AFC West Teams Found Guilty of 'Reaching'

Words like "reach" and "value" have become regular tools in the draft lexicon. Fans of the AFC West used them in abundance Saturday. All four teams in the division can be accused of reaching for their first-round selections.

The selection of Northern Illinois linebacker Larry English had many Chargers fans scratching their heads. As was dissected in this article, the pick could be described as a shocker for a number of reasons.

However, English, the No. 36 ranked prospect in Scout.com's NFL Draft Rankings, was not the only head-scratching selection to come out of the AFC West.

DE Tyson Jackson
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The Kansas City Chiefs kicked things off by reaching for LSU DE Tyson Jackson with the No. 3 pick, a player presumed by most to go somewhere between Nos. 12-20. He was ranked No. 17 overall by Scout.com.

Jackson is an excellent fit for the 3-4 defense the Chiefs will install, so this is not to imply he will not become a solid player. However, he does not make the impact plays expected of a top-three prospect.

Not to be outdone, the Oakland Raiders delivered the reach of the draft when they selected Maryland WR Darrius Heyward-Bey at No. 7, despite the fact that WRs Michael Crabtree and Jeremy Maclin were still on the board.

Heyward-Bay, the 27th ranked prospect by Scout.com, is the fastest player in this year's draft, running the 40-yard dash in 4.3 seconds. If only Raiders owner Al Davis was fielding a track team, he might really be on to something.

The Denver Broncos didn't reach as badly as the rest of the division, but that doesn't mean their picks were without question. That's especially true of Knowshon Moreno, who was projected to go to the Philadelphia Eagles at No. 21 in many mock drafts.

The selection of Moreno is especially surprising given that the Broncos have already signed RBs LaMont Jordan, J.J. Arrington and Correll Buckhalter as free agents.

The Broncos picked up LB Robert Ayers with their second first-round pick, No. 18 overall. It was the fifth pick in the first round by an AFC West team and the first that didn't leave fans scratching their heads.

Michael Lombardo is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and a long-time contributor to the Scout.com network. His analysis has been published by the NFL Network, Fox Sports and MySpace Sports. He has followed the Chargers for more than 15 years and covered the team since 2003.


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