The AFC West looked stacked from top to bottom going into the draft, thanks to Denver’s blockbuster trade that took Russel Wilson to Mile High. Given this, the draft could be a difference-maker in 2022. Two of the teams have pretty much given up this year’s draft in trades and their draft grade doesn’t take this into account as they will be considered when we do our pre-season state of the franchises. Overall though we thought they all did well with what they have as discussed below.
2021 Finishing Order
Kansas City Chiefs 12-5
Las Vegas Raiders 10-7
Los Angeles Chargers 9-8
Denver Broncos 7-10
As you can see it was a tough division with two playoff teams and one narrowly missing out. Anyway on to the draft.
Oklahoma Edge Nik Bonitto (No. 64 overall)
UCLA TE Greg Dulcich (No. 80 overall)
Pitt CB Damarri Mathis (No. 115 overall)
Iowa State DT Eyioma Uwazurike (No. 116 overall)
Oklahoma S Delarrin Turner-Yell (No. 152 overall)
Samford WR Montrell Washington (No. 162 overall)
Washington C Luke Wattenberg (No. 171 overall)
Wisconsin DT Matt Henningsen (No. 206 overall)
Wisconsin CB Faion Hicks (No. 232 overall)
As mentioned above the Broncos didn’t have a day one pick and even then they had to wait until the final pick of round two before adding anyone. Picking up Nik Bomitto here looks like a decent deal and although he may be a little light he makes up for that with his athleticism. The Broncos’ defense was already loaded so he won’t need to be rushed in.
They needed to replace Noah Fant who left as part of the Russell Wilson trade and they did a good job snagging Greg Dulcich who is of a similar ilk. He is not a blocker but has the height and skills to give Wilson an extra target. The rest of the draft mainly added depth, but Center Luke Wattenberg could compete for the starter’s job this year.
Overall Grade B+
Denver was really only a franchise QB away from being contenders and with that sorted, they could concentrate on adding the depth they will need for a postseason run.
Kansas City Chiefs
Washington CB Trent McDuffie (No. 21 overall)
Purdue Edge George Karlaftis (No. 30 overall)
Western Michigan WR Skyy Moore (No. 54 overall)
Cincinnati S Bryan Cook (No. 62 overall)
Wisconsin LB Leo Chenal (No. 103 overall)
Fayetteville State CB Joshua Williams (No. 135 overall)
Kentucky OT Darian Kinnard (No. 145 overall)
Washington State CB Jaylen Watson (No. 243 overall)
Rutgers RB Isiah Pacheco (No. 251 overall)
Marshall CB Nazeeh Johnson (No. 259 overall)
The Chiefs dominated the division again last season and only lost to an OT field Goal in the AFC Championship game. So seeing them with Two first and two second-round picks must be a little dismaying for their divisional opponents. Even worse for them, they made great use of these adding likely starters in McDuffie & Karlaftis.
Tyreek Hill’s trade did cost them a bit of speed on offense, however, Shyy Moore should step in and fill part of the void. In the later rounds, they filled out their secondary with value players and we thought that Williams in particular could have gone a fair bit higher. Watch out for Isiah Pacheco he should have been taken well before the 7th round and should get some carries early.
Overall Grade A+
The Chiefs lost a few players in free agency but more than made up for that with this draft. The AFC West will be brutal again this year but Kansas still look like the team to beat.
Las Vegas Raiders
Memphis OG Dylan Parham (No. 90 overall)
Georgia RB Zamir White (No. 122 overall)
LSU DT Neil Farrell Jr. (No. 126 overall)
Tennessee DT Matthew Butler (No. 175 overall)
Ohio State OT Thayer Munford Jr. (No. 238 overall)
UCLA RB Brittain Brown (No. 250 overall)
The Raiders’ decision to trade for Davante Adams meant that they lacked premium picks this year. When they finally got to choose they took a versatile O-Lineman in Dylan Parham. He was good value towards the end of round three and has played TE and RT before finding his calling as Right Guard. He won All-AAC honours in this position in 2021.
Zamir White could become a useful punt returner as well as figuring in the RB rotation while Brown offers some value at pick 250 and could find a role in situational plays.
Overall Grade B
The Raiders didn’t need to find too much in the draft given their free agency moves and at least they have plenty of options at RB if Davante Adams takes time to adjust to his new surroundings.
Los Angeles Chargers
Boston College OL Zion Johnson (No. 17 overall)
Baylor S JT Woods (No. 79 overall)
Texas A&M RB Isaiah Spiller (No. 123 overall)
UCLA DT Otito Ogbonnia (No. 160 overall)
Georgia OT Jamaree Salyer (No. 195 overall)
Wake Forest CB Ja’Sir Taylor (No. 214 overall)
Mississippi CB Deane Leonard (No. 236 overall)
Purdue FB Zander Horvath (No. 260 overall)
The Chargers needed to sort their O-Line and Zion Johnson looks like slotting right in at Left Guard. he can also play Tackle at a push so adds some versatility too. We had the Chargers taking a Guard in our mock and it was just as well they filled the hole here as the best ones disappeared quickly.
They traded away their second-round pick and didn’t have another until well into the third when they added a bit of safety depth with JW Wood. They also a couple of Corners which was probably wise given the quality of the QBs they will face in the division in 2022.
Their most intriguing pick though was Jamaree Salyer who played various roles in his Georgia college career, including filling in at Right Guard in their 2021 National Championship win. This despite starting the game at Left Tackle!
Overall Grade A-
The Chargers did a nice job of both filling roster gaps and adding depth. If they have finally sorted their Offensive line then they could go one step further in 2022.