AFC East Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Patriots

     

Bills

Once seen as a potential top-15 pick, former Iowa DE A.J. Epenesa slid all the way to the Bills’ pick in the second round. If Bills HC Sean McDermott has his way, Epenesa will wait a little bit longer to see the field in a full-time role. Buffalo has a number of other veterans on the defensive line and hopes to ease Epenesa in as a rotational player as he learns both defensive end and defensive tackle. 

“In a perfect world, he’ll play a backup position the first season potentially to move inside on rush situations,” McDermott said, via Syracuse.com’s Ryan Talbot. “That’s asking a lot at this point because, learning as you know, learning two positions just in your first season and adjusting all the while to life in the NFL is a challenge so we’ll just focus on one position for now, but the more he can do the better for us and for his future.”

  • The Athletic’s Joe Buscaglia writes Bills fifth-round QB Jake Fromm isn’t a lock to make the active roster as a third quarterback behind Matt Barkley if he struggles.
  • Buscaglia mentions Bills sixth-round CB Dane Jackson is likely competing with veteran CB E.J. Gaines for the sixth cornerback spot on the roster if Buffalo elects to keep that many. 
  • Fellow sixth-round K Tyler Bass is also in a competition with incumbent Bills veteran K Stephen Hauschka. Bass has the bigger leg but Buffalo still likes Hauschka’s accuracy inside of 50 yards. 
  • Buscaglia lists Bills seventh-round WR Isaiah Hodgins and UDFA OT Trey Adams and LB Mike Bell as young players who could push for a roster spot and are strong bets for the practice squad. 
  • Sports Illustrated’s Albert Breer mentions Bills CB Tre’Davious White as a non-quarterback who could merit an extension this summer and potentially reset the cornerback market. 

Dolphins

  • Armando Salguero of the Miami Herald writes that he thinks the Dolphins might be able to get a sixth-round pick right now for QB Josh Rosen. That’s a far drop from the second and fifth-round picks Miami gave to acquire him from the Cardinals last year. 
  • However, Salguero adds Miami isn’t in a rush to deal Rosen, as he might re-inflate his value if he performs well in camp and the preseason. 
  • Dolphins DB Bobby McCain said he’s “coming along really well” following November shoulder surgery and is working to be ready for the start of the season. (Salguero)
  • McCain is fine with staying at safety after moving from cornerback: “It’s not my decision to make decisions. I love playing football and I’m able to do it all.” (Adam Beasley)

Patriots

  • In his analysis of the Patriots roster looking ahead to final cuts, NESN’s Doug Kyed believes QB Brian Hoyer and LB John Simon are likely locks to make the roster. 
  • Kyed lists Patriots WR Mohamed Sanu, RB Brandon Bolden, RB Rex Burkhead, TE Matt LaCosse, OT Marcus Cannon and special teamer/DB Justin Bethel as potential cuts because of their salary and possible cap savings. 
  • Kyed also doesn’t think DT Beau Allen or S Adrian Phillips are roster locks despite being semi-prominent free-agent signings by the Patriots this offseason. 
  • He mentions Patriots RB Damien Harris and CB Joejuan Williams as players who could be gone if they don’t improve their games despite being third and second-round picks in 2019 respectively. 
  • Kyed adds Patriots WR Jakobi Meyers also isn’t necessarily safe after making the team as an undrafted free agent last year because of how much competition New England added at receiver. 
  • There are 34 players vying for about 10 roster spots, per Kyed. Of that group, the most likely to make the team include FB Danny Vitale, OT Yodny Cajuste, G Hjalte Froholdt, DT Byron Cowart, DE Deatrich Wise, LB Brandon Copeland and either S Terrence Brooks or S Cody Davis.
  • Over The Cap’s Jason Fitzgerald has the Patriots ranked in the first tier in his cap health index for 2021, which measures a team’s estimated cap space, cap flexibility and pending free agents. 
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