag, and might be the NFL’s best at 26 years old. CB Stephon Gilmore showed the athleticism and body type that made him a Top-10 pick in the 2012 draft, and could be a star under Pettine’s guidance. The Bills re-signed CB Leodis McKelvin (#11 pick in the 2008 draft) to a modest 4-year, $17-million dollar contract in hopes that he’ll remove the bust tag. The team is high on third-year SS Da’Norris Searcy (5-11, 216) despite having only 3 career starts. FS Aaron Williams will move to FS, where he is a better fit, after a dismal 2012 season at CB. Nimble-footed Justin Rogers is a solid #3 CB who appeared in all 16 games last season. 4th and 5th round rookies Duke Williams and Jonathan Meeks will likely make the team and challenge for starting roles in 2014.
3) Miami Dolphins
The Dolphins have dramatically improved this position if free-agent CB Brent Grimes regains his 2010-2011 form, which appears to be the case thus far a. SS Reshad Jones (ranked #3 by PFF among all safeties) is a rising star who emerged into a complete player with a team-high 4 INT’s. FS Chris Clemons is a serviceable center fielder who needs to make more big plays than he allows. CB Richard Marshall, who played poorly in 4 starts before landing IR last season, could struggle to keep his starting job in 2013 with rookies Jamar Taylor and Will Davis expected to nip at his heels. Veteran CB’s Dimitri Patterson, Nolan Carroll, and R.J. Sanford likely will battle for the final CB spot.. Depth at safety is an issue with Jimmy Wilson and 7th round rookie Don Jones as the front-runners to back up Jones and Clemons.
2) New York Jets
The Jets are still in good shape at CB despite the loss of Darrelle Revis. Antonio Cromartie earned a well-deserved Pro Bowl berth as the team’s top CB for one reason: consistency. 1st round pick Dee Milliner is a big, strong, well-coached CB who should play 10 years in this league. Milliner’s arrival will force Kyle Wilson into the slot, where he should be one of the NFL’s best in that role. Dawan Landry replaces older brother LaRon Landry, who signed with the Colts (4-years, $24-million) after making his first Pro Bowl with the Jets last season. Dawan isn’t the athlete LaRon is, but is a pro’s pro who didn’t miss a start in the last 4 years with the Ravens and Jaguars. FS is a concern with second-year players Josh Bush and Antonio Allen battling it out despite combining for only one start last season. Ellis Lankster should make the team as the #4 CB, too.
1) New England Patriots
The Patriots secondary embodies Belichick’s two philosophies: 1) Bend, but don’t break. 2) Force turnovers. CB Aqib Talib was inconsistent after arriving in a mid-season trade with the Bucs, but has significant upside (19 career INT’s and 4 TD’s at only 27 years old) and should improve after a full year in the system.. Talib’s arrival allowed the Pats to move Devin McCoutry from CB to SS, where he is a better fit with his ball-hawking skills (5 INT’s in 2012). 33-year-old Adrian Wilson, who has played the last 12 seasons with the Cardinals, should have enough gas left in the tank for one more productive year. was signed Second-year CB Alfonso Dennard was a 7th round steal last season, and will enter the season opposite Talib after pulling down 3 INT’s in 7 starts as a rookie. There is intriguing depth among the backups: S Tavon Wilson led all rookies with 4 INT’s a backup role, #3 CB Kyle Arrington had 7 INT’s in 2011, and CB Ras’I Dowling was the first pick of the 2nd in the 2011 draft who is in need of a healthy season. The Patriots also drafted a pair of Rutgers DB’s in the 3rd round in CB Logan Ryan and S Duron Harmon.
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