Not every NFL team had themselves a good draft according to SB Nation's Dan Kadar. He gave each team a grade with pick-by-pick analysis of each team. My attention was nearly entirely on the Denver Broncos over the three days of the NFL Draft, so this morning I woke up wondering what people were saying about those hated AFC West rivals.
But first, let's find out what Kadar had to say about the Broncos. Then we'll see how the rest of the AFC West did.
The defending Super Bowl champions surprised some people by trading up in the first round to take quarterback Paxton Lynch. His footwork needs to be worked on, but all of the tools are there for him to eventually become the starting quarterback. Gotsis in the second round was a surprise, but he fits what the Broncos do up front. Justin Simmons is a nice ballhawking safety who has experience. Devontae Booker can be the next Broncos mid-round running back who can steal the starting job. He's a workhorse back with few on-field flaws. Connor McGovern was an excellent selection in the firth round. He's a powerhouse blocker who should push for a starting job early in his career.
First, the Broncos trading up to get Lynch did not surprise our own Scotty Payne who predicted everything perfectly for the Broncos in his final mock. Of the Broncos eight picks, I think we'll end up seeing three or four of them become regular starters on this team within the next couple of years. Lynch obviously, but McGovern, Simmons and the punter are also likely to find roles. I am doubtful Booker or Gotsis will ever advance beyond role players.
The 2016 NFL Draft was all about value for the Chiefs. They traded out of the first round and still got a high-end, starting-caliber defensive lineman in Chris Jones of Mississippi State. He's raw but incredibly gifted physically. Russell is potentially a starter for the Chiefs at some point. Had he not missed so much time in college due to academics and injury, he may not have been around in the third round. Ehinger is a big body blocker who can play tackle or guard. He's a good system fit, but it was a surprise to see him get picked before Connor McGovern of Missouri. Robinson has the skills to be a good wide out, but he was suspended multiple times in college. This isn't a knock, but Kevin Hogan can be a great backup for the Chiefs. Pass rusher Dadi Nicholas is a player who could get stashed on the practice squad, but his athleticism and length is incredible.
I felt the Chiefs were more of a 'C' grade myself. The only guy that looks like he could grow into a starters role is Chris Jones, so I don't understand how this high of a grade can be given when you may only get one starter out of all of those picks. It's the offseason though, so the Chiefs are the best team in the league until the first game is played.
The Oakland Raiders added a tone setter in the secondary by picking Karl Joseph in the first round. He's going to crack some unassuming ball carriers in the NFL. Ward is a player up front who can be used at end or tackle for Oakland. Shilique Calhoun can play the run and the pass. If he consistently plays hard, he'll earn a starting job. Connor Cook was an interesting choice at No. 100 overall. His value was really good in the fourth round. The Raiders could develop him and eventually trade him. But he's a backup player on a roster that only needs few holes filled to push for a playoff spot.
DeAndre Washington is a solid third-down type of back for the Raiders, but it was a surprise to see him picked before a few running backs in this class. Sixth-round pick Cory James is a speedy linebacker that will star on special teams in the NFL. Seventh-round pick Vadal Alexander is a big blocker who should make the roster.
Frankly, I feel the Raiders got a lot better despite what Kadar said above. Joseph is going to lay some wood in the NFL for sure and Jihad Ward is a guy that our staff was high on as well. Both picks are considered reaches, but when both will likely become NFL starters, who cares?
One thing the Raiders are trying to do is duplicate the kind of pass rush the Broncos put on display in 2015. Make no mistake Broncos Country, the Raiders are back in town. It's been almost two decades, but they are finally back in town.
The Chargers surprised a lot of people in the first round by taking Joey Bosa, the best player in this year's draft. He's a really good all-around end who beats linemen with his size, power and effort. Some thought it would be an offensive tackle. More on that later. Henry is the draft's best tight end who will give Philip Rivers a nice target in the passing game. Tuerk, the team's third rounder, is the type of center the Chargers have needed. Perry was a great value pick in the fourth round. Brown, another linebacker, can make a lot of players for the Chargers. He may start as a special teamer, but he can fly around the field. But where is the offensive tackle in this class?
It's hard to argue that the Chargers had the best draft in the AFC West, but when you are picking third overall you should have one the best drafts. Joey Bosa is going to be a starter right away, while Hunter Henry could easily become the heir to Antonio Gates. However, Kadar is right. Where is the offensive tackle? Every team in the AFC West is pursuing pass rushers and the Chargers are absolutely murdered by their tackle position in 2015. They didn't even address it. That makes me happy.