AFC East Notes: Jets, Pats, Gaffney, Collins

Draft grades are often controversial — some love them, but others think it’s foolhardy to judge draft picks mere hours after they are selected. While we won’t know the true effect of prospects in the NFL for at least a couple of years, Mel Kiper Jr. of ESPN (Insider subscription required) has provided his rapid reaction to the weekend’s events. One of his favorite draft classes is that of the Jets, whom Kiper handed a “A-” after they came away with Leonard Williams, Devon Smith, Bryce Petty, and others. And, as Kiper adds, New York brought in veteran receiver Brandon Marshall using a fifth-round pick, so their crop of additions looks even better after factoring him in.

Let’s take a look at some more notes from the AFC East:

  • The Patriots did express interest in Eagles guard Evan Mathis, reports Jeff Howe of the Boston Herald (Twitter link), but the fact that Mathis hasn’t been traded yet means he’ll probably stay in Philadelphia. Eagles head coach Chip Kelly said yesterday that he’s yet to receive a formal offer for Mathis.
  • Though they didn’t select a running back over the weekend, the Patriots are likely to add a veteran in the coming weeks, says Howe (via Twitter), who suggests that Ahmad Bradshaw and Pierre Thomas are among the backs who could intrigue New England.
  • One player who could contribute to the Patriots backfield this season is second-year pro Tyler Gaffney, whom New England claimed off waivers from the Panthers last year. Though Gaffney spent all of 2014 on injured reserve, Pats head coach Bill Belichick reportedly “loves him” (per Howe on Twitter), so he could be in line for snaps in 2015.
  • La’el Collins is represented by Priority Sports, which Alex Marvez of FOX Sports (Twitter link) confirms is the firm that current Dolphins football operations czar Mike Tannenbaum previously worked for. The connection could end up being inconsequential, but it’s fair to wonder if Miami could have up a leg up in signing the LSU product.
  • Rich Cimini of praises rookie Jets general manager Mike Maccagnan for his first draft, noting that Maccagnan used a best player available strategy, but also wasn’t afraid to move up and down the draft board, picking up assets (Devier Posey and Zac Stacy) in the process.
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