Friday, April 20, 2012

2012 Draft Preview: AFC West

With Free Agency pretty much wrapped up, the NFL Draft is quickly approaching once again. As we have done in the past, we're going to take a quick look at the other teams in the league and preview their team needs and how they will likely approach the Draft. Today we take a look at the AFC West.

For reference, we compiled the draft picks each team currently has. Compensatory picks are listed in parentheses.

2011 Record: 8-8
AFC West Champions, Lost to New England in Divisional Round

Draft Picks: 25, 57, 87, 108, 120, 137, 188

Denver won the Peyton Manning sweepstakes and turned around and traded the Tim Tebow Show to the Jets. Good move for the Broncos, but it's not a long-term plan. They have the defense to keep them in games and Manning, even if he's not 100%, will still make their offense better. They have young WRs that can make plays, but adding more weapons for Manning will be a priority. The Broncos will also look at addressing a leaky interior O-Line and a void at DT. Their secondary isn't getting any younger so defensive backs will also be a priority. The Broncos have plenty of picks and have the foundation for being a contender once again in the AFC West. Look for them to go after a project QB of the future in the middle rounds of the draft, just in case Manning doesn't work out.

2011 Record: 8-8

Draft Picks: (95), (129), 148, (168), 189

Even though Al Davis is gone, his management style is still prevalent in the Raiders organization. The Raiders won't pick until the very end of the 3rd round thanks to a compensatory pick they got. They are without their first, second, and third round picks after the Carson Palmer trade, a draft-day trade with New England last year, and the selection of Terrelle Pryor in the supplemental draft. Oakland lost Michael Bush in free agency but for the most part will be the same team. The key for the Raiders will be staying healthy and trying to jettison some of the absolutely awful contracts Al Davis handed out.

2011 Record: 8-8

Draft Picks: 18, 49, 78, 110, 149, 183, 226, (250)

No one really knows what to make of this team. On paper, they look like they should be the class of the division. But Philip Rivers did his best LeBron impression last year, performing his absolute worst in clutch situations. Rivers is a good quarterback but is prone to mental mistakes and turnovers. The loss of Vincent Jackson in free agency will hurt a little but the addition of former 1st round pick Robert Meachem will help. The Chargers could add another receiver, but Rivers has never really needed all-stars around him to throw the ball all over the place. The Chargers could use some help in the trenches, where they finished 24th in sacks and 20th in run defense.

2011 Record: 7-9

Draft Picks: 11, 44, 74, 107, 146, 182, 218, 238

A year after winning the division and making the playoffs, the Chiefs saw every key contributor in their lineup suffer some form of injury. Star RB Jamaal Charles went down with a torn ACL, safety Eric Berry had a season-ending injury. QB Matt Cassel missed time. When everyone is healthy, this is a team that plays stout defense and is capable of competing for the division title. The Chiefs are in an advantageous position in the draft sitting just outside the top 10 and should be able to land a high caliber player that can step in and start right away. Names being tossed around are Luke Kuechly (LB-Boston College), Michael Brockers (DT-LSU), Dontari Poe (DT-Memphis), David DeCastro (OG-Stanford) or Ryan Tannehill if he somehow makes it past Miami.

No comments: