- James Walker, ESPN Staff Writer
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The 2012 season is in the books for the AFC East. Therefore, ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. takes a look back at last year's draft and provides updated grades.
Here is Kiper's review for the division:
Buffalo Bills (6-10)
Kiper’s grade: C+
Thoughts: Buffalo underachieved as a team this year but got some production from its rookie class. Gilmore lived up to his reputation of being NFL ready and started all 16 games. He had some rookie growing pains with 61 tackles and one interception. The Bills want to see more big plays from Gilmore, but that should come with experience. Glenn made 13 starts at offensive tackle and looks like a long-time starter. Graham wasn't consistent enough as a rookie. He had 31 receptions and struggled with drops and concentration at times.
Miami Dolphins (7-9)
Kiper’s grade: B-
Thoughts: I thought this grade was low. Miami got a lot of production from its rookie class, and it was a major reason the Dolphins were in the wild-card hunt in the final month of the season. Tannehill threw for 3,294 yards and has a chance to be the long-term solution. Martin started all 16 games at both right tackle and left tackle, and Vernon flashed multiple times as a backup defensive end and special teamer. Even Miller rushed for 250 yards and averaged 4.9 yards per carry. Miller appears ready for an increased role next season.
New England Patriots (12-4)
Kiper’s grade: B+
Thoughts: New England spent its first six draft picks on defense and it paid immediate dividends. Jones, Hightower, Wilson and Dennard all made plays for the Patriots' improving defense. Jones provided a pass rush and Hightower added toughness against the run. Both players appear to be future staples in New England's front seven. Dennard was arguably the biggest surprise of the draft. The seventh-round pick played in 10 games, starting seven, and recorded three interceptions. Wilson also added four interceptions.
New York Jets (6-10)
Kiper’s grade: C
Thoughts: I wrote in April after the draft that New York was swinging for the fences with hit-or-miss picks in the first two rounds. Coples and Hill had various questions about maturity and being NFL ready, and both players struggled at various times their rookie years. Coples started two games and had 30 tackles and 5.5 sacks, but he came on at the end of the season. Hill’s rookie campaign never got off the ground and he finished with 21 catches for 252 yards. The Jets hope this rookie class can eventually blossom.