2023-04-17 · 3 min read · NFL/Football
Georgia football's Nolan Smith and Penn State's Joey Porter Jr.

Todd Kirkland/Getty Images | Penn State Nittany Lions

The NFL Draft is just around the corner, and with it comes the pressure on clubs to bring in a fresh face capable of making a difference.
There are plenty of unanswered questions about what each team will go for when they are on the clock and who is available.
So, while we await who will have their name called at Union Station in Kansas City when the draft takes place April 27-29, here is a look at who I believe the four AFC East teams will select with their top choice.
New York Jets- First Round 1- #13- Nolan Smith- Edge Rusher- Georgia
The Bulldogs have produced plenty of quality defensive players who have been scooped up by NFL clubs recently, and Smith could be the latest to join those ranks.
Robert Saleh’s defense was the reason they stayed in the playoff hunt for so long in 2022.
Still, Nolan Smith would make a lot of sense seeing as Carl Lawson is a potential salary cap casualty and New York are likely to lose Bryce Huff in the following offseason.
Smith is perhaps the most explosive edge rusher available in this year’s draft, with a solid ability to attack the edge, and he has the speed, flexibility and the versatility of being a linebacker who is ferocious against the run and good in coverage.
New England Patriots- Round 1- #14- Joey Porter Jr.- Cornerback- Penn State
Signing JuJu Smith-Schuster and Mike Gesicki should give Pats quarterback Mac Jones some reliable pass catchers while making their offense more dynamic, but they could use some help on the other side of the ball.
Joey Porter Jr. seems well-suited to a Bill Belichick defense, with the Nittany Lion running the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the combine, while he is an imposing presence at corner standing 6-foot-2.
With Penn State last season Porter did not allow a touchdown in coverage, plus he has the fluidity and quick feet to come down and defend slot receivers in man coverage.
Being from the same bloodline as former Steelers outside linebacker Joey Porter, it’s no surprise that this speedy corner is incredibly physical and, in your face, two qualities missing from the Pats last season.
Buffalo Bills- Round 1- #27- Drew Sanders- Linebacker/Edge Rusher- Arkansas
Sanders was a unanimous All-American in 2022 with the Razorbacks, the first one in school history since Ronnie Caveness way back in 1964, and he’s got plenty of qualities that the Bills could use.
He’s at his best in the pass rush, with an explosive first step and an ability to bend around blockers while also possessing a great change of direction.
The youngster has versatility and the skillset that NFL teams covet for edge rushers, leading Arkansas in tackles, pressures and sacks a year ago.
Miami Dolphins- Round 2- #51- Sam LaPorta- Tight End- Iowa
Tyreek Hill and Jaylen Waddle proved to be quite the receiving duo in 2022, but a big target who can convert third downs would be an asset for Mike McDaniel’s offense.
In 2021 Sam LaPorta led all tight ends in receptions (53), receiving yards (670), yards after the catch (299), yards after contact (206), and catches of 15+ yards (18).
He’s capable of running both tight end and receiver routes, while also being a reliable target on passing downs and frequently taking advantage of mismatches with linebackers.
LaPorta has a great athletic build and has shown a tremendous ability to adjust to the football.
Sports Tree Profile

By: Joel Lefevre


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