The NFL Draft is officially over so it is time to hand out NFL Draft Grades! These NFL Draft Grades will cover all 32 teams who will be graded based on who they picked, team needs, and their overall draft process. Here are the NFL Draft Grades for the AFC West.
Denver Broncos: A
Everything the Broncos did in the draft has to be looked at through this lens: They traded their first round pick for Russell Wilson. Any time you can take the 50/50 chances of a draft pick and turn it into a proven, high level QB you’re in good shape. Beyond that they did really well with their mid round picks. Nik Bonitto and Eyioma Uwazurike will be a positive addition to the defensive line. Bonitto was one of the draft world’s favorite Day 2 gems. TE Greg Dulcich will replace Noah Fant and give Wilson another TE option in the middle of the field. (Albert Okwuegbunam being the other). They also continue adding young pieces to this defensive backfield with three Day 3 picks led by Damarri Mathis. Matt Henningsen is also a late round player that could find his way to the 53-man roster.
Kansas City Chiefs: A+
The Chiefs had 10 picks in this year’s draft and made use of all of them. They moved up to take Trent McDuffie, a top rated corner, to address their coverage holes. They went back to that position in the fourth round to take Joshua Williams. If Williams had been at a Division I school, let alone a Power 5, he would have been a first round pick. With their second first round pick they addressed edge with George Karlaftis. A guy who should be a steady presence on the outside, with potential for one or two 10-sack seasons. They improved the middle of their defense on Day 2 with Bryan Cook and Leo Chenal.
One of their biggest moves was drafting Skyy Moore in the second round. The slot receiver is a high IQ, super tough player who operates in the middle of the field. In an offense that appears to want to focus more on intermediate areas of the field he is a great fit. He’s excellent at finding soft spots in the zone with his IQ and route running. He’s just one more piece in the cog to try and “moneyball” the hole left by the Tyreek Hill trade.
The last move I’ll talk about briefly is OL Darian Kinnard. Kinnard is a big body, tough lineman from Kentucky. He has a lot of SEC starting experience at right tackle, a position in flux for KC. He’s also believed to have potential at guard, where is wide frame and good feet will be an asset.
The Chiefs hit all their needs in this draft, but also got top talent for where they were drafting.
Los Angeles Chargers: B
I keep being tough on the Chargers, but it’s just because I have respect for them! I loved the pick of Zion Johnson from Boston College. One of the top offensive line prospects, and they got him at 17. This team has worked hard the last two years to improve their line for Quarterback Justin Herbert, and they have found the final piece to the puzzle in Johnson. Johnson can play either guard spot, potentially allowing LA to move Matt Feiler to his best position which is right tackle.
After that their picks are fine. JT Woods will allow them to move Derwin James around even more. Otito Ogbonnia will add DL depth after they let a lot of player go in free agency. Jamaree Salyer might be my second favorite pick for them overall. Experience at left tackle and left guard in the SEC at Georgia. He has a lot of physical and personal traits you look for at the NFL level. I expected him to be a Day 2 pick and they got him in the sixth round. He could join Johnson to round out that line at some point this season.
Las Vegas Raiders: B
Similarly to the Broncos, the Raiders get credit for trading draft assets for Davante Adams. Although not having a pick until round three is hard to swallow. Even so, they did well to add to their offensive line in rounds three and seven (Dylan Parham and Thayer Munford). They also added two really nice defensive linemen in the middle of the draft (Neil Farrell Jr. and Matthew Butler). The middle of both lines were definitely weak spots for the team. How the offensive linemen develop will be key after drafting Alex Leatherwood last year, who still has some questions.
Now to the negative. They added to the cornerback room before the draft with Rock Ya-Sin and Anthony Averett, but adding another corner early in the draft would have helped their grade. They also drafted two running backs despite having Josh Jacobs, Kenyan Drake, Brandon Bolden and Ameer Abdullah on the roster. Running back is a position you should seldom draft, and taking two with that many already on the roster is certainly odd.
Be sure to follow along as I give NFL Draft Grades for all 32 teams, right here on Fantom Sports! And for more draft content you can listen to my podcast, the Simon Shortt Podcast, on Apple and Spotify!
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