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AFC East First Round Draft History

In this article, we take a look at the drafting history of the AFC East, and how long teams were able to retain their first round picks.


As I was researching where members of the New York Jets were drafted, I became curious about how long the players the team drafted in the first round stayed with the team. I then thought it'd be interesting to compare the numbers with the other teams in the AFC East, that is, the Buffalo Bills, Miami Dolphins, and New England Patriots. The first thing that I quickly realized is that over the past thirteen years, the Dolphins have drafted the fewest number of first rounders. The Jets, on the other hand, have taken the most, eight more first rounders over those thirteen years than the Dolphins, six more than the Patriots, and three more than the Bills. Here are the first round picks for each of the teams in the AFC East, and how many years they played for the team that drafted them:

New York Jets Buffalo Bills Miami Dolphins New England Patriots
Name Years Name Years Name Years Name Years
Shaun Ellis 10 Erik Flowers 2 Jamar Fletcher 3 Richard Seymour 8
John Abraham 6 Nate Clements 6 Vernon Carey 8 Daniel Graham 5
Chad Pennington 8 Mike Williams 4 Ronnie Brown 6 Ty Warren 8
Anthony Becht 5 Willis McGahee 4 Jason Allen 5 Vince Wilfork 9
Santana Moss 3 Lee Evans 7 Ted Ginn, Jr. 3 Benjamin Watson 6
Bryan Thomas 10 J.P. Losman 5 Jake Long 5 Logan Mankins 8
Dewayne Robertson 5 Donte Whitner 5 Vontae Davis 3 Laurence Maroney 5
Jonathan Vilma 3 John McCargo 5 Jared Odrick 3 Brandon Meriweather 4
D'Brickashaw Ferguson 7 Marshawn Lynch 4 Mike Pouncey 2 Jerod Mayo 5
Nick Mangold 7 Leodis McKelvin 5 Ryan Tannehill 1 Devin McCourty 3
Darrelle Revis 6 Aaron Maybin 2 Dion Jordan 0 Nate Solder 2
Vernon Gholston 3 Eric Wood 4 Chandler Jones 1
Dustin Keller 5 C.J. Spiller 3 Dont'a Hightower 1
Mark Sanchez 4 Marcell Dareus 2
Kyle Wilson 3 Stephon Gilmore 1
Muhammad Wilkerson 2 E.J. Manuel 0
Quinton Coples 1
Dee Milliner 0
Sheldon Richardson 0

It's difficult to calculate an average because of players that were just drafted or that are still on their rookie deals. However, if you were to do so anyway, you'd see the Jets players average 4.77 years with their original team, the Bills average 3.69 years, the Dolphins average 3.55, and the Patriots average 5 years. An easy interpretation of those numbers would indicate the Patriots are "better" at retaining the first round picks. Most likely, that should be attributed to better drafting rather than a desire to "stick it out" with underperforming but highly drafted players. Consider that, since 2000, the Patriots have made the playoffs in ten of thirteen years, the Jets in six, the Dolphins in two, and the Bills in zero. Considering their draft history, that isn't much of a surprise.