NFL Draft Review: AFC West



The Denver Broncos landed Texas A&M linebacker Von Miller with the 2nd pick of the 1st round. Miller was without question the top linebacker in the draft, but may be smallish to play defensive end. As the Broncos move from a 3-4 to a 4-3 defense, look for Miller at outside linebacker, perhaps at end on passing downs. Miller and Elvis Dumervil should help Denver improve on an NFL low 23 sacks a year ago. The Broncos picked up a pair of potential starters in the 2nd round in UCLA safety Rahim Moore and guard Orlando Franklin from the U. Moore fills a position of need and like Miller was the top player at his position in the draft. Franklin is 6’6″ 320 with versatility to play either inside or outside. Franklin may not have the athleticism to play tackle, but is expected to get a look at right tackle and left guard.

The Oakland Raiders brought in more quantity that quality, with six players capable of making a contribution. Penn State guard Stefen Wisnieski was considered a reach in the 2nd round but should start at either guard or center. Miami cornerback DeMarcus Van Dyke is a typical Oakland pick, more of a track athlete than football player. With Nnamdi Asomugha departing in free agency, corner is definitely a position of need. Ohio State corner Chimdi Chekwa is a man cover corner and was good value in the 4th round. LSU offensive tackle Joe Barksdale was a three-year starter and eventually projects as a bookend to left tackle Jared Veldheer. Oakland didn’t need a running back, but picked up small school start Taiwan Jones. Out of Eastern Washington, Jones has a blend of decent size and speed and should contribute on special teams as a rookie. Tennessee receiver Denarius Moore was very productive for the Vols and will run out of the slot.

Not an exciting draft for San Diego with a defensive tackle taken in the opening round. Illinois’ Corey Liguet figures to move outside in the Chargers 3-4 scheme, as they have a huge need at end. Clemson cornerback Marcus Gilchrist has versatility with the ability to cover slot receivers back at safety, early in his career. Home town start Vincent Brown put up excellent numbers at San Diego State and was good value given the Chargers uncertainty at wide out. Brown’s speed and size don’t jump out at you, but he runs excellent routes and should develop into a favorite of Philip Rivers. Connecticut running back Jordan Todman may turn out to be a steal in the 6th round. Todman doesn’t have the size to run between the tackles, but will be a nice spare to complement Ryan Matthews. Todman could also contribute on special teams.

The best draft in the AFC West, hands down, goes to the Kansas City Chiefs. Pittsburgh receiver Jonathan Baldwin has the chance to be as good as either A.J.Green or Julio Jones. Comparisons to Larry Fitzgerald are valid, at least potentially. Baldwin is 6’5″ 230, with a 42” vertical and excellent speed. KC should be able to count on he and Dwayne Bowe for years go come. Florida State’s Rodney Hudson was arguably the top interior offensive lineman in the draft. Hudson fills an area of need as the Chiefs are aging in the middle. Georgia’s Justin Houston was considered by some 1st round talent, so getting him in a 3rd round was a real coup.  Houston is huge, 6’3″ 270, with great athleticism and speed to rush on the edge. The Chiefs also picked up a pair of defensive line who should be in the rotation immediately Miami defensive end Allen Bailey and Jerrell Powe of Ole Miss are both very talented, and real value late in the draft. The Chiefs picked up their developmental quarterback getting  Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi in the 5th round.

Author: Tom Blaz

Tom is our featured columnist on FantasySP with more than 25 years of media experience in Radio and TV. You may know his work as a beat reporter for the Washington Redskins and the University of Maryland. He also reported LIVE from the Summer Olympics in Seoul, Barcelona and Atlanta. He is an avid Auburn fan, and writes for The Recruiting Eagle, a website focusing on Auburn athletics.

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