For the most part, the AFC East has been relatively clear-cut this season. The New England Patriots ran away with the division early and clinched a first-round bye, while the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins have struggled and remained at the bottom of the division. Yet, the team that was blindsided by a shocking injury in the offseason -- the New York Jets -- has overcome everything thrown at them consistently and are vying for a playoff berth in the final week of the season..
With the regular season nearly in the books, all four teams have needs on both sides of the ball for the upcoming offseason. Some have more than others, but each squad will get some young additions through the 2016 draft.
Here are the top needs for each AFC East team as they stand right now.
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Patriots: CB, RB, WR, MLB
Jets: LB, RB, QB, TE
Bills: WR, LB, S, OT
Dolphins: LB, OG, CB, S
With Friday and Saturday chock-full of draft prospects for the "New Year's Six" bowl games, these five players are among the ones to watch for AFC East fans.
Derrick Henry, RB, Alabama: Cotton Bowl Classic
Derrick Henry is a massive running back, standing at 6-foot-3, 242 pounds. He's the 2015 Heisman Trophy winner and was a consensus All-American, SEC Offensive Player of the Year, Water Camp Player of the Year, Doak Walker and Maxwell Award winner in 2015. Despite a heavy workload in 2015, he has only served as Alabama's starting running back for one season. He rushed for 1,986 rushing yards and 23 touchdowns in this season and played in every game in his three-year career at Alabama. Bill Belichick loves big, bruising running backs, so he could fit perfectly with the Patriots.
Teams interested: Patriots, Jets
Jayron Kearse, S, Clemson: Orange Bowl
The total package at safety, Clemson's 6-foot-5, 220-pound Jayron Kearse is a two-year starter who was named an all-ACC first-teamer after compiling 52 tackles and a career-best 6.5 tackles for a loss. Kearse has good speed and can deliver a hit when he meets his target and also has the athletic ability to be a rangy safety over the top.
Teams interested: Bills, Dolphins
Reggie Ragland, LB, Alabama: Cotton Bowl Classic
Reggie Ragland weighs in at 6-foot-2, 252 pounds and has good size to be an NFL linebacker. He was a consensus All-American in 2015, recording 183 tackles, 17 tackles-for-loss and four sacks the past two seasons for Alabama -- playing as a starter each year. Though he didn't take home any major awards this season, he was a Bednarik Award and Nagurski Trophy finalist (Defensive Player of the Year), and was a semifinalist for the Lombardi Award. He's been the heart and soul of the Alabama defense as a tackling machine in the middle.
Teams interested: Patriots, Jets, Bills, Dolphins
Jalen Ramsey, CB/S, Florida State: Peach Bowl
Arguably the best athlete in the ACC, Florida State's junior corner/safety Jalen Ramsey would have been a first-round pick last season if he was eligible for the draft. This season, the 6-foot-1, 202-pound track champion was named a consensus all-American and ranked third in the ACC Defensive Player of the Year voting. From corner to safety, Ramsey can do it all and is a star on special teams.
Teams interested: Dolphins, Bills
Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss: Allstate Sugar Bowl
Likely the top WR on many draft boards, boasting great size at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds. He ranks second in Ole Miss history with 196 career catches, fourth with 2,322 receiving yards, fourth with 18 TD catches and is tied for second with nine career 100-yard receiving games. Additionally, he's the SEC active leader in career receptions, receiving yards and touchdown catches. Injury questions shouldn't hurt his stock, though he did break his leg nine games into the 2014 season and was forced to miss the remainder of the year. He came back in 2015 with no issues, which is a good sign.
Teams interested: Patriots, Bills