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Grading the AFC West; and the winner is …

When chasing a team as dominant as the Denver Broncos, the key is to make the most of your opportunities over a sustained period.
The Raiders took another step forward in this year’s NFL draft and closed the gap, if only slightly, by scoring a direct hit on linebacker Khalil Mack in the first round.
If they develop some of their seven other picks into starters, then they can lay claim to having the best draft class among AFC West teams. For now, they get the benefit of doubt based solely on Mack’s potential to be the best player from this draft.
Here’s a team-by-team look at how the four AFC West teams fared, from best to worst:

1. Raiders – It would be hard to go wrong with the No. 5 pick in a draft regarded as one of the deepest and most talented in years. Still, it’s hard to envision things going much better for the Raiders than they did in this draft, at least in the first two rounds. Linebacker Khalil Mack fell in their laps, even though he was regarded by some as the best player in the entire draft. Quarterback Derek Carr lasted until the second round, which enabled the Raiders to take a chance at finding a long-term solution at a position that has been in flux since Rich Gannon retired. General manager Reggie McKenzie also might have found a starting guard in Gabe Jackson. If nothing else, he improved the depth on his roster with his final six selections.

LB Khalil Mack
QB Derek Carr
G Gabe Jackson
DT Justin Ellis
DB Keith McGill
CB Travis Carrie
DE Shelby Harris
S Jonathan Dowling

2. Broncos – The Broncos addressed their two most-glaring needs with their first two picks when they selected cornerback Bradley Roby and wide receiver Cody Latimer. Roby helps offset the loss of veteran Champ Bailey – Aqib Talib was signed to be the immediate starter – and Cody Latimer gives quarterback Peyton Manning another candidate to fill the void created by the departure of Eric Decker. The Broncos grip on the AFC West just got a little bit tighter.

CB Bradley Roby
WR Cody Latimer
OT Michael Schofield
LB Lamin Barrow
C Matt Paradis
LB Corey Nelson

3. Chargers – They went for solid over splash, with every one of their first four selections talented enough to start or make a significant contribution in the short term, if not next season. Verrett is the crown jewel of the bounty, but Attaochu, Watt and Carrethers address immediate needs. Grice and Reese are long-shots to make the 53-man roster.

CB Jason Verrett
LB Jeremiah Attaochu
G Chris Watt
DT Ryan Carrethers
RB Marion Grice
WR Tevin Reese

4. Chiefs – It’s unlikely that the Chiefs reeled in any immediate help from this draft class, with the possible exception of De’Anthony Thomas as a replacement for departed free agent Dexter McCluster. Ford likely will be a situational pass rusher on one of the league’s most talented defenses. Gaines is a bit of stretch in the third round. Great move by the Chiefs to gamble on a potential replacement for quarterback Alex Smith with Aaron Murray in the fifth round.

DE Dee Ford
CB Phillip Gaines
RB De’Anthony Thomas
QB Aaron Murray
G Zach Fulton
OT Laurent Duvernay-Tardif

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Steve Corkran

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Decent point

  • AutumnThunderstorm

    Raiders Defense on passing downs

    Woodley Tuck McGee Mack

    Sio Roach

    Hayden Rogers Brown

    Branch Woodson

    Opponents will no longer be getting first down on 3rd and 12+ very often anymore.

  • xraided

    they have the best RB in the NFL at changing direction…his shifting is unmatched as far as i’m concerned. MJD has a downhill bowling ball effect…

    i’m sure as multi functional as our DL is, our OL will be doing the same thing… mixing some finesse cut blocks…depends on who our RB is on that particular play

  • PatrickBateman

    Thank god

  • xraided

    well they called it a ‘pure ZBS’ and proceeded to bring in and draft smallish finesse type guards…and it failed miserably.

    and its like i said above… you need the right back to run in this scheme as holes close very quickly

  • xraided

    had a lot to do with it i’m sure

  • xraided

    field was god awful now wasn’t it…

    in any case, MJD is that prototypical RB suited for the coliseum … guy will love playing at home in his comeback year

  • xraided

    so much rotation with those big uglies… and our DE/OLB’s … this is what i was hoping for…minus maybe Van Noy…DET got a steal there

  • irjonny

    no way all the 49ers picks make the 53 man roster. RM will be looking closely at their cuts

  • xraided

    it’s been happening for far too long …going back well before last year… absolutely hideous.

    we’ve shed the penalties, that is the next to go. GET OFF THE FIELD!

  • Ted Stosterone

    The kool-aid is flowing. Give me some. I do love the taste.

  • SnBG

    True.

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Agree on the back.
    Goodson and Reece showed that in 2012, the primary issue was McFadden.

  • Dan Walker

    Tastes a lot better than the alternative…embrace it my friend!

  • gangosix

    very good point,that lineup looks good.

  • SnBG

    Kool-Aid taste so much better than vile black negative juice.

  • irjonny

    Jelly Ellis looks to be a monster. i’ve never seen someone that big move that quick

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ICkGv3W4KFU

  • https://twitter.com/MimiPeepeechimi Just Fire Baby

    Beat LA!!!
    Beat LA!!!

  • OhioRaider

    Hideous is a good word for it. Going on for years.

  • r8ter4evr

    Tuck and Woodley teamed with CWood will make sure this youth and vet mix blends well
    Things are changing,hang on for the ride back to relevance

  • SnBG

    He’s called Jelly cause Jam don’t move like that.

  • Dan Walker

    Great point. Just as our DB’s will benefit from our D-line disrupting the pocket how much will Reece and all of our receivers benefit from a better QB and a better offensive line/running game? IMO Shaub is better than anything we had last year so defenses will not be able to key on one or two guys on our offense. Everything opens up with better full team personnel. Pouring the cool-aid because the talent is there to do so much more. Opposing teams schemes just changed!!!

  • xraided

    jelly doesn’t move that fast! -Charles Davis

    they all love our first 4 picks…

    i was sold before, and i’m very sold now

  • r8ter4evr

    New post

  • The Ghost of Dave Casper

    Found that out earlier this morning.

  • bug squasher

    Does this mean every time he gets a sack we can throw a bag of jelly beans on the field?

  • Chuck

    It depends on Olson, he rarely ran screens or any run plays that were not straight up the middle.If he can keep defenses off balance it could help Schaub if he has anything left.

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