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Friday, April 12, 2019

NFL Draft Needs, Wants and Questions: AFC West

By Steven Weldon

Back with another Need, Want, Question-this time for the AFC West!

The Raiders are in their last season of being in Oakland, one year into the ten-year Jon Gruden contract, and just added one of the best wide receivers in the NFL in Antonio Brown. This team still has a lot of holes, and luckily their shrewd moves landed them two extra first-round picks, in addition to their #4 pick. This will be very useful for their needs, as their needs line up with the talent in the draft.

They could go with a traditional defensive tackle in Quinnen Williams from Alabama, but they could also fill the giant hole that Khalil Mack left by selecting edge rusher Josh Allen of Kentucky provided he falls to them. The Jets also have the same needs, and they select one pick ahead. Montez Sweat from Mississippi State would also be a nice pick.

The Raiders won't find quite the same talent at picks 24 and 27, but they could reach for a cornerback like Greedy Williams or the only solid running back of the class, Josh Jacobs. 

It will be very difficult to be a high achiever this season, with the team's foot halfway into the Las Vegas doorframe. This season could set up for a good pick next season. Rebuilding away!

NEED: Young replacements on both sides of the ball, laying the groundwork for the future.
WANT: Nick Bosa, but he's not going to be there.
QUESTIONS: Eternal drama queen Antonio Brown is here, but will that be enough to compete?

The Broncos are coming off of a dismal season, the firing of their coach and a lot of questions. Almost too many. One we do know the answer to is who they will likely target, as they're one of two teams in the top ten picks who would target a quarterback. Case Keenum was not the answer this year, and they've been searching for a legitimate option since Peyton Manning left.

Drew Lock of Missouri or Daniel Jones of Duke would be good starts to their rebuild. The Broncos also need an offensive lineman to help the future, but they have a large number of picks later to nail the rest of their needs. If they can collect a solid wide receiver, that would be incredibly useful as well. The main need is winning. At least they've won a Super Bowl within the last decade to dampen the urgency.

NEED: The Quarterback Of The Future 
WANT: Someone who can throw the ball effectively and move the ball throughout the field in ten yard incremen- oh, same thing.
QUESTIONS: Where is this team going and how long will the rebuild last?

The LA Chargers made the playoffs after a nice ending to their season and will select fourth-to-last in the first round as a result. Defense is a need, especially on the interior, but somewhere in this draft or next year's draft, they're going to want to look at a quarterback, as theirs is getting near the end of his career. Selecting a defensive lineman would be incredibly useful to get Phillip Rivers further into the playoff rounds, maybe even the Super Bowl. They still play in the AFC, and there's a Patriot-sized wall in the way.

NEED: Young lineman/linebacker, Rivers to outlast Brady.
WANT: Consistent play, more Charger fans at their home stadium.
QUESTIONS: What is the trajectory of the current squad and how can they sustain it?

The Chiefs' offense is magical. Their defense is...depleted. In addition to losing Dee Ford to the 49ers this offseason, they must improve their 26th ranked defense. Yes, the NFL is changing and Patrick Mahomes 50 touchdown season was impressive enough to get them 45 regulation seconds away from the Super Bowl, but the defense made mistakes and could not stop the Patriots in the end. To get over the hump, they're going to want to select the best available NFL-ready defensive player in the first round, and fill out the rest of the draft with development projects.

NEED: Defense, defense, defense
WANT: Plug and play players, sustainment for the future
QUESTIONS: Will the Chiefs be back to the AFC title game next year?

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