The Fantasy Points staff recently welcomed NFL Films legend Greg Cosell and NFL Insider Adam Caplan to talk about the AFC East as part of our Virtual Town Hall Series. I highly encourage you to check out the entire conversation by accessing our Livestream archives.
Greg and Adam joined John Hansen and company to break down the AFC East from front to back to help us get a deeper understanding of every roster heading into the summer. John has been holding these closed-door meetings with Greg and Adam for the last 15+ years. The Fantasy Points staff is proud to let the public peek behind the curtain during these exclusive Livestreams! Here are the notes we compiled from the AFC East meeting.
Adam Caplan (AC): Brian Daboll is a big loss for the Bills. He was the brains of the offense. Daboll coached Josh Allen hard and he took to it, and he did a great job of molding Allen. New OC Ken Dorsey also had a lot to do with Allen’s development, but he’s a big unknown as a play-caller.
AC: The offensive line will have some changes with two new starters in Ryan Bates and Rodger Saffold at guard. Bates has been a great story after they traded a can of corn for him.
AC: The Bills are still going to be a pass-centric offense. Zack Moss has essentially been benched after he didn’t take the job and run with it. They went hard after Christian McCaffrey but the Panthers weren’t interested, and they almost had J.D. McKissic. They clearly wanted a passing back so they drafted James Cook. The question is how many carries will he be able to handle at his size.
Greg Cosell (GC): Devin Singletary got better with more touches last season. They want to have a more meaningful run game that isn’t just Josh Allen.
GC: The Bills could be more diverse with their personnel this season based on free agency and the Draft. They could use more two-back sets and more 12 personnel. Both Dawson Knox and O.J. Howard can be detached from the formation.
AC: Gabriel Davis was one of the smartest rookie WRs the Bills had seen. He picked up all three positions with ease even during the pandemic when it was a little more difficult to learn. Greg added that Davis became more of a factor as last season progressed.
GC: Jamison Crowder’s signing has gone under the radar but he’s a good slot receiver. Crowder is more of a movement slot receiver — you want to get the ball to him on the move. Cole Beasley is more of a sit-down slot receiver. Greg also liked Khalil Shakir but he doesn’t know if he’ll have a role as a rookie with Isaiah McKenzie there. Adam adds that Shakir could actually play more on the outside since they don’t have a top backup on the perimeter.
GC: There are some who think Mike McDaniel is the NFL’s best run-game coordinator. Sony Michel is likely to get the most carries and we know they’re going to run the ball. Michel was never truly explosive but he could be similar to Elijah Mitchell as a tough inside grinder. Raheem Mostert isn’t a 250-carry guy. Mostert is the vertically explosive runner. Chase Edmonds is going to get most of the third-down work.
GC: McDaniel’s background is that you get to the passing game through the run game. He’s not going to line up in Empty personnel to throw the ball. OC Frank Smith is an old offensive line coach, and they signed FB Alec Ingold.
AC: They’re going to throw the ball a lot too. Just look at all the money they’ve added in the passing game between Tyreek Hill and Cedrick Wilson to go along with Jaylen Waddle and Mike Gesicki. They now have speed all over the field. Greg adds that Waddle could line up everywhere. The Dolphins could have Waddle in the backfield and Hill and Wilson at receiver.
GC: The Dolphins are playing to Tua Tagovailoa’s strengths with all of their slot-receiver types. They’re going to run a lot of RPOs with slants and glance routes. It’s going to be a rhythm passing game and they’ll let their receivers run after the catch. They’ll also dial-up their occasional vertical shots, but he’s not a big-armed quarterback. Deep throws won’t be the foundation of their offense.
GC: Fourth-round pick Erik Ezukanma could be McDaniel’s Jauan Jennings type of receiver with his size.
New England Patriots
GC: The Patriots clearly want to run the ball as the start of their offense, and the passing game will work off that with Mac Jones. They’re not going to sling it all over the field. He spoke to a couple of O-line coaches who loved Cole Strange. They also have a stable of running backs. Graham notes that Damien Harris is entering the final year of his contract so the draft picks could be protection for this roster in 2023.
AC: They love Harris as a grinder and as a finisher while Rhamondre Stevenson is more explosive. Greg adds that he’s not purely explosive but he does have light feet. Adam says they don’t have a bona fide offensive coordinator and that Joe Judge is likely to do it. This offense is still going to use a lot of 12 personnel since they paid Hunter Henry and Jonnu Smith.
GC: He really liked Tyquan Thornton’s tape. He didn’t see a big difference between Thornton and Chris Olave other than the name of the school on their jerseys. Thornton is more of an outside-the-numbers receiver. They have some talent at WR now if DeVante Parker can stay healthy.
GC: They probably see Mac’s early development as similar to Tom Brady’s development at the start of his career. The early Brady teams were built on the running game and their defenses. Brady didn’t become Brady until his third or fourth season.
New York Jets
GC: It all falls on Zach Wilson’s development after the last two drafts. The Jets have a pretty good receiving corps that has some depth to it. The O-line should continue to get better after signing Laken Tomlinson. They could have the best trio of tight ends in the league, but they won’t have one guy catching a ton of balls. Jeremy Ruckert was a big-time recruit out of high school, and he’ll be a much better pro than a college player. Tyler Conklin looked athletic on tape.
AC: C.J. Uzomah will be more of the inline TE and Tyler Conklin will be more of the movement TE. Some teams had starting grades for Ruckert coming out of Ohio State.
AC: Corey Davis will remain the Z receiver, Garrett Wilson will train at the X receiver and as a slot receiver, and Elijah Moore has the intelligence to play all three spots. Wilson and Moore are their two best talents but they could want Davis’ bigger body on the field at times when they’re in 12 personnel.
GC: Wilson is a refined receiver who can line up all over the field. Moore can also play all three positions, and he plays exceptionally well through contact.
AC: The Jets have set up Zach Wilson really well. They’ve made some significant upgrades to their roster. Zach Wilson is accountable and he knows he needs to better. He needs to take something off his fastball at times.
GC: Wilson had accuracy issues last season, and he didn’t see a lot of tight coverage at BYU. He also needs to understand who is open. His ball placement was lacking overall.
AC: Mekhi Becton has to lose some weight. Fourth-round pick Max Mitchell could compete with Becton if he still isn't in shape by camp.