What We've Learned: AFC

A look at what we've learned since AFC camps opened and every team got their first preseason game in the books

With camps winding up and something resembling real football happening on our screens, we can get a good idea of what to adjust from expectations going into training camp and what to continue to track to fill in variables in draft value equations the best we can. It’s time to take a breath before the second and third preseason games give us even more to (over) react to.

AFC East


John Brown has emerged as the #1 receiver, and Robert Foster has fallen off of the radar… Devin Singletary has been getting a ton of first-team work so the team can rest LeSean McCoy (who said he was told he would be “the guy”) and Frank Gore going into the season, and hasn’t given them any reason to think he wasn’t worth a third-round pick… T.J. Yeldon has failed to stand out and could be on the outside looking in at final cuts… the rebuilt offensive line has had a rash of injuries including a troubling concussion for free agent signing and possible new cornerstone Mitch Morse. It could be tough for this offense to overachieve in any way if the line doesn’t gel during the season, but if it goes that way, Josh Allen scrambling rushing stats will remain attractive for fantasy… None of the tight ends have been able to stay healthy, but there are signs that free-agent pickup Tyler Kroft will be back soon… #9 overall pick Ed Oliver is ascending quickly and could be an instant impact player for an underrated defense.


Ryan Fitzpatrick opened camp well ahead of Josh Rosen in the starting quarterback battle, but Rosen rallied late in camp. Whoever wins will probably be running for their lives regularly behind the worst offensive line in the AFC, one that got a new offensive line coach during camp (Dave DeGuglielmo, who oversaw the Colts offensive line rebuild last year, but Quenton Nelson ain’t walking through that door)… Rosen showed a willingness to throw the ball up for UDFA Preston Williams, who has been the story of training camp. If DeVante Parker (who created his annual camp buzz) falters yet again, Williams could be starting this year… Albert Wilson and Jakeem Grant aren’t quite healthy yet, and they will be counted on greatly to offset a line that won’t create a lot of time for downfield passing. Kenny Stills is the only reliable receiver for this team, but he won’t be a consistent fantasy play unless Wilson and Grant’s slow healing allows him to play more in the slot… Mike Gesicki has had ups and downs in camp by most accounts and will probably open the season running behind Nick O’Leary at tight end… Kalen Ballage was given a full opportunity to challenge Kenyan Drake for the starting job but looked ineffective in the preseason opener. The team will employ some version of a Patriots-style committee, but Drake is firmly atop the pecking order, assuming the injury that put him in a walking boot isn't severe.

New England

Sony Michel had a short stay on the PUP list and has had a quiet camp in a good way. He is getting worked into the passing game more after being one-dimensional last year when he missed most of camp… Damien Harris has shown three-down prowess, but he is likely just a role player with Michel looking healthy… Josh Gordon applied for reinstatement and from all public indications, the Patriots are still holding a place for him on the team… First-round pick N'Keal Harry was uneven in his first camp, but made a few big-boy plays in the first preseason game before getting dinged… Harry’s rookie thunder has been stolen by UDFA Jakobi Meyers, who quickly got into Tom Brady’s inner circle at practices and then carried over his play to the preseason opener. He has secured at least a roster spot, if not a role in the offense… Maurice Harris had a very strong open to training camp and probably won a roster spot to muddy the waters at wide receiver further… Ben Watson has had a good camp and will likely be the clear #1 tight end when he returns from a four-game suspension… Tom Brady got a new extension that actually was more money for this year and potential freedom next year… There has been nary a peep about Demaryius Thomas’s return, but the team did sign Cameron Meredith and immediately stashed him on the PUP list… The team has little to no depth at offensive tackle and was mentioned briefly as a possible trade partner with Washington for Trent Williams.

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