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May 18, 2014

2014 NFL Draft Grades: AFC West

By on 12:17 AM

The Denver Broncos have won the AFC West for three strait seasons. Credit of course has to be given to Broncos GM and Executive Vice President of Football Operations, John Elway for his ability to built a deep roster through the NFL Draft and free agency. The draft is however, a great place for rivals like the Raiders, Chargers, and Chiefs to make up some ground on the division champs.

Oakland Raiders

Best Pick: Khalil Mack, LB, Buffalo

Raiders fans, there is reason to be optimistic in Oakland going into the upcoming season.

Pass rusher Khalil Mack was a no brainer at No. 5 overall. Mack is a special talent with the speed, strength and power to create chaos off the edge. He will team with Sio Moore to give the Raiders an intriguing, young combo on the second level.

Derek Carr is not only the Raiders' quarterback of the future, but he could become a Pro Bowl-caliber playmaker in the team's West Coast offense.

The Raiders nabbed two shockingly athletic wide-bodied interior linemen with guard Gabe Jackson in the third and defensive tackle Justin Ellis in the fourth. I also like the length of the three defensive backs Oakland nabbed in this draft, especially given the size of the top receivers in this division.

Grade: A

Kansas City Chiefs

Best Pick: De'Anthony Thomas, RB, Oregon

First-round pick, Dee Ford is a bit of a head-scratcher. The Chiefs struggled when Tamba Hali and Justin Houston were injured in 2013, but Ford was a bit of a reach, and they could have found depth at that position later in the draft.

I anticipated that the team would add some pass-catchers to help quarterback Alex Smith so the additions of running back De'Anthony Thomas and quarterback Aaron Murray as the club's only offensive skill-position prospects is interesting, to say the least.

Phillip Gaines and Zach Fulton could carve out niches as a rookie and I love the upside of Laurent Duvarney-Tardif. A solid class but not one that I believe will keep the Chiefs from taking a step back in the AFC West next season.

Grade: C

San Diego Chargers

Best Pick: Jason Verrett, CB, TCU

San Diego did a very nice job of filling some holes with a limited number of picks. What Jason Verrett lacks in size, he makes up for with quickness, instincts and tenacity. Verrett will be a standout defensive playmaker as a starter or nickel corner in the Bolts' scheme.

I love the schematic fits and value that the Chargers found with outside linebacker Jeremiah Attaochu in the second round, guard Chris Watt in the third and nose guard Ryan Carrethers in the fifth. Former ASU running back Marion Grice offers a very specific skill-set as one of the elite pass-catchers at the position as does big play wideout Tevin Reese, whose speed is better described with his propensity for long touchdowns rather than just his 40-yard dash time. Reese was clocked at 4.41 seconds.

Grade: B

Denver Broncos

Best Pick:

Elway certainly has proven himself an astute talent evaluator by routinely landing quality contributors in the draft. This year, he seemingly has put together another solid class.

I really like the addition of the tough and talented corner Bradley Roby at No. 31. He needs to play with greater consistency but the talent is undeniable.

Cody Latimer adds to the length, speed and toughness of a unit that frankly failed to match Seattle's physicality in the Super Bowl.

Michael Schofield adds depth to an offensive line that was pushed around in Super Bowl XLVIII.

I like the athletic upside of linebackers Lamin Barrow and Corey Nelson.

This wasn't a breath-taking draft for the Broncos but few clubs did more with less (six) picks.

Grade: B


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