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NFL Draft Preview: AFC West

Gabe Salgado

Part seven of our 2015 NFL Draft preview takes us to the NFL’s “Wild West”. More specifically, the AFC West. A division which is always competitive, and always difficult to win. Last year; Denver ran away with the division uncontested, Kansas City got swept by Denver again, San Diego failed to keep up with either team, while Oakland had yet another losing season.

The Broncos need this year’s draft to re-stock talent at certain positions, the Chiefs and Chargers need the draft to find players to compete with Denver, and Oakland needs to find a franchise player or two, or three, etc. The AFC West could have multiple teams in the playoffs for 2015 depending on how well they do in the NFL Draft. If you were playing on paypal-casinos.co & placing a bet for Super Bowl 50, maybe some of
the picks below would give you more confidence.

Here is how the draft could shape out in this division…

 

Denver Broncos: Own picks 28, 59, 92, 133, 143, 164, 203, 250, 251 and 252 overall.

Ten picks is a lot for a playoff team. But considering the glaring needs on the offensive side of the ball, the Broncos will probably make good use of those selections. They need a tight end to replace Julius Thomas. They need an extra wide receiver to complement Demaryius Thomas as it appears that they won’t re-sign Wes Welker.

They’re also a little thin at the center position. And they need to start thinking about the future of the quarterback position. Peyton Manning is entering his 18th season and probably won’t play beyond that. Brock Osweiler is waiting to take over so he’ll need a young backup behind him.

Here are some players that new head coach Gary Kubiak could be looking at…

Tight End:

Oregon State’s Connor Hamlet (6’7”, 266) and Alabama’s Brian Vogler (6’7”, 263) both played in pro-style offenses. Combine that with their sizes, and they’re an ideal fit for Kubiak’s offense.

Wide Receiver:

Considering that Denver has some of the lower selections in the draft, they’ll have to get creative with the receiver position. That means taking a chance on a wild card pick like Michigan’s Devin Gardner (6’4”, 216). Who began his college career as a quarterback, but then was moved to running back and eventually wide receiver because of inconsistent play under center. He has speed but is otherwise still learning the position.

They could also take a gamble on an unknown like Northern Illinois’ Da’Ron Brown (6’0”, 205), or New Hampshire’s R.J. Harris (6’0”, 205).

Center:

This is another position where Denver will have to think outside of the box. With that being said, Ali Marpet (6’4”, 307) from Division-III’s Hobart & William Smith would be the perfect outside of the box candidate. He turned heads and surprised many at both the Senior Bowl and the Scouting Combine earlier this year. Perhaps he can turn heads in the NFL as well.

Quarterback:

The quarterback position is slim pickings this year. The good thing is the Broncos don’t need a franchise quarterback right away. They just need someone to sit behind Brock Osweiler who will be the starter sooner rather than later.

So all Kubiak needs is someone that can be coachable and teachable. Colorado State-Pueblo’s Chris Bonner (6’7”, 225) could be that player. He’s similar in size to Osweiler, and despite a lack of arm strength he does have some accuracy to him.

 

Kansas City Chiefs: Own picks 18, 49, 80, 98, 118, 172, 173, 193, 217 and 233 overall.

The offensive line is hurting after losing several players in free agency. They also need a 3-4 defensive end, and a cornerback. Here are some players who could be playing at Arrowhead this year…..

Offensive Line:

The Chiefs –based on where their selections are- can land some middle of the pack offensive lineman. Those players include Florida tackle Chaz Green (6’5”, 314), Florida center Max Garcia (6’4”, 309) and Oklahoma guard Daryl Williams (6’5”, 327).

Defensive End:

Iowa’s Louis Pasat-Trinca (6’1”, 290) could fit into a 3-4 scheme based on size and strength. They could also take a chance on Division-II Lincoln University’s Davon Walls (6’7”, 290), as he’s projected as a flexible 3-4 defensive lineman.

Cornerback:

With a 3-4 defense you need corners that make covering receivers a top priority. And the Chiefs can get those type of players in Tennessee’s Justin Coleman (5’11”, 185), Marshall’s Darryl Roberts (6’0”, 182) and Georgia’s Damian Swann (6’0”, 189).

 

San Diego Chargers: Own picks 17, 48, 83, 117, 153 and 192 overall.

The Chargers needs are few but great. They need a playmaking running back, an actual fullback (they’ve been using tight ends as H-Backs), and a speedy wide receiver. They also need some depth at linebacker as Dwight Freeney is still a free agent, Andrew Gachkar is now in Dallas, and Reggie Walker departed for Denver.

Here’s a list of talent that could be sporting powder blue in the near future…..

Running Back:

Northern Iowa’s David Johnson (6’1”, 224) has the type of speed that would suit the Chargers offense well. So does West Virginia’s Dreamius Smith (6’0”, 217).

Fullback:

Out of the seven fullbacks that have entered this year’s draft, Alabama’s Jalston Fowler makes the most sense because he operated in a similar offense with the Crimson Tide.

Wide Receiver:

Arizona’s Austin Hill (6’3”, 212), California’s Chris Harper (5’11, 175), and Alabama-Birmingham’s J.J. Nelson (5’10”, 156) have just enough speed and route running ability to give Philip Rivers some useful weapons.

Linebacker:

The “Super” Chargers best bet would be to take 4-3 linebackers and convert them into their 3-4 scheme. The players who can make the easiest transition for them are Southern California’s J.R. Tavai (6’2”, 249), Penn State’s Mike Hull (6’0”, 237), Ohio State’s Grant Curtis (6’3”, 238), and Alabama’s Trey DePriest (6’0”, 254).

 

Oakland Raiders: Own picks 4, 35, 68, 102, 140, 179 and 221 overall.

The Oakland Raiders need a whole new team to be honest. But for this year’s draft they need a wide receiver, a center and help along the defensive line. The Raiders are long way from their old school “Commitment To Excellence”, but here are some players who could help them get back to that excellence…..

Wide Receiver:

The Raiders have the first crack at getting Alabama’s Amari Cooper and West Virginia’s Kevin White. But if they don’t pick either player, they would be wise to select Missouri’s Dorial Beckham-Green (6’5”, 237), Georgia’s Chris Conley (6’2”, 213), or Washington State’s Vince Mayle (6’2”, 224).

Center:

Boston College’s Andy Gallik (6’2”, 306) would look nice in the black and silver as would Georgia Tech’s Shaq Mason (6’1”, 300).

Defensive Line:

At defensive end Arkansas’ Trey Flowers (6’2”, 266), Kentucky’s Za’Darius Smith (6’4”, 274), and Missouri’s Markus Golden (6’2”, 260) can fit in with what the Raiders will be doing defensively under new head coach Jack Del Rio.

The same can be said for the following defensive tackles: Florida State’s Eddie Goldman (6’4”, 336), Fresno State’s Tyeler Davison (6’2”, 316), and Washington State’s Xavier Cooper (6’3”, 293).

 

Will the AFC West be more competitive this year? Only time will tell….

 

 



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