NFL Draft Needs: AFC West




 

The Rotoworld Football crew's Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

DENVER BRONCOS

Notable Offseason Additions: QB Jeff Driskel, RB Melvin Gordon, TE Nick Vannett, C Graham Glasgow, DT Jurrell Casey, CB A.J. Bouye, P Sam Martin

Starting Offense

QB: Drew Lock
RB: Melvin Gordon
WR1: Courtland Sutton
WR2: DaeSean Hamilton
WR3: Tim Patrick
TE: Noah Fant
LT: Garett Bolles
LG: Dalton Risner
C: Graham Glasgow
RG: Elijah Wilkinson
RT: Ja'Wuan James

Starting Defense

DE: Jurrell Casey
NT: Mike Purcell
DT: Shelby Harris
LOLB: Von Miller
ROLB: Bradley Chubb
ILB: Alexander Johnson
ILB: Todd Davis
CB: A.J. Bouye
CB: Isaac Yiadom
SCB: Bryce Callahan
S: Justin Simmons
S: Kareem Jackson

Team Needs

Mensio's Analysis

Wide Receiver: The Broncos traded Emmanuel Sanders to the 49ers at the deadline last season, and DaeSean Hamilton never realized his second-year leap, leaving Courtland Sutton as a virtual one-man show at wideout. Tim Patrick has some skill, but he's only shown flashes while battling injury in 2019. Denver needs to surround Drew Lock with as much talent as possible. This receiver-rich draft should provide a jolt to the Broncos' wideout room.

Offensive Tackle: LT Garett Boles is one of the worst left tackles in football. GM John Elway needs to figure this out if Drew Lock is going to have his best chance at success in the big leagues. Elijah Wilkinson could be ticketed for the opening at right guard, but word is big-money pickup Graham Glasgow may get that spot. If Glasgow goes there, it will leave a hole at center where Connor McGovern left for the Jets. RT Ja'Wuan James played just three games in his first year with the Broncos and wasn't able to finish any of them due to injuries.

Cornerback: The Broncos have good depth at corner despite losing Chris Harris to the Chargers in free agency. They sent a mid-rounder to the Jaguars for A.J. Bouye to take Harris' spot on the boundary. 2018 third-rounder Isaac Yiadom struggled in 2019, and nickel man Bryce Callahan missed the entire season with a foot injury. That's a big concern. DeVante Bausby, Trey Marshall, and Duke Dawson round out the group, but Denver could use a reliable starter.

Broncos' Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (15). WR Henry Ruggs, Alabama - Imagine pairing the speed of Ruggs with the talent of Courtland Sutton. With the Broncos adding a corner, lineman, running back and interior disruptor in free agency, targeting another offensive playmaker in the draft is likely a priority. Think rookie season Tyreek Hill in terms of Ruggs' potential usage as a rookie. It wouldn't be a stunner for him to be the first receiver off the board.

2 (46). C Cesar Ruiz, Michigan - As Nick pointed out, the Broncos have versatility along the interior with players possessing the ability to start in multiple spots. In this case, Glasgow moves over to guard with Ruiz sliding into the pivot role.

3 (77). CB Michael Ojemudia, Iowa - Ojemudia did play mostly off coverage during his time at Iowa, but he does possess great length and route recognition to match up with receivers. Footwork is very nimble to undercut routes while keeping eyes on the quarterback. It's a projection, yet the tools are there to be both a press man and off coverage corner.

3 (83). WR Lynn Bowden Jr., Kentucky - The Broncos attempted to draft a run after catch threat a few years ago in Carlos Henderson. That failed. But looking at this hypothetical group of Sutton and Ruggs, Bowden could be a very fun player closer to the line of scrimmage with the ball in his hands.

3 (95). LB Davion Taylor, Colorado - When looking at the Broncos depth chart, they seemed to lack a second linebacker that was comfortable in coverage. Enter Taylor who has the athleticism to cover ground in space.

4 (118). T Hakeem Adeniji, Kansas - Another offensive lineman, this time on the edges. The Broncos might be in a position with multiple options at each position. Hopefully all of them are "good" options. Adeniji definitely has the athleticism to hold up on a pass protection island.

5 (178). S Julian Blackmon, Utah - Mostly a free safety during his final season at Utah, Blackmon is the type of player you see fly down into the box and make plays on the ball carrier on the edge.

6 (181). DL Raequan Williams, Michigan State - Interior defensive line depth from a player who played as a 1-technique, 3-technique and played over top of the tackle.

7 (252). EDGE Tipa Galeai, Utah State - The Broncos certainly possess two outstanding edge rushers. I certainly don't expect Galeai to contribute, but he could grow into a rotational role. Possibly in the vein of Shaq Barrett during his time with Denver.

7 (254). RB Rico Dowdle, South Carolina - It's clear John Elway values big backs. That's why he signed Melvin Gordon as his feature player over sticking with Phillip Lindsay. Elway's pick history also includes Royce Freeman and David Williams. Dowdle possesses similar size.

The Rotoworld Football crew's Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

KANSAS CITY CHIEFS

Notable Offseason Additions: QB Jordan Ta'amu, TE Ricky Seals-Jones, G/T Mike Remmers, CB Antonio Hamilton

Starting Offense

QB: Patrick Mahomes
RB: Damien Williams
WR1: Tyreek Hill
WR2: Sammy Watkins
WR3: Demarcus Robinson
TE: Travis Kelce
LT: Eric Fisher
LG: Andrew Wylie
C: Austin Reiter
RG: Laurent Duvernay-Tardif
RT: Mitchell Schwartz

Starting Defense

LE: Alex Okafor
RE: Frank Clark
DT: Chris Jones
DT: Derrick Nnadi
WLB: Damien Wilson
MLB: Anthony Hitchens
SLB: Ben Niemann
CB: Charvarius Ward
CB: Rashad Fenton
SCB: Tyrann Mathieu
S: Nick Sorensen
S: Juan Thornhill

Team Needs

Mensio's Analysis

Cornerback: All three of Bashaud Breeland, Kendall Fuller, and Morris Claiborne played significant snaps for the Super Bowl champs. Breeland and Claiborne remain unsigned while Fuller went back to the Redskins on a four-year deal. DC Steve Spagnuolo worked wonders with the group he was dealt, which included trade pickup Charvarius Ward. The Chiefs were said to be in the market for Jalen Ramsey before he was traded to the Rams last season. Kansas City doesn't have many holes off a Super Bowl title, but it needs multiple corners. Tyrann Mathieu plays safety in the base but covered the slot a whole lot in 2019.

Interior Offensive Line: Key contributors Stefen Wisniewski and Cam Erving combined to start 13 games, with Wisniewski handling left guard duties throughout the playoffs. Wisniewski left for the Steelers in free agency, and Erving was released and remains unsigned. Austin Reiter was also pretty so-so at center after the Chiefs lost Mitch Morse to the Bills last offseason.

Linebacker: Anthony Hitchens has been pretty mediocre since signing a big-money deal to leave Dallas a couple offseasons ago. The Chiefs traded for former high-round draft picks Darron Lee and Reggie Ragland in recent years, but neither ended up contributing on defense much for the champs. Ragland signed with the Lions, and Lee is still a free agent. The Chiefs were destroyed on run defense last season, but having a healthy Chris Jones should help that.

Chiefs' Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (32). CB A.J. Terrell, Clemson - It wouldn't shock me if the Chiefs continue to invest in offense early rather than the obvious corner need. But it's hard to understate how much of a need it is, and the first to second round turn might be a bit of a sweet spot. Terrell has length, speed and easy movement to break on the football.

2 (63). WR K.J. Hamler, Penn State - What does a team with Tyreek Hill and Mecole Hardman need? Yes, even more speed. Make a strength stronger. Hamler is a vertical weapon with different gears to his game. Think about attempting to cover all of that speed attached to a quarterback with a rocket launcher for more than three seconds.

3 (96). C Nick Harris, Washington - Unsurprisingly, the Chiefs possess few holes on their roster. Interior offensive line depth that offers competition is one. Harris is super active in the pivot and offers athleticism to get in space or the second level.

4 (138). LB Troy Dye, Oregon - Dye lined up all over the place for Oregon. He spen most of his time in the box as a linebacker/safety hybrid, but also saw time in the slot and attached to the defensive line. Think of him as an answer to mismatch initiators on the offensive side of the ball.

5 (177). CB Thakarius Keyes, Tulane - A press corner with length who likes to get into a physical match with his opposing receiver.

The Rotoworld Football crew's Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

LAS VEGAS RAIDERS

Notable Offseason Additions: QB Marcus Mariota, WR Nelson Agholor, TE Jason Witten, TE Nick O'Leary, G/C Eric Kush, DE Carl Nassib, DT Maliek Collins, LB Nick Kwiatkoski, LB Cory Littleton, S Jeff Heath, S Damarious Randall

Starting Offense

QB: Derek Carr
RB: Josh Jacobs
WR1: Tyrell Williams
WR2: Nelson Agholor
WR3: Hunter Renfrow
TE: Darren Waller
LT: Kolton Miller
LG: Richie Incognito
C: Rodney Hudson
RG: Gabe Jackson
RT: Trent Brown

Starting Defense

LE: Maxx Crosby
RE: Clelin Ferrell
DT: Maurice Hurst
DT: Maliek Collins
WLB: Nicholas Morrow
MLB: Cory Littleton
SLB: Nick Kwiatkoski
CB: Trayvon Mullen
CB: Nevin Lawson
SCB: Lamarcus Joyner
S: Johnathan Abram
S: Damarious Randall

Team Needs

Mensio's Analysis

Cornerback: The Raiders traded away former first-rounder Gareon Conley to the Texans at the deadline last season, and Daryl Worley remains a free agent after leading the team in snaps at corner in 2019. Nevin Lawson will also be suspended to open the 2020 season. 2019 second-rounder Trayvon Mullen will likely be a starter, but this secondary definitely needs more help after checking in at 30th in pass-defense DVOA a year ago. The Raiders initially agreed to a one-year, $6 million deal with Eli Apple, but that agreement fell apart last week.

Wide Receiver: The Antonio Brown thing blew up in the Raiders' faces last summer, and Tyrell Williams was barely healthy after the first month of the season due to foot issues. Hunter Renfrow looks locked into slot duties for years to come, but the Raiders need another outside threat. Nelson Agholor was signed to a one-year deal at the veteran's minimum. He's not the answer. Expect the Raiders to use one of their two first-rounders on a wideout.

Interior Defensive Line: Off the edge, the Raiders bring Clelin Ferrell, Maxx Crosby, Carl Nassib, and Arden Key to the table. That's a really solid rotation. Along the interior, Johnathan Hankins and Maliek Collins are signed through just 2020. Maurice Hurst and P.J. Hall are entering their third seasons, and both played pretty well for DC Paul Guenther last year. This is by no means a pressing need, but securing a dominant inside presence could go a long way for this defense. With better quarterback play, the Raiders would be a team ready to compete in the AFC.

Raiders' Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (12). WR Jerry Jeudy, Alabama - The Raiders targeted multiple areas of need in free agency … except wide receiver. Gruden and Mayock have to be looking at the board at No. 12 thinking a great talent falls to them, and Jeudy is that. He's on the Stefon Diggs - Calvin Ridley spectrum: winning with separation at multiple alignments. The difference between the two is notable: One can be the primary for a team.

1 (19). CB Kristian Fulton, LSU - As discussed, the Raiders aimed to fix a number of holes in free agency. Eli Apple's deal at corner fell apart. Fulton has great route recognition to close on the football and might pair very well with Mullen long term. I was very tempted to double up at receiver for the Raiders in round one. If there was ever a year to do it...

3 (80). WR Isaiah Coulter, Rhode Island - The Raiders have displayed a willingness to draft players outside of big-time programs. P.J. Hall, Maxx Crosby are two examples. Coulter has Power-5 skills, creating constant separation on inside breaking routes. He and Jeudy would create separation, and QBs like Derek Carr certainly prefer to throw to open receivers within 12 yards of the line of scrimmage.

3 (81). G John Simpson, Clemson - Richie Incognito is another year older, so with so many top three round picks, the Raiders could be looking for the long term answer along the interior of their offensive line.

3 (91). LB Logan Wilson, Wyoming - The Raiders prioritized two starting linebackers in free agency. But if one goes down, they are one step closer to the situation they found themselves in last season. Wilson is one of the more athletic linebackers in this class.

4 (121). RB Lamical Perine, Florida - Josh Jacobs showed top-5 running back traits last season while playing with a shoulder issue. Jalen Richard was signed to an extension. But the No. 3 slot is open. Enter Perine, the type of back who can pick up yards after contact.

5 (159). CB Grayland Arnold, Baylor - The Raiders are light enough on the depth chart at two positions that they could double dip at each. It helps that Arnold has a punt returner background.

The Rotoworld Football crew's Ian Hartitz, Nick Mensio, John Daigle and Hayden Winks are breaking down every team's biggest needs, division by division, and Josh Norris offers potential solutions in this month's NFL Draft.

For a breakdown on every team, check out the team-by-team draft preview schedule.

LOS ANGELES CHARGERS

Notable Offseason Additions: RG Trai Turner, RT Bryan Bulaga, DT Linval Joseph, LB Nick Vigil, CB Chris Harris, KR Darius Jennings

Starting Offense

QB: Tyrod Taylor
RB: Austin Ekeler
WR1: Keenan Allen
WR2: Mike Williams
WR3: Andre Patton
TE: Hunter Henry
LT: Trent Scott
LG: Dan Feeney
C: Mike Pouncey
RG Trai Turner
RT: Bryan Bulaga

Starting Defense

LE: Joey Bosa
RE: Melvin Ingram
DT: Justin Jones
NT: Linval Joseph
WLB: Drue Tranquill
MLB: Denzel Perryman
SLB: Nick Vigil
CB: Casey Hayward
CB: Desmond King
SCB: Chris Harris
S: Derwin James
S: Michael Davis

Team Needs

Mensio's Analysis

Quarterback: Philip Rivers and the Chargers agreed to part ways, and Rivers signed with the Colts. That leaves Tyrod Taylor as the default starter, and coach Anthony Lynn has been saying all along that Taylor will be given a shot to start. Ideally, the Chargers add a higher-ceiling option, considering this roster is in good shape outside of under center. Justin Herbert and Jordan Love have been linked to the Chargers at the top of the draft. The Chargers haven't entertained the idea of signing Jameis Winston or Cam Newton to this point in free agency.

Left Tackle: The Chargers traded LT Russell Okung to the Panthers for RG Trai Turner earlier in the offseason, solidifying the interior of the offensive line, but it leaves incumbent LT Trent Scott and former RT Sam Tevi as options right now. Scott was Pro Football Focus' No. 80 tackle out of 81 qualifiers last year, and Tevi wasn't much better at No. 67. The Bolts have to be able to protect whoever the new quarterback is in 2020, whether it's a raw rookie or Taylor.

Edge Rusher: Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram are as good of a tandem as there is in the NFL, but Bosa is set to play under his fifth-year team option in 2020, and Ingram turns 31 this month as he heads into the final year of his deal. There isn't anything in the pipeline behind them in L.A outside of rush end Uchenna Nwosu.

Chargers' Draft Picks

Norris' Options

1 (6). QB Justin Herbert, Oregon - Kim Jones' report during Combine activities still rings in my head every time I see Herbert's name - that one team views Herbert as the most talented quarterback in 2020 and 2019. I recall Tom Telesco saying he'd wanted to draft Joey Bosa for two years before having that chance at No. 3. Maybe he's the one that feels the same about Herbert? With the Chargers not attacking the quarterback market in free agency, it's easy to see them selecting one early in April.

2 (37). T Austin Jackson, USC - The need at left tackle is obvious. It wouldn't be surprising to see some teams view Jackson as a first round prospect. I do not due to his late hands that lead to poor positioning. But his combination of size and athleticism is a gamble worth taking at the top of round two at a cornerstone position.

3 (71). WR Chase Claypool, Notre Dame - When watching the size and speed specimen that Claypool is, one name came to mind: Vincent Jackson. That is obviously the ceiling of Claypool's projection, but he is fantastic on contested catches at any point on the field with fantastic body control, plus Notre Dame loved to get him moving on crossing routes underneath to create yards after the catch.

4 (112). EDGE Alex Highsmith, UNC Charlotte - It can be difficult to find pass rushers on Day 3. Highsmith offers that upside, with 16 sacks during his final year after taking over on the outside.

5 (151). TE Thaddeus Moss, LSU - Hunter Henry is on a franchise deal, and the Chargers allowed to other tight ends to leave in free agency. Moss, son of Randy, relies on his physical tendencies both as a receiver and a blocker.

6 (186). RB DeeJay Dallas, Miami - Austin Ekeler and Justin Jackson likely form a lead duo for the Chargers. After that, there's questionable depth.

7 (220). G Solomon Kindley, Georgia - The Chargers finally have some depth along their offensive line as long as they find a true left tackle. Add Kindley to that, who was a part of the best line in college football last season.

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