By: Michael Adamo @Madamo1
Draft Needs: The AFC West
Denver Broncos: QB, OT, WR
It was just two years ago when the Broncos were fresh off their Super Bowl L win. Peyton Manning led the team to the promised land and rode off into the sunset, leaving a gigantic question mark at the teams QB position. Back to back years of missing the playoffs and mediocre QB play by Trevor Siemian, Paxton Lynch and Brock Osweiler haven’t helped matters. This offseason, improving the position is a must; whether it be signing impending free agent Kirk Cousins or drafting someone. If they decide to do the latter, picking at 5 is a prime position to get their franchise QB. Depending on what teams in front of them decide to do, Denver can choose between Sam Darnold, Josh Allen or Baker Mayfield. Offensive Tackle is still a position of need for Denver, even though they spent their 2016 first round pick on Garrett Bolles. Menlik Watson landed on Injured Reserve on November 4th and Donald Stephenson had recently become a Free Agent. With no one else listed on the Depth Chart at that position, there is a necessity to upgrade here. If they decide to upgrade the position on Day 2, Chukwuma Okorafor, Isaiah Wynn or Martinas Rankin might be targets. The last position is due to rumors/need, although the WR position has been strong for Denver since 2012. According to the Denver Post, WR Emmanuel Sanders could become a cap casualty or even traded. With a $10.9 Million cap hit for a player who missed 4 games, Sanders might be on his way out of Denver. With little to no depth outside of Demaryius Thomas, WR is a must to fill for whatever QB is playing in Denver in 2018. DaeSean Hamilton, James Washington or Simmie Cobbs Jr could all potential draft candidates this year.
Kansas City Chiefs: Edge Rush, WR, OG
As of right now, the Chiefs have only 4 picks in the 2018 draft thanks to a few trades they made. If you include the pick they are projected to get from Washington in the Alex Smith deal and the compensatory pick they will receive for Nick Foles, that number would go as high as 6. Their biggest position of need, Cornerback, has been fortified with the acquisition of Kendall Fuller. With longtime Chief Tamba Hali looking like a cap casualty, they need someone to bookend Justin Houston. Former first round pick Dee Ford, has struggled to bring heat on the QB through his first four years and Frank Zombo only had 1.5 sacks in 2017. They need to upgrade the position on Defense. Josh Sweat, Uchenna Nwosu, and Ogbonnia Okoronkwo should be available when they pick on Day 2. Tyreek Hill was a steal for the Chiefs back in the 2016 Draft when he was a 5th round pick. Making back to back Pro Bowls, Hill is someone an offense can be built around. However, outside of Hill the rest of the WRs have been sub-par. Albert Wilson, who had 554 receiving yards in 2017, is headed towards Free Agency. That means Demarcus Robinson, who had 212 yards in 2017, would be penciled in as the starter opposite of Hill. A big receiver would have to be placed on the other side of the field, so D.J. Chark, Marcel Ateman and Allen Lazard could be WRs to target. The last position is Guard, where 2017 starter Zach Fulton is a Free Agent. Will Clapp, Colby Gossett and Sam Jones should intrigue Kansas City on Day 3.
Los Angeles Chargers: RT, DT, S
The Los Angeles Chargers were a game away from making the playoffs in 2017. If they want to make the next jump, they must make sure they keep the face of their franchise for over the past 12 years healthy, that being Phillip Rivers. While Russell Okung played well at LT last year, RT was a position that was suspect, as Joe Barksdale struggled at times. If they draft a RT and give Rivers more time in the pocket with all their weapons. Also, while Melvin Gordon had over 1,500 total yards, he only averaged 3.9 yards per carry. By upgrading at RT, they could find more holes for him to run through. They could find a RT in Round 1, as Orlando “Zeus” Brown or Connor Williams could be available, or in Round 2 Kolton Miller could be had. Looking at the other side of the ball, the Chargers have two dominant pass rushers in Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram. Where they struggled however, was against the run. Coming in at 31st against the Run, the Chargers need to find a run-stuffer to bring the defense to the next level. If Vita Vea or Da’Ron Payne or Maurice Hurst are available when the Chargers pick, they might be that player to bring them to the next level. At the safety position, 2017 starter Tre Boston is a free agent, so if they decide not to retain him, they’ll need to find his replacement. While it won’t be the top priority on their draft wish list, it should be addressed in the mid-rounds. Players like Armani Watts, Trey Matthews and DeShon Elliott would fit the mold if Boston isn’t resigned.
Oakland Raiders: LB, CB, RB
Was there any team more disappointing in 2017 than the Oakland Raiders? A team that had Super Bowl aspirations in the beginning of the year finished with a Top 10 draft pick. While they did fire Jack Del Rio and replace him with former Raiders Coach Jon Gruden is a step in the right direction, that alone is not enough. What Oakland must do is a complete overhaul of their Defense due to a lot of holes. The first, being Linebacker, struggled for most of the season. While it did get better after Navarro Bowman signed Week 7, he is currently slated for Free Agency. Even if they decide to resign him, LB is still a priority for this team, as Bowman will be going on his age 30 season. If they go this route Round 1, Roquan Smith will likely be their pick, if they wait until the middle rounds, Shaun Dion Hamilton or Micah Kiser could be looked at. Cornerback is a need as the Raiders released starter David Amerson and T.J. Carrie is slated for Free agency. That leaves 2016 1st round pick Gareon Conley, Sean Smith and Dexter McDonald on the Depth Chart. Sean Smith is also going on 31 and is having a court hearing on felony charges stemming back from a July 4th, 2017 assault charge, so he might not be back next year. With so much question marks about the position, the Raiders would be wise to invest in at least two CBs this offseason. If they decide to go this route in the draft, Joshua Jackson, Denzel Ward or Carlton Davis could be their choice. If they draft someone later, Isaiah Oliver, J.C. Jackson or Nick Nelson could be options. Finally, Running Back is a position that must be upgraded to take pressure off Derek Carr. Marshawn Lynch, coming back from a one-year retirement, only topped 80 rushing yards three times all year, which each of those games coming in December. While it was nice to see him close the year strong, who knows how his body will be going on 32 and 10,000 rushing yards later, which is a lot of mileage for a RB. If they decide to keep him around, they would at least need someone who could be a change of pace back, which would lead them to look at Rashaad Penny, Royce Freeman or USC alumni Ronald Jones II.
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