clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

NFL Mock Draft 2023: AFC East breakdown of new Todd McShay first-round projection

The Miami Dolphins do not have a first-round pick this year, but we do not want to miss all the mock draft fun.

NFL: NFL Draft Gary Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL’s 2022 season is over and we are starting the slow progression into the 2023 offseason. As we move toward the start of the league year in March, we will start to see rumors, reports, and speculation on what each NFL team will do in free agency and the 2023 NFL Draft. Of course, one of the favorite offseason items is the NFL mock draft.

Except, this season, here on The Phinsider, mock draft season will probably be fairly light. The Miami Dolphins do not have a first-round pick this year, having their selection stripped due to tampering violations. That leaves the first round with just 31 picks and what will likely be a quiet build up to the Draft for Dolphins fans.

ESPN’s Todd McShay released a new mock draft on Wednesday, and, not surprisingly, there are no Dolphins picks in it. While he did start the mock with a trade (the Indianapolis Colts moving up to the first-overall pick currently held by the Chicago Bears to select Alabama quarterback Bryce Young), he does not have the Dolphins making a move into the first round.

But we can take a look at what the other three AFC East teams are projected to do in this mock draft. The Dolphins face the Buffalo Bills, New England Patriots, and New York Jets twice every year - getting to know their players is an important piece of getting prepared for each season.

First up in the draft order are the Jets, holding the 13th pick. McShay projects them to use the selection on Georgia tackle Broderick Jones. He writes of the selection:

The Jets’ 2022 rookie class produced both the offensive (Garrett Wilson) and defensive (Sauce Gardner) Rookie of the Year. Can GM Joe Douglas hit on a first-rounder again, this time outside the top 10?

The Jets were middle of the pack in sacks allowed (42, 19th) and pass block win rate (57.1%, 21st) last season. But consider that George Fant is hitting free agency, Duane Brown will be 38 years old, Alijah Vera-Tucker is more of a guard and returning from a triceps injury and Mekhi Becton has played one game since his 2020 rookie year. If New York does find a way to bring in Aaron Rodgers or another veteran QB, it will need to protect him. Jones didn’t allow a single sack over 15 starts last year, showcasing the ability to stall both speed and power off the edge.

The Patriots come on the clock immediately after the Jets. With the 14th pick, McShay sees New England adding Penn State cornerback Joey Porter, Jr. He explains the pick, writing:

With Jonathan Jones now a free agent, cornerback seems like a very possible Day 1 target for the Pats — especially if none have come off the board by the time they pick. Porter had only one career interception at Penn State (in 2021), but he broke up 11 passes last season. He has length and plays a physical brand of football, rerouting receivers off the line of scrimmage and outmuscling them on 50-50 balls despite weighing just 198 pounds.

The Bills have to wait until the 27th pick in the first round before they get to make a selection. McShay predicted Alabama running back Jahmyr Gibbs with the pick. He writes:

The Bills might have vacancies on the defensive side of the ball, depending on how free agency plays out for linebacker Tremaine Edmunds and safety Jordan Poyer. But with Devin Singletary also on an expiring deal, Buffalo might look to jumpstart its run game with Gibbs, who rushed 151 times for 926 yards and caught 44 passes for another 444 last season. Bills running backs totaled 1,418 yards on the ground last season, 24th best in the NFL, and only four teams had fewer rushing TDs from that position group (seven).

Gibbs’ vision and shiftiness are outstanding, as he can string together multiple cuts to find daylight. The Bills could team him up with James Cook and Nyheim Hines to form a solid backfield and complement what quarterback Josh Allen does when he tucks and runs.

The Jets’ pick makes a ton of sense, especially if, as McShay wrote, they are able to bring in a veteran quarterback. The offensive line needs to improve in New York if they are going to find any success as a team and Jones does give them a piece to make that happen.

A cornerback for the Patriots could be the selection, though adding pieces to offense would seem to be a better option. Either adding to the offensive line or finding a pass catcher to give new offensive coordinator Bill O’Brien pieces with which to play would seem a more ideal move.

I understand the draw to Gibbs as an option, but it seems like the Bills could use the selection on a better position than adding what is essentially a third running back to the group along with Cook and Hines. Maybe they do need a new player at the top of the group, but is the running back what held them back in the playoffs? It feels like there are better options here.

What do you think of McShay’s first round for the AFC East?