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Analysis of the First Round of the AFC East Draft

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S/R Staff

Analysis of the First Round of the AFC East Draft
S/R Staff
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13, Miami Dolphins, Laremy Tunsil, OT, Ole Miss

The Tunsil slide plays right into Miami’s hands as they grab the second overall player on my board and land the best value pick of the night. His upside is so great, that this pick could be reminiscent of Randy Moss’ slide to the Vikings.

Tunsil is an outrageous athlete for the position, with the best movement skills of any offensive tackle I’ve ever evaluated. He kicks and slides effortlessly against speed moves, drops anchor against power and can re-set/re-anchor against counter moves. He flashes the nasty streak that offensive line coaches demand, and consistently handed some of the best pass-rushers in the country their lunch, week after week. His agility and short area quickness, at that size, make him a natural fit in a heavy zone-blocking schemes, but he is at his best in pass protection and will comfortably sit on an island from day one.

The Dolphins could not have landed a better player, sans Ezekiel Elliott, for their immediate needs.

Tunis blocks AU Garrett, creating a pocket for a 43 yard TD.

Tunsil blocks AU Garrett, creating a pocket for a 43 yard TD.

19, Buffalo Bills, Shaq Lawson, DE, Clemson 

The Bills grabbed the best pass-rusher on the board who didn’t have some off-the-field concerns.

Lawson is a ready-to-go 4-3 defensive end or stand up linebacker who had huge production in his last year at Clemson, leading the nation in tackles for losses. Unlike other potential first rounders, he naturally bends the edge, but lacks exceptional closing speed. Lawson isn’t a twitchy athlete, but he makes up for it with effort and great technique (constantly the lowest man in the run game). In the run game, he fights hard on every snap, and flashes the ability to split double-teams. A low floor-high ceiling player, who never has to come off the field.

The Bills are a hybrid team, who run multiple fronts and have a number of exotic blitz packages. His non-stop motor and versatility make him a quality scheme fit.

giphy

Here’s a perfect example where Lawson stays true to his containment and puts himself in a perfect position to force Alabama QB Jake Coker inside and finish with a sack.

20, New York Jets, Darron Lee, OLB, Ohio State

While I thought the Jets would look at cornerback, or perhaps Paxton Lynch, there’s no doubt that they have been crying out for an explosive speed-rusher.

All of last year they lacked a natural edge-rusher, and instead pressured the pocket with dominant interior players, shut down the run and forced third-or-long situations, but didn’t have a closer. In Lee, they’re hoping they landed their closer.

Lee is one of the best athletes in the entire class, who is slightly undersized for a traditional weakside linebacker, but incredibly instinctive, physically gifted and aggressive in taking on blocks. He has elite diagnose and attack skills, breaks on the ball suddenly and does a nice job of sifting through garbage to make plays. Though he is willing in run support, he consistently gets stuck on blocks due to his lack of length. What Lee lacks in the run game he makes up for as a freak in coverage. His speed and short area quickness compare favorably to that of Eric Kendricks who played outside at UCLA but moved inside in the NFL and covers all over the field in sub-packages.

ND edge rush

What does Darron Lee do well? You could argue of the 4-3 linebackers he is the very best at blitzing off the edge and getting to the QB after disposing of a RB trying to pick him up. If you seek plays behind the line of scrimmage, his 27.5 tackles for loss and his 12 sacks in 2 years show you nearly 40 explosives and a rate that is fantastic.

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