Bengals, Bills shine on draft day

They say it takes four years to truly evaluate a draft class, but that doesn't mean you can't get a first impression. Here's mine of the AFC's 2009 draft classes. (Click here for NFC evaluation.)

AFC East

Buffalo Bills

2009 draft class
Best pick: DE/OLB Aaron Maybin, Penn State (first round, No. 11 overall)
Worst pick: C Eric Wood, Louisville (first round, No.28 overall)
Bottom line: On paper, this is one of the best drafts of 2009. I would have liked to see them take an OT with one of their two first-round picks. Wood was a bit of a reach late in the first, but he and G Andrew Levitre will ultimately become starters and boost what was the weakest area of the team entering the draft. Buffalo's second-biggest priority was to upgrade its pass rush, and that goal was accomplished by selecting Maybin, who is the best pure edge rusher in this class. Maybin will play in a rotation with Chris Kelsay and Aaron Schobel early on and will have time to get bigger and stronger. And watch out for TE Shawn Nelson, who could turn into a late-round steal.

Miami Dolphins

2009 draft class
Best pick: CB Sean Smith, Utah (second round, No. 61 overall)
Worst pick: WR Patrick Turner, USC (third round, No. 87 overall)
Bottom line: I was surprised that Miami's draft seemed to veer from a typical Bill Parcells draft. The Dolphins loaded up on needs at WR and DB. CB Vontae Davis could be a stud or he could be a bust due to poor technique and a marginal work ethic. QB/WR Pat White is intriguing because of his athleticism and potential to contribute in the Wildcat, but there were better options if Miami was looking for someone to line up opposite Ted Ginn Jr. at that point (and no, Turner is not one of them). I think Davis and Smith can be coached well and will upgrade the secondary significantly over time, and both will be good players in that system.

New England Patriots

2009 draft class
Best pick: CB Darius Butler, Connecticut (second round, No. 41 overall)
Worst pick: OG Richard Ohrnberger, Penn State (fourth round, No. 123 overall)
Bottom line: Bill Belichick, as usual, was trading at a dizzying pace and ended up with a bunch of versatile players, a handful of whom should find a way to contribute immediately. S Patrick Chung is a hard hitter who can be protected in coverage in New England's scheme, while Butler is a phenomenal athlete, but it will be interesting to see if his lack of toughness becomes an issue for Belichick. Other potential contributors include Ron Brace, a two-gap DT, Sebastian Vollmer, the draft's most underrated OT, and WR Brandon Tate, who has the ability to return kicks and can contribute as a sub WR and on special teams.

New York Jets

2009 draft class
Best pick: QB Mark Sanchez, USC (first round, No. 5 overall)
Worst pick: OG Matthew Slauson, Nebraska (sixth round, No. 193 overall)
Bottom line: I applaud the Jets' aggressive mindset. Sanchez might not be ready right away, but he fits here, has the mentality to handle New York, and the Jets have the right philosophy in place to protect him with a solid running game and a good defense no matter when he starts. Sanchez comes from a similar system and understands his role in that philosophy. There's not much else to this draft with just the three picks, but RB Shonn Greene provides insurance and protection for a group of running backs who might not be there long term.

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