The final stop on the divisional needs tour and it is a division with a ton of potential.
New York Jets–The locker room is cancerous at this point, with anonymous players criticizing their starting quarterback, it has resulted in dividing a locker room for an underachieving team. Their loud mouth Head Coach Rex Ryan continues to make things worse for them as players by making a yearly declaration that they will win the Super Bowl, and yet, they still have not played in one. In my opinion, Mark Sanchez will never be able to lead this team to a Super Bowl. I don’t think he is skilled enough and is a glorified game manager. But, since he is only 25, the Jets will give him more time to develop, especially with a new offensive coordinator being hired this offseason. Since such is the case, they need to get him a second wide receiver. Plaxico Burress is not good enough anymore to draw any serious attention off Santonio Holmes, and quite frankly, Holmes might be traded this offseason because he was a giant head case this past year (classic buckeye mentality). They need to add another defensive end to play along side Muhammad Wilkerson, and give him some support in the 3-4 defense. Their final need that they will need to address is offensive guard. They are strong on the offensive line at center and tackle, but they still gave up 39 sacks (espn.com stats). If they want to give Sanchez a chance to develop and be successful, they must protect him.
Miami Dolphins–With the hiring of Joe Philbin as their new head coach, who was the Packers offensive coordinator, I would fully expect the Dolphins to sign Matt Flynn this offseason. I am a Chad Henne fan, and I think that he was the wrong quarterback for Tony Sparano’s modified spread offense, and Henne needs to be under center. It can also be argued that Henne had no help on offense whatsoever during his time in Miami. Regardless, Flynn to Miami is almost a lock in my mind, and this would allow them to have two solid quarterbacks to fight it out during camp for the job, assuming they resign Henne. I personally don’t think that quarterback is one of the Dolphins three biggest needs, but I think the organization will address the quarterback position in the offseason. The Dolphins will either draft 8th or 9th, once again depending on a coin flip, and I would look for them to draft an offensive tackle. With the exception of Jake Long and Mike Pouncey, they did not have any protection, which is evident with the 52 sacks they gave up this year (espn.com stats). Finally, with Jason Taylor retiring, I would expect them to add another outside linebacker to try to replace the Dolphin legend.
Buffalo Bills–This team got off to an incredibly hot start and had an absolutely epic collapse. I’m not sure why they were so quick to give Ryan Fitzpatrick a contract extension, but they did and now that he is guaranteed $24 million, he is definitely their guy going forward (espn.com). The Bills are in dire need of a pass rushing defensive end to play next to last years first round pick, Marcell Dareus. And with their 28th ranked rushing defense, I would fully expect them to draft an outside linebacker to help support their young defensive line (espn.com stats). From here, the Bills need to draft a second receiver to help open up the run game more for Fred Jackson and take some of the pressure off Steve Johnson, once again assuming he is resigned. If they choose not to, then they will need to draft a number one receiver, and this need could become their most pressing one.
New England Patriots–The first order of business for the Patriots is to resign Wes Welker. They don’t want to have their only good wide receiver walk in free agency. I had high hopes for Chad Ochocinco, but he has never caught on with the new offense and is not even active for their playoff game today. Their defense has been pathetic all year, ranking 31st against the pass (espn.com stats) and while I would not expect them to address cornerback, strictly because they have young players there, they do need another safety to pair with Patrick Chung. Chung has excelled on the Patriots defense, but they are lacking a strong safety to play next to him. It should also be noted that having a strong pass defense is not strictly about having a good secondary, the Patriots need to add another pass rushing linebacker, who can play in their 3-4 defensive system. Finally, if I’m the Patriots, I invest in a second wide receiver. Aaron Hernandez and Rob Gronkowski are the best tight end combination in the entire league, and this offense can only get more dangerous if they add another receiver into the mix. They already have a stable of young runningbacks that they do not use, so they might as well bolster their already potent passing game.