2018 NFL Draft In Review, AFC West

Denver Broncos

Draft picks: N.C. State DE Bradley Chubb (No. 5 overall), SMU WR Courtland SuttonC (No. 40 overall), Oregon RB Royce Freeman (No. 71 overall), Boston College DB Isaac Yiadom (No. 99 overall), Iowa LB Josey Jewell (No. 106 overall), Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton (No. 113 overall), Wisconsin TE Troy Fumagalli (No. 156 overall), Arizona State OG Sam Jones(No. 183 overall), Washington LB Keishawn Bierria (No. 217 overall), Arkansas RB David Williams (No. 226 overall). 
Denver had larger needs going into the draft than finding another edge player to line up opposite of Von Miller. Teams were likely calling Elway offering a king’s ransom to move up into this slot either for Chubb or one of the two falling quarterbacks. The Broncos ultimately decided to stay put and draft the best player on their board which happens to play a premium position in the league. Sutton likely had some first round consideration so he was a good find in round two although it is uncertain how quickly he will have a significant impact on Sundays. Sutton is a big target but is going to have to work on his craft to create separation from NFL defensive backs. Royce Freeman runs with the vision and balance that will remind you of Kareem Hunt. Do not be surprised if he earns a lead role at RB for the team. Yiadom will give the team depth at CB but is going to have to bulk up significantly. Jewell might not possess freakish athleticism but he has the smarts and savvy to win a job inside and help Denver’s run defense immediately. Hamilton is a refined route runner and may end up finding action as a rookie. Fumagalli and Jones are two picks that have a shot to stick at their respective positions. Bierria might be a player that needs some development but could find his way on the back end of the roster or the practice squad.

 

Kansas City Chiefs

Draft picks: Mississippi DL Breeland Speaks (No. 46 overall), Florida State DT Derrick Nnadi (No. 75 overall), Clemson LB Dorian O’Daniel (No. 100 overall), Texas A&M S Armani Watts (No. 124 overall), Central Arkansas CB Tremon Smith (No. 196 overall), Tennessee OG/DL Kahlil McKenzie (No. 198 overall). 
This draft will be perceived, fairly or otherwise, on how well Pat Mahomes plays this year under center as the team gave up their first round pick to Buffalo this season to go get their guy last year. The Chiefs wanted to add a player that can move along the defensive line and accomplished that in Speaks. It is fair to question if Speaks went a round too early and the Chiefs decided to move up to get him. Speaks has the NFL body and is a NFL athlete but he has struggled in certain areas including awareness, pad level, and immaturity. Nnadi will be asked to play the NT position in KC. Nnadi is a good and smart player but is going to have to prove that he can handle the power of NFL centers at the point of attack. O’Daniel is an outstanding match-up player for passing downs but at his size might be a better fit for sub-packages and special teams than at being a full-time starter. Watts has big upside and was a good find at pick 124. Smith has a chance to make the team as CB quickly became a position of need after trading Marcus Peters in the offseason. MacKenzie is a freakish athlete who is switching sides of the ball to add depth at guard.

Los Angeles Chargers

Draft picks: Florida State S Derwin James (No. 17 overall), USC LB Uchenna Nwosu (No. 48 overall), N.C. State DT Justin Jones (No. 84 overall), West Virginia S Kyzir White (No. 119 overall), UCLA C Scott Quessenberry (No. 155 overall), Texas Tech WR Dylan Cantrell (No. 191 overall), Northwestern RB Justin Jackson (No. 251 overall). 
Perhaps the best combination of value and drafting a position of need in the entire draft was the Chargers landing Derwin James all the way at pick 17. James is a freak athlete and is an alpha on and off the field. James will add some edge to an already talented defense in Los Angeles. He will be a perfect fit for what the team is looking for in the safety position. Nwosu is a good fit for the team but there were some other good linebackers, arguably better prospects, available at the spot. Jones was drafted a round early but NT checks off a need. White is a big and physical safety that might get on the field as a nickel linebacker. Quessenberry adds depth in the interior offensive line. Jackson would have been drafted much earlier had the RB class not been so deep this year.

Oakland Raiders

Draft picks: UCLA OT Kolton Miller (No. 15 overall), Sam Houston State DT PJ Hall (No. 57 overall), North Carolina A&T OT Brandon Parker (No. 65 overall), LSU DE Arden Key (No. 87 overall), Wisconsin CB Nick Nelson (No. 110 overall), Michigan DT Maurice Hurst (No. 140 overall), Florida P Johnny Townsend (No. 173 overall), Washington LB Azeem Victor (No. 216 overall), Oklahoma State WR Marcell Ateman (No. 228 overall). 
The Raiders were able to add some picks by trading back into the first round. With both Tremaine Edmunds and Derwin James somehow still being on the board at 15 it was disappointing to see the Raiders reach on Miller. The Raiders obviously made it a priority to get younger at the position and the depth in this class is weak at tackle. With that said Miller always seemed like a late first to early second round prospect. PJ Hall is a nice fit for the defense but was over-drafted. Parker is a developmental project at OT who has some upside but also was drafted a round early. Save the off-field concerns and injury issues and Arden Key is a top 15 player in this draft. If Gruden can keep him focused and in shape Key can develop into one of the better pass-rushers in the league. Nick Nelson suffered an injury in the offseason but should be ready to go well before the season. Nelson is a nice player who can compete for playing time. If Hurst clears all of the medicals and can get on the field it is likely that he may end up being the best player in Oakland’s class. Gruden might see a lot of Warren Sapp in Hurst when it comes to off the ball quickness. Everyone is cheering for him. Ateman is a fun prospect as he has great size at WR but with the additions of Bryant and Switzer it will be difficult to get on the field this year. Victor showed promise early on in his career before being sent to the dog house last year in Washington.

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