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The Turf Draft Grades: AFC West

We’re breaking down the NFL draft. We’re going West, and we’ve got grades, picks, reaches and everything you need to know about the Wild, Wild, AFC West.

NFL Draft Chicago by swimfinfan is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

The Turf Draft Grades: AFC West


Estimated Reading Time: 5 Minutes

The NFL Draft has come and gone and we all have our opinions about the draft. Who had the best draft, who had the worst draft, who reached the most, who got a steal? Myself, and a few other writers for The Turf, are breaking down each teams drafts by divisions. This edition will be focused on AFC West division that is made up of Oakland Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, Denver Broncos and the reigning division champs, as well as the less than admirable Kansas City Chiefs.

Oakland Raiders: D

Best Pick: Josh Jacobs, RB, Rd 1, Pick 24

This was such an ugly draft for the Raiders. I’m not sure if most of these players will be with the team by the time they move to Las Vegas. With that being said, I like their Josh Jacobs Pick. In fact, I would have chosen Jacobs over Clelin Ferrel…. But still not at number 4 overall. I would have looked to draft Ferrel around the 27th pick or as some would say the Raiders final first round choice. Many pundits had Ferrel Mocked to the bottom of the first round. Those pundits were very surprised to see the Raiders pass on Josh Allen, Ed Oliver, and Montez Sweat just to name a few. Instead not just reaching but leaping for Clelin Ferrel. Maybe the lack of trust in the their scouts has contributed to this pick.

People tend to be negative about taking a running back in the first round. I honestly don’t mind it. Running back can be a dynamic player and if you believe in a guy he can change a team for you. I also think running back value is coming back as you see with contracts to Todd Gurley, Le’Veon Bell (though not worth the hold out) and Zeke Elliot is set to strike big money despite suspensions and off-field issues.

Other running backs are looking to increase this market as well and I think it’s a good idea to get your guy out ahead of the rise in running back value. I’m also not mad at the Johnathan Abram pick, because I like his game. However, passing up Greedy Williams for Trayvon Mullen might have been my breaking point for the Raiders draft.

Los Angeles Chargers: A-

Best Pick: Nasir Adderley, S, Rd 2, Pick 60

Last year the Chargers waited for a starting safety and the Gods sent Derwin James down to the 17th pick. This year the Chargers waited on a Safety and the Gods sent Nasir Adderley to the Chargers at the bottom of the 2nd round. I’m excited to see the pair of safeties do their thing together next season. They are young and hopefully can improve an already promising secondary. This was the best pick of the Chargers draft to me.

The only reason I hand the Chargers an A- instead of A+ is because the waited till the 3rd round to draft a major need at Offensive Tackle. Not only did they wait but they took a small school player from Sioux Falls. That player is Trey Pipkins, I know that the Chargers spent a substantial amount of time With Pipkins but I have to say that it seems like the Chargers waited a little too long to choose an important need. Let’s hope the Chargers know what they are doing because they let a deep class of Tackles pass before they landed on Pipkins.

I had Tillery mocked at 28th so I am very happy to see him land around this spot. I also like their 4th round choice, Notre Dame ILB Drue Tranquil. Drue Tranquil played behind DT Jerry Tillery at Notre Dame, it will be interesting to watch the two former college teammates use familiar chemistry in the NFL. Also, is Easton Stick the protege of Phillip Rivers?

Kansas City Chiefs: C+

Best Pick: Juan Thornhill, S, Rd 2, Pick 63

It’s really tough to pull off a good draft when you don’t have a 1st round pick and your first pick comes late in the 2nd round. That being said I was not impressed with their first pick. Upon the release of audio recordings that all but throw Tyreek Hill in jail, the Chiefs decided to TRADE UP and select Mecole Hardman. With a lot of pressure to replace Hill now, the Chiefs decided it best to get the guy they thought would best fill Hill’s shoes. Passing up talents like Parris Campbell to trade up to draft Hardman is highly questionable. You also have to understand reaching to replace Hill is not the answer. Hardman does have an upside though. Let’s also not forget the Chiefs traded up to draft Patrick Mahomes and many thought that was a wild move.

I really enjoyed Juan Thornhill as a late 2nd round pick. Especially since he’s one to give the refs the business. The Chiefs chose Thornhill a few picks after Hardman. I believe that Juan Thornhill is a very versatile player in the secondary. He has demonstrated such by playing pretty much everywhere on defense except for the line. Look for a immediate starter in Thornhill.

Denver Broncos: A

Best Pick: Drew Lock, QB, Rd 2, Pick 42

Take notes GM’s, this is how you win the NFL draft. Turns out, the Broncos and John Elway got the guy we all suspected they would get in the first round. However, they landed him in the 2nd round. before they landed their best pick in the draft (by value) they drafted two other studs in the meantime. Denver had 3 of the first 42 picks, which may not seem like much but a majority only of the 32 teams only have 1 pick in that span.

To me, Denver’s best choice came in the 2nd round. Taking Drew Lock at 42. Had they taken at 20 or higher, my opinion would sway a bit. This move allowed them to get an instant receiver for Joe Flacco in the likes of Noah Fant a Tight End out of Iowa that was selected in the first round at pick 20. Waiting on picking Drew Lock also allowed for the Bronco’s to pick Dalton Risner out of Kansas State, an offensive tackle to protect Flacco. Finally, they chose the projected 1st round QB, to learn from their seasoned veteran under center.

Elway has a plan and he’s not afraid to tip his hand.

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