May 25, 2024

How Aaron Rodgers, NFL Draft, is affecting the AFC East balance of power


Last season, there were only two divisions with quarterbacks that finished in the top 15 on MVP voting, and one of those divisions just added a four-time MVP.

Does that mean Aaron Rodgers joining the New York Jets does the AFC East make the division with the most QBs in the NFL? Rodgers agrees buffalo billsJosh Allenwho came third in the MVP voting, and the Miami DolphinsTua Tagovailoa (15th on the vote) to an impressive triumvirate of passers-by.

Caesars Sportsbook has the AFC East as the only division with three QBs among the top 9 picks for the 2023 MVP, with Allen in second, Rodgers in seventh and Tagovailoa in ninth.

As for team expectations, with Rodger’s arrival, the Jets are the second betting favorite to win the division behind the Bills. The dolphins are third in front of the snapped New England Patriots.

With that in mind, ESPN Jets reporter Rich Cimini, Bills reporter Alaina Getzenberg, Dolphins reporter Marcel Louis-Jacques and Patriots reporter Mike Reiss take a look at Rodgers’ impact on the AFC East. And ESPN NFL draft analyst Jordan Reid examines which teams in the division improved the most from the draft.

How Rodgers is changing the balance of power in the division?

Six games separated them top of the division (Bills) from below (Jets) in 2022. The addition of Rodgers gives the Jets a chance to go from worst to first because they will have a legitimate NFL offense for a change. They were 29th last season, which means they turned up for a rock fight with water balloons. They couldn’t match the Bills (fourth overall) and Dolphins (11th) as they were doomed by underperforming quarterback play.

Rodgers, whose Packers teams finished below 15th just once during his 15-year tenure at Green Bay (and that was a season cut short by injury), should give the Jets an opportunity to win shootout games. The AFC East defense that kept the Jets on just three touchdown passes last season must now respect them as a balanced offense. The days of exploiting inexperienced Jets quarterbacks (for two years Zach Wilsonpreceded by three years Sam Darnold) are over.

For a change, the Jets can win at quarterback — and that changes everything in the division. – Cimini

Is this now the division with the most QBs in the league?

Welcome to the conversation, AFC East!

Always start with the stars, and an Allen-Rodgers duo is a legitimate contender when facing the AFC West (Patrick Mahomes, JustinHerbert), AFC North (Joe Burrow, Lamar Jackson) and NFC East (Jalen hurts, Dak Prescott).

Beauty is always in the eye of the beholder, and for that set of eyes, Rodgers’ arrival isn’t enough to push the division past AFC West and AFC North. Maybe I’m too influenced by the last game I saw Rodgers play — a home loss in prime time Week 17 to the Lions with a playoff berth on the line and he finished 17-of-27 for 205 yards with 1 touchdown and 1 interception .

The depth of QBs in the AFC East is solid with Dolphins’ Tagovailoa and Patriots. MacJonesand that would be a stronger argument for pushing it past the AFC West (Wilson, Jimmy Garoppolo), AFC North (Deshaun Watson, Kenny Pickett) and NFC East (Daniel Jones, Sam Howell/Jacoby Brissett) when judging the division with the most QBs. But it’s just not enough for me to make it to number 1. – tear

Which QB is surrounded by the best talent?

Tagovailoa gets the nod here. While Stefan Diggs (Bills), Garret Wilson (jets) and JuJu Smith-Schuster (Patriots) are nothing to scoff at, dolphin recipients Tyreek Hill And Jaylen Waddle set an NFL record for combined receiving yards last season (3,066). Miami struggled to run the ball efficiently in 2022 but added a potential home run threat with the draft running back Devon Achane. It was one of the league’s most dangerous offenses last season and there’s no reason to think it won’t be the case again in 2023 – as long as Tagovailoa stays healthy.

And in a division not particularly blessed with elite offensive play, Tagovailoa may have the best lineman in left tackle Terron Armstead. Overall, the line is the Dolphins’ weakness on offense, but they were also plagued by injuries last season. If healthy, it should be good enough to sustain Tagovailoa. The Jets are a close second considering the production Wilson has pitched in 2022 as a rookie and when Breece Hall Having fully recovered from a cruciate ligament tear in his left knee, New York has enough talent to challenge the Dolphins for the title. – Louis-Jacques

Which team has the best defense to take out an elite QB?

This is a tough pick as there are compelling cases for the Jets, Bills and Dolphins and any Bill Belichick defense should never be counted out, but for now I’m giving the Jets a slight advantage. They’re bringing back a young defense that should only improve, and of teams in the division, the Jets gave up the fewest passing yards per game (189.4) and had the most quarterback contacts (194) in 2022. They also kept the Bills on two of the team’s three lowest regular-season scores and limited Rodgers and the Packers to 10 points.

The Bills might have gotten the advantage here if the team hadn’t changed coordinators (coach Sean McDermott will now name defensive plays), which could take some time to adjust to, and when By Miller did not have a serious right knee injury, making his availability uncertain. It will also likely take time to develop consistency with whoever wins the middle linebacker job. Time will tell if the Dolphins should earn that crown with a talented new defensive coordinator in Vic Fangio and the addition of a cornerback Jalen Ramsey. — Getzenberg

Which team helped each other the most in the draft?

The Patriots really impressed me. Trade back three spots in the first round and still land an Oregon cornerback Christian Gonzales – which was my #6 overall – at #17 was an A-Plus start. They followed that up by using a defender Keion White and linebackers Marta Mapu on Day 2, two high quality players who fit into their scheme. They made nine picks on Day 3 and focused on special teams. New England typically puts together smaller-than-normal draft boards that contain prospects that fit the team’s specific scheme, and I think the Pats walked away with some real difference makers. The only area they didn’t address was offensive tackling, which remains a big question. – Reid

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