AFC West: Team Needs
Heading into the NFL Draft, it’s time to turn our attention out west, with the AFC west and its teams’ needs.
It’s arguably the most loaded conference in the National Football league, with two playoff teams from last year and two greatly improved franchises. While the preseason finishes will likely be the same order as the 2018 season, the parity in the league has certainly increased. Even the lowly Raiders of last season, who went 4-12, improved greatly this offseason and pose a serious threat. Nonetheless, there are positions of need for all four franchises.
Kansas City Chiefs
Needs: RB, OL, DL, Secondary
Though the Kansas City Chiefs finished out last season 12-4 and made it all the way to the AFC championship game, there is no denying that this team has holes. After the release of star running back Kareem Hunt, Spencer Ware proved incapable of filling the shoes as the workhorse back. Josh Jacobs out of Alabama would be a good fit for the Chiefs, having the physique and quickness to hit the hole hard and efficiently.
Outside of tackle Luke Fisher, there are some holes on the offensive line. A potential upgrade for the Chiefs would be Dalton Risner out of Kansas State. He finished last season as a first team all American, and pegged as a late first rounder, the Chiefs would be wise to snatch him up if possible.
A final area of need for Kansas City comes in the secondary, where Eric Berry and Kendall Fuller are the only two established NFL players. Many mock drafts have the Chiefs going with cornerback DeAndre Baker out of Georgia, allowing Kansas City to for a great pairing with Fuller.
San Diego Chargers
Needs: OL, LB, QB, DL, WR
There aren’t many glaring needs for this team, but like many across the NFL, you can never go wrong with offensive lineman. Left tackle Russel Okung will make $26 million over the next two years, so it’s possible that the Chargers may go with a younger, cheaper option—perhaps like Cody Ford from Oklahoma.
Los Angeles also might be looking for a pass rusher to pair with Joey Bosa, but likely at linebacker instead of the defensive line. One name that comes up frequently is Mack Wilson, who is pegged as the third rated linebacker behind Devin Bush and Devin White. With the Chargers picking in the latter part of the first round, he very easily could fall to them.
Philip Rivers isn’t getting any younger, and there’s no denying that. At 37 years old, perhaps it’s due time for the Chargers to look for an eventual predecessor. While unlikely to pick anybody in the first round, Northwestern’s Clayton Thorson could be a good pick with his 6’4” frame and precise accuracy.
Needs: QB, WR, Secondary, DL, RB
With one of the best defenses in the league, it’s easy to see that the Broncos could need an offensive upgrade. Though they did go out and get Joe Flacco in the offseason, you’d be hard-pressed to find any Mile-High faithful who believe the one-time Super Bowl winner is their quarterback of the future. On the contrary, the Broncos would be wise to spend a mid-round pick on a quarterback like Will Grier of West Virginia.
Despite having Penn State’s own DaeSean Hamilton on roster, this unit is clearly in need of an upgrade. Speedster Parris Campbell of Ohio State seems like a logical choice on the outside, as the loss of Demaryius Thomas proved a devastating blow in the latter of the 2018 campaign.
Needs: DL, RB, OL
This team needs a pass rusher. The Raiders averaged under one sack per game last year, and in a league where edge rushers are the utmost importance, Oakland is desperate for one. Alabama’s Quennin Williams or Houston’s Ed Oliver would both be good choices to shore up a defensive line in desperate need of help.
At the running back position, Oakland is in severe need. Jalen Richard and DeAndre Washington simply aren’t going to cut it, and while this isn’t necessarily a stacked class, they will likely draft at least one running back. Ohio State’s Mike Weber will likely be available in the mid rounds, so look for him to be a likely option for the Raiders to draft.
Andrew Destin is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email email@example.com.