AFC Notes: Bills, Dolphins, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

Dolphins

  • Ian Rapoport mentions that the Dolphins had WR Jaylen Waddle ranked second overall on their draft board, behind QB Trevor Lawrence.
  • Dolphins’ GM Chris Grier on drafting Miami EDGE Jaelan Phillips: “He’s competitive. He’s passionate. He plays 100 miles per hour, has a tremendous motor.” (Josh Tolentino)
  • Grier also says “a couple of teams” called about trading up to No. 6 but “nothing really serious.” (Armando Salguero)
  • Jason La Canfora reports that the Dolphins tried to move ahead of the Steelers at No. 24 overall to select Alabama RB Najee Harris despite passing on him at No. 18. 

Jets

Jets first-round OL Alijah Vera-Tucker said he has a “good feeling” about the organization and is grateful they traded up to No. 14 for him. 

“I liked their vibe,” Vera-Tucker said, via Brian Costello of the New York Post. “I liked what they’re doing there, how they’re trying to change things up. I got a good feeling from them. They traded up to get me, so I’m excited.”

Jets GM Joe Douglas felt like they had the “unique opportunity” to acquire a top-10 rated player on their board as reason for making the trade. 

“I think where we were sitting at 23, we felt like we had a unique opportunity to get a top-10 player in our minds as our board was stacked,” Douglas said. “To go up and get a guy like Alijah Vera-Tucker, a player that has started at tackle, has started at guard and has been highly productive at both. That versatility and that production is something we really value.”

Vera-Tucker believes Jets’ new QB Zach Wilson will be a “game-changer right away” in New York. 

“He’s a guy who’s going to be a game-changer right away,” Vera-Tucker said. “Who doesn’t want to block for someone like that? That’s going to be real exciting.”

Patriots

Patriots HC Bill Belichick said that first-round QB Mac Jones was the best player available to them at No. 15 overall in the 2021 NFL Draft. 

“Mac was available at our pick and he was a guy we spent a lot of time with. Felt like that was the best pick at that time for us,” Belichick said, via Mark Daniels of The Providence Journal. “Look forward to working with him. He’s a smart kid. He’s been in a system that’s similar to ours. We’ve had a lot of good conversations with him. I think he’ll be able to process the offense. It’s obviously going to take a lot of time. See how it goes.”

Belichick added that Cam Newton is their starting quarterback and that Jarrett Stidham or Jones must work toward challenging for the first-team role. 

“Cam’s our quarterback. Whatever time Jarrett or Mac are ready to challenge and compete, we’ll see how that goes. But right now for Mac, he’s just got a lot of learning in front of him. I know he’s very anxious to get going and get started on it.”

  • Patriots’ QB Mac Jones on what it means for him to be headed to New England after being selected No. 15: “At the end of the day, you kind of want to get the right fit. I feel like, secretly, I really wanted to go to the Patriots all along. So I’m actually really happy it happened.” (Mike Reiss)

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