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Team-by-team draft needs: AFC East

Pat Kirwan breaks down each team's positional needs, listed in order of importance, entering the draft.

More team draft needs:

AFC: East | North | South | West
NFC: East | North | South | West


Buffalo Bills

Defensive end: Aaron Schobel's return from injury will help an anemic Bills pass rush, but Chris Kelsay and Ryan Denney have been unproductive. The Bills need a pass-rush threat from the left side to take pressure off Schobel.

Guard: Derrick Dockery was let go in a cost-cutting move, and though Brad Butler returns, the team would like to upgrade. Brandon Rodd is the only backup on the roster right now, though newly signed Geoff Hangartner and recently re-signed Kirk Chambers can fill in if needed.

Tight end: Derek Schouman is in more of a fullback/halfback role, and the disappointing Robert Royal was a salary-cap casualty. Derek Fine is the top tight end on the roster right now, but he's not the downfield receiving threat the team needs to help quarterback Trent Edwards.

Running back:Marshawn Lynch's second brush with the law in a year could bring an NFL suspension, and unless the Bills can come to terms on an extension, the much-improved Fred Jackson will be an unrestricted free agent next year.

Wide receiver: Terrell Owens and Lee Evans are proven playmakers, but Josh Reed is a limited possession receiver, and James Hardy is coming off major knee surgery. The Bills' wide receivers combined for just nine touchdowns last season, although Owens, who signed a one-year deal with Buffalo last month, should help boost those numbers in 2009.

Defensive tackle: John McCargo, a former first-round draft pick, has been a huge disappointment. Spencer Johnson is a bit undersized, and Marcus Stroud, as well as he played in 2008, is about to turn 30. The Bills could consider drafting a young, aggressive, gap-shooting defensive tackle who could work into a rotation.

Outside linebacker: Angelo Crowell, who was valuable in his ability to play all three linebacker positions, signed with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He'll need to be replaced, and the Bills should be thinking about upgrading from Keith Ellison on the weak side.

Offensive tackle: The Bills have started talking to left tackle Jason Peters about an extension despite his poor showing in 2008. Langston Walker is only adequate on the right side, and the backup positions need serious improvement. If negotiations with Peters stall, this position will become a much higher priority in the draft.

Inside linebacker: John DiGiorgio was recently re-signed as Paul Posluszny's backup in the middle, but with Crowell no longer in the fold, the team needs to address its depth.

Draft choices: Nos. 11, 42, 75, 110, 147, 183, 220


Miami Dolphins

Cornerback: The Dolphins recently signed free agent Eric Green, but their best corner, Will Allen, will turn 31 in August, and there's no depth behind them. In a division that now features Randy Moss and Terrell Owens, this team needs a shut-down corner.

Defensive tackle: Parcells follower Jason Ferguson is 34 and has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons. The key to the 3-4 defense that Miami runs is having a big-bodied two-gapper who can hold his ground at the nose, and the jury is still out on backup Paul Soliai, a fourth-round draft pick in 2007.

Wide receiver:Davone Bess was a nice story last season, and Ted Ginn Jr. is beginning to emerge as a playmaker. Greg Camarillo and Brandon London are worthy complementary receivers, but the Dolphins still lack a big-time threat who demands double coverage.

Defensive end/outside linebacker: Joey Porter had a breakout 2008 season with 17.5 sacks, but no one else on the roster approached double digits (Matt Roth was second with 5.0). Miami's draft picks from a year ago, Phillip Merling and Kendall Langford, might improve as pass rushers, but Porter, 32, isn't getting any younger, and Miami needs a hybrid DE/OLB who can get to the quarterback from different spots on the field.

Guard: The offseason signings of Jake Grove and Joe Berger will help solidify the interior of the offensive line, but Justin Smiley is coming off multiple surgeries and Donald Thomas is an unproven sixth-round draft pick who is in just his second season.

Offensive tackle: Certainly, Jake Long is a cornerstone player and Vernon Carey is a strong run blocker who was re-signed to man the right side. But Miami could use a swing tackle to provide some depth, and I don't believe the team would be against upgrading from Carey at his position. There are several strong right tackle prospects in this draft.

Inside linebacker: Channing Crowder is a productive tackler inside, but he has bad knees and has struggled to stay healthy in recent seasons, and he's not proven to be a three-down player. Akin Ayodele is another reliable player, but he will turn 30 this year. It wouldn't be a bad idea to find a younger player for coach Tony Sparano to groom.

Draft choices: Nos. 25, 44, 56, 87, 126, 161, 214, 232, 237


New England Patriots

Outside linebacker: The Patriots defense needs to get younger, starting at linebacker. DE Richard Seymour led the team with 8.0 sacks in 2008, so New England needs an edge pass rusher who can consistently pressure the quarterback. Adalius Thomas hasn't made the impact the Patriots had hoped, and though they have added Tully Banta-Cain and have Pierre Woods and Shawn Crable, look for them to use a draft pick on this position.

Safety: James Sanders was re-signed and former first-round draft pick Brandon Meriweather is developing, but both are more comfortable in the box and gave up too many big plays in coverage last season. Even if Rodney Harrison returns, he'll be a liability in deep coverage. The Patriots need a player with some range in the secondary.

Inside linebacker:Jerod Mayo is a star in the making, but Tedy Bruschi isn't an every-down player at this point in his career. Bo Ruud and Gary Guyton are young players with promise, but another rotational player at this position wouldn't hurt.

Running back: Fred Taylor is a nice complementary player, but he can't carry the load at age 33. There are questions as to how the Patriots feel about Laurence Maroney's ability to do the same. Even if the team is willing to give Maroney the ball, injuries and inconsistency have plagued him. Expect the Patriots to look at upgrading this position.

Wide receiver: The Patriots worked to upgrade this position during the offseason, but Greg Lewis is 29, Randy Moss is 32 and Joey Galloway is 37. Plus, the team can never have enough receivers in its spread attack and should be able to find someone better than Sam Aiken, who's currently the fifth receiver on New England's depth chart.

Offensive tackle: The Patriots lack depth at this position, with Ryan O'Callaghan first in line behind starters Matt Light and Nick Kaczur. Finding someone who can play multiple positions along the offensive line should be a priority on Day 2 of the draft.

Quarterback: If Bill Belichick and his staff have enough confidence in Kevin O'Connell, then this isn't a worry. But O'Connell and Matt Gutierrez are the only guys behind Tom Brady, who's coming off a major knee injury. I expect the Patriots to find a veteran late, just before training camp starts.

Draft choices: Nos. 23, 34, 47, 58, 89, 97, 124, 159, 170, 199, 207, 234


New York Jets

Wide receiver: With Laveranues Coles gone to Cincinnati, the Jets have a starting spot to fill. They have a better-than-solid possession receiver in Jerricho Cotchery, so they should be looking for a speedster who brings size and can run on the perimeter and be a red-zone scoring threat. Expect the Jets to address this need on the first day of the draft.

Defensive end: Shaun Ellis had 60 tackles and 8.0 sacks in 2008, but he'll turn 32 this year, and linemate Kenyon Coleman had just one-half sack. The Jets' outside linebackers are active pass rushers, but they need another player to come off the edge in new coach Rex Ryan's aggressive 3-4 scheme.

Tight end:Dustin Keller is a viable receiving target downfield, but with veteran Chris Baker gone, the Jets need a blocking tight end who can be a factor in the run game that Ryan will surely favor.

Quarterback: If you believe the word of the Jets' front-office personnel, the team is ready to hand the ball to either Kellen Clemens or Brett Ratliff. Remember, Ryan and the Ravens won with rookie quarterback Joe Flacco last season. But the Jets must still do their homework on Mark Sanchez in case he falls to them in the first round of the draft. If Josh Freeman is still on the board in the second round, it'll be hard for the Jets to pass on him.

Offensive tackle: The Jets' starting offensive line looks to be solid if everyone stays healthy, but their backup depth is woefully thin. Wayne Hunter is the only backup offensive tackle at this point, so don't be surprised to see the Jets use a couple of draft picks with that in mind. A veteran swingman also could be in order.

Guard: Re-signing Brandon Moore was key and Alan Faneca, though on the downside of his career, has made this unit better. But depth is also an issue at this position, and with the Jets apparently intent on running the ball, adding another roadgrader inside would be a good idea.

Punter: Reggie Hodges is just 27 and already with his sixth NFL team. Free agents Hunter Smith and Mitch Berger are still available, and there are late second-day draft prospects who might be better than Hodges at this point.

Draft choices: Nos. 17, 52, 76, 115, 193, 228

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