With the 2017 NFL Draft around the corner, former NFL scout Bucky Brooks and Around The NFL's Conor Orr are breaking down the biggest areas of need for every team in the NFL, division by division. Below is Bucky's look at the AFC West.
Denver Broncos (10 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 20 overall
» Round 2: Pick 51
» Round 3: Picks 82 and 101 (compensatory selection)
» Round 4: Pick 126
» Round 5: Pick 177 (compensatory selection)
» Round 6: Pick 203 (from Titans)
» Round 7: Picks 238, 252 (compensatory selection) and 253 (compensatory selection)
Biggest needs: Offensive tackle, linebacker, defensive tackle.
- 2017 NFL DRAFT
▹ Day 1 winners and losers
▹ QB frenzy shakes up Round 1
▹ How Patriots attack the draft
▹ Tom Brady's DIII Dopplgänger?
▹ Sidelines: How Desmond King made it
▹ Draft Do-overs:
▸ 2008 | 2011 | 2014 | 2015
▹ AFC Draft Needs:
▸ West | North | South | East
▹ NFC Draft Needs:
▸ West | North | South | East
- MARSHAWN LYNCH TRADE
▹ Lynch, Raiders poised for run
▹ Raiders boast NFL's best offense?
Denver's offensive line woes were a huge reason why the team failed to repeat as champion despite fielding an overall roster that ranks among the top 10 lineups in the league. The team's inability to protect the QB1 should force John Elway to consider adding a key O-line piece early in the draft. The Day 1 candidates could be Utah's Garett Bolles, Wisconsin's Ryan Ramczyk, Western Kentucky's Forrest Lamp and Alabama's Cam Robinson based on their ability to come in as plug-and-play prospects on the edge. In the later rounds, the Broncos must shore up some depth concerns in the second level. At inside linebacker, the Broncos could target Florida's Alex Anzalone, Northwestern's Anthony Walker Jr. and LSU's Duke Riley on Day 2. At outside linebacker, the team could look at Wisconsin's T.J. Watt, Youngstown State's Derek Rivers and Alabama's Ryan Anderson as potential rotational pass rushers. The Broncos also could target a rock-solid nose tackle prospect in the later rounds. Auburn's Montravius Adams, UCLA's Eddie Vanderdoes and USC's Stevie Tu'ikolovatu would be ideal fits for the position.
Kansas City Chiefs (10 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 27 overall
» Round 2: Pick 59
» Round 3: Picks 91 and 104 (compensatory selection)
» Round 4: Pick 132
» Round 5: Picks 170 and 180 (compensatory selection)
» Round 6: Picks 216 and 218 (both compensatory selections)
» Round 7: Pick 245
Biggest needs: Cornerback, safety, running back.
The Chiefs need to find a talented cover corner to align opposite Marcus Peters for the defense to go to the next level. The team could look at Washington's Kevin King, Alabama's Marlon Humphrey, LSU's Tre'Davious White and Colorado's Chidobe Awuzie as Day 1 possibilities, or target West Virginia's Rasul Douglas, Florida's Teez Tabor and Quincy Wilson as Day 2 candidates. Washington's Budda Baker would make sense as a safety/nickel corner prospect, but the team could also target N.C. State's Josh Jones, Florida's Marcus Maye, Utah's Marcus Williams or Boston College's John Johnson in the middle rounds. At running back, the Chiefs could take a flier on Tennessee's Alvin Kamara or Oklahoma's Joe Mixon early in the draft, or wait for a sleeper pick like N.C. State's Matt Dayes to fall to them in a later round.
Los Angeles Chargers (7 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 7 overall
» Round 2: Pick 38
» Round 3: Pick 71
» Round 4: Pick 113
» Round 5: Pick 151
» Round 6: Pick 190
» Round 7: Pick 225
Biggest needs: Safety, linebacker, running back.
New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley wants to implement a single-high-safety scheme that puts a lot of pressure on the free safety to act as a true center fielder. Ohio State's Malik Hooker is the ideal candidate for the job, but he might not be on the board when the Chargers pick on Day 1. Thus, the Bolts could target an underrated rover like Utah's Marcus Williams, Texas A&M's Justin Evans or Boston College's John Johnson on Day 2. At linebacker, the Chargers could use a rugged defender to play alongside Denzel Perryman (if Jatavis Brown isn't viewed as a long-term solution as a starter). Ohio State's Raekwon McMillan or Florida's Alex Anzalone would make sense on Day 2. The team also could target a tackling machine like Michigan's Ben Gedeon or Clemson's Ben Boulware in the later rounds. The team needs a change-of-pace back behind Melvin Gordon. This would appear to put Toledo's Kareem Hunt and Clemson's Wayne Gallman in the conversation as RB2 candidates.
Oakland Raiders (8 total picks)
» Round 1: Pick 24 overall
» Round 2: Pick 56
» Round 3: Pick 88
» Round 4: Pick 129
» Round 5: Pick 168
» Round 6: Pick 208
» Round 7: Picks 242 and 244 (from Seattle)
Biggest needs: Cornerback, linebacker, running back.
Despite the presence of the reigning Defensive Player of the Year (Khalil Mack) on the front line, the Raiders need an infusion of talent on the defensive side of the ball, particularly on the second and third levels. At cornerback, the team could use a long, rangy corner to man the CB1 spot. Ohio State's Gareon Conley, Washington's Kevin King, LSU's Tre'Davious White or Alabama's Marlon Humphrey could fill the void. If the Raiders elect to upgrade the linebacker corps, the team could target Temple's Haason Reddick or Florida's Jarrad Davis on Day 1, or look toward Duke Riley and Zach Cunningham on Day 2 as possibilities. At running back, the Raiders need a big-body banger to handle the dirty work between the tackles. That need could be filled by Marshawn Lynch. On the prospect front, Texas' D'onta Foreman, Oklahoma's Samaje Perine and Pittsburgh's James Connor could garner interest in the middle rounds.
Follow Bucky Brooks on Twitter @BuckyBrooks.