2019 AFC West Draft Grades


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Kansas City Chiefs

Grade: C

First-Round Pick: N/A

Best Pick: Round Two-Mecole Hardman-Wide Receiver-Georgia

Just prior to the 2019 National Football League Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs made a trade with the Seattle Seahawks in order to acquire defensive end Frank Clark, and in doing so they would part with their first-round pick. But even though that the Chiefs didn’t have a first-round selection this past weekend, it didn’t mean that they weren’t able to find some players that could have an impact for them rather quickly.

There is a good chance that wide receiver Tyreek Hill has played his last game with the Chiefs due to off-the-field issues, and Kansas City needs to find another form of speed for their passing game. The Chiefs would make their first selection of the draft towards the end of the second round where they would take former Georgia Bulldogs wide receiver Mecole Hardman. The passing game was not a big part of Georgia’s offense last season, but the Chiefs see the potential with Hardman due to his speed as he could have an impact on this offense from his first day.

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Mecole Hardman

Last year Kansas City was 31st in the NFL in total defense, and after taking Hardman, they would spent the majority of the remaining portion of the draft focusing on that side of the football. The next three picks by the Chiefs were on defense which included taking former Virginia Cavaliers safety Juan Thornhill towards the end of the second round. The Chiefs sacrificed a portion of their draft to get Clark as he will more than likely have a quicker impact on this team than many of the incoming rookies.

Los Angeles Chargers

Grade: B

First-Round Pick: Jerry Tillery-Defensive Tackle

Best Pick: Jerry Tillery

The Los Angeles Chargers entered the 2019 National Football League Draft without a glaring need at a position, and because of that they were able to add depth to one of the best rosters in the league.

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Jerry Tillery

Coming into the draft I said that it would be a possibility to see the Chargers use a first-round pick on former Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive tackle Jerry Tillery which is exactly what they did. Tillery has the ability to play on the inside as well as the outside of the defensive line, while he will team with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram to give Los Angeles one of the best pass rushes in the NFL.

Aside from Tillery, the Chargers got themselves a steal towards the end of the second round when they selected former Delaware Blue Hens safety Nasir Adderley who had the potential to be taken late in the first round, but he fell. Adderley has solid coverage skills and he should receive plenty of reps in his rookie season.

Aside from Tillery and Adderley, the Chargers continued to add to their depth on both the offensive and defensive lines in this draft which included selecting former Sioux Falls Cougars offensive tackle Trey Pipkins in the third round. The Chargers were very close to getting to the Super Bowl last season, and this draft class could put them over the top.

Denver Broncos

Grade: B+

First-Round Pick: Noah Fant-Tight End-Iowa

Best Pick: Dalton Risner-Offensive Tackle-Kansas State

After winning the Super Bowl in 2015, each of the last three years have seen the Denver Broncos fail to make the playoffs. Broncos president of football operations John Elway built a winner in Denver before, and he’s seeking to do it once again as this draft class could help to get things turned around.

Elway got things started on the right foot at the draft by trading down in order to obtain more draft capital. The Broncos had the tenth overall selection, but would trade with the Pittsburgh Steelers who were eager to select middle linebacker Devin Bush. The Broncos moved down to 20th where they would select former Ioaw Hawkeyes tight end Noah Fant. Fant came into the draft as arguably the best tight end available, and Elway was eager to bring him into to the fray in order to improve a passing attack that was 19th last year in the National Football League.

Image result for drew lock missouriThe Broncos would do their most damage in the second round on consecutive picks when they selected former Kansas State Wildcats guard Dalton Risner,and former Missouri Tigers quarterback Drew Lock. Risner was a first-team All-Big 12 performer in each of the last three years, and he joins a Broncos organization that prides itself of its offensive line play. Lock had the potential to be a first-round pick, but he slipped into the second round. And after the Broncos made a trade with the Cincinnati Bengals, they set their sights on hopefully finding their next franchise quarterback.

As good as Elway has been as a front office executive, his inability to draft and develop a franchise quarterback is a stain on his resume. But unlike year’s past, Lock has the potential to be the guy.

Oakland Raiders

Grade: B-

First-Round Pick: Clelin Ferrell-Defensive End-Clemson, Josh Jacobs-Running Back-Alabama, Johnathan Abram-Safety-Mississippi State

Best Pick: Round Five-Hunter Renfrow-Wide Receiver-Clemson

The Oakland Raiders came into the 2019 National Football League Draft in possession of  a trio of first-round picks. The Raiders came into the draft with a ton of leverage as there was a possibility of them making trades, or sticking to their guns. But either way this draft process was set up to make or break Jon Gruden’s second run as Raiders head coach.

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Clelin Ferrell

I expected the Raiders to hold on to their initial first-round pick which was fourth overall. I also expected Oakland to go defense early, but I did not foresee them selecting former Clemson Tigers defensive end Clelin Ferrell there. Ferrell comes to the NFL as a very decorated player which includes winning a pair of national titles at Clemson, while also being an All-American last year, as well as the Atlantic Coast Conference’s Defensive Player of the Year. However Ferrell was not expected to be the first pass rusher taken in the draft as he was expected to go later in the round. And if it was Ferrell that Gruden really wanted, he could have gotten him later in the first round.

Oakland would also make reaches on their other two first-round choices in former Alabama Crimson Tide running back Josh Jacobs and former Mississippi State Bulldogs safety Johnathan Abram. Both Jacobs and Abram would have been available for Gruden if he wanted them in the second, or possibly third round which left me scratching my head about taking them there.

Gruden would spend the majority of the remainder of the draft selecting defensive players as Oakland needs an infusion of talent on that side of the ball as they were 26th in total defense last season. But Gruden’s best selection came in the fifth round when he took former Clemson wide receiver Hunter Renfrow. Renfrow is a small slot receiver in the mode of current Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman and I foresee Gruden using him in various ways on offense.

Overall the Raiders had a decent draft, but their early reaches could come back to haunt them.


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