AFC Notes: Bills, Jets, Patriots

     

Bills

An NFC executive tells ESPN’s Jeremy Fowler that Bills LT Dion Dawkins, who just signed a four-year, $60 million contract earlier this month, is among the most underrated players in the league.

“He’s got everything — nimble feet, anchor, punch,” the NFC executive said. “Can be premier.

Jets

  • After training camp, Connor Hughes of The Athletic still feels exactly the same about QB Sam Darnold as he did after his first two years. He’s not a bust and can play, but is unsure if he can be the catalyst that can get the Jets to a Super Bowl.
  • Hughes says that there is cause for concern with rookie WR Denzel Mims not being on the field and that it is hard to see him having a big impact with such limited reps in camp.
  • While Hughes believes that WR Robby Anderson was more talented than WR Breshad Perriman, it is Perriman who he says can bring more to the Jets’ offense. Perriman is more willing to give one hundred percent on each play while Anderson would not if he wasn’t the No. 1 option, according to Hughes.
  • Wide receiver will still be an issue for the Jets this year, according to Hughes. Recently signed WR Chris Hogan won’t put the fear in opposing defenses and WR Jamison Crowder is mainly used as a slot receiver.
  • Hughes theorizes the Jets are hoping there will be plenty of receivers available during next year’s free agency period. He says the Jets could consider keeping an eye on a player like Steelers’ WR JuJu Smith-Schuster, who Mark Kaboly said has not had a strong training camp.
  • The relationship between Darnold and TE Chris Herndon could pay dividends for the Jets, as Hughes believes that Herndon will create matchup nightmares for opposing defenses.
  • The offensive line in New York can only get better as Mekhi Becton develops, according to Hughes. He also thinks RT George Fant could turn out to be a good signing while guards Alex Lewis and Greg Van Roten are solid starters.
  • Becton could be something special but after showing up to camp weighing 370, Hughes thinks the team may have to monitor his weight going forward in order to avoid injuries.
  • Hughes says that RB Frank Gore has been the most productive in training camp, adding that RB Le’Veon Bell has been attempting to find non-existent holes on a Jets’ offensive line that is not as good as what he had in Pittsburgh.
  • While he doesn’t think the Jets should pursue Jaguars’ DE Yannick Ngakoue, Hughes notes that DT Quinnen Williams has a quiet camp and that the team is slowly bringing along LB Avery Williamson following knee surgery.
  • Hughes mentions LB Blake Cashman as the Jets’ most physically talented linebacker and CB Blessuan Austin as the most confident among the defensive backs. He also says the team’s worst kept secret is that S Marcus Maye will be in for a big season in 2020 if he is able to stay healthy.
  • Despite having a weird form, Hughes says that P Braden Mann has looked good and says that the three-man kicking competition between Brant Boyer, Sam Ficken, and Brett Maher has looked troublesome.

Patriots

  • Tom Curran of NBC Sports Boston made note of players who are over and underperforming during the Patriots training camp sessions. Those who have had strong showings include K Nick Folk, DE Tashawn Bower, DE Nick Thurman, DE Deatrich Wise, S Terrence Brooks, LB Anfernee Jennings, and RB Damien Harris.
  • According to Curran, the underperforming players included WR N’Keal Harry, TE Dalton Keene, and QB Cam Newton. Curran also notes that Newton still seemingly has a firm grip on the starting quarterback job in New England.
  • ESPN’s Mike Reiss notes there’s a steep dropoff after third-round TE Devin Asiasi for the Patriots which has been on display after the rookie missed time with a rolled ankle. 
  • Reiss adds depth at defensive tackle and offensive tackle, playmaking ability at wide receiver and experience at inside linebacker are question marks for New England as the season nears.
  • Jermaine Eluemunor has moved from guard to tackle and appears to be locked in as the starter on the right side ahead of 2019 third-round OT Yodny Cajuste, per Reiss. 
  • Reiss thinks Patriots fifth-round K Justin Rohrwasser might end up on the practice squad. 
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