Grading the Draft: AFC West

Tonight a look at the AFC West; another division in which teams really helped themselves getting good talent from the draft and filling major holes.


The Broncos are aging at several positions and needed an injection of youth, especially on offense.  Receiver Ashley Lelie was a solid pick in round one as he brings speed and size to Denver and is an explosive wide out with a bright future.  With the stable of backs on the roster Clinton Portis was a surprise in round two but factoring in the injury problems of Olandis Gary and Terrell Davis, in the end it was a good pick.  Dorsett Davis was solid value in round three and fits a need at defensive tackle.  If Davis improves his football technique he will be a productive player at the next level.  Herb Haygood offers a pair of solid hands and has a real possibility to make the roster while Jeb Putzier very much fits the mold of what Denver wants in there tight ends.  Overall, solid picks at the top of this draft with the possibilities of surprises in the later frames. 

Kansas City 

Though they had only limited picks, the Chiefs accomplished several goals on draft day, the first of which was to strengthen the interior defensive line.  Trading up for Ryan Sims in the first frame then tabbing Eddie Freeman in round two gives them a pair of defensive tackles that could quickly break into the starting unit early during their rookie campaigns.  Fourth round pick Omar Easy offers a bigger back that can block for Priest Holmes or spell the feature runner on occasion.  Scott Fujita is an intelligent linebacker with distinct possibilities on the strong side and is a future starter. 


The draft is usually an adventure for Oakland and with two picks in round one Raider fans were holding their collective breathes.  In the end Oakland went for value taking corner Philip Buchanon and linebacker Napoleon Harris.  Buchanon's cocky attitude turned many off which caused his slide but in the end may offer one of the league's top cornerback tandems with Charles Woodson.  Harris is a great athlete with a lot of potential that must refine his football instincts.  With another pair of picks in round two the other side of the ball was addressed with tackle Langston Walker and tight end Doug Jolley.  At the top of his game Walker is a dominant lineman that can play on either side of the ball but he does have a penchant to be rather lazy.  Jolley was a player on the rise prior to draft day and the pass catcher from BYU is rounding into a complete player.  Kenyon Coleman was worth the risk of a fifth round pick while Larry Ned will offer depth at running back. 

San Diego 

John Butler did a masterful job last April, his first at the helm of the Charger front office and got an equal effort from this year's draft.  When Quentin Jammer fell into the Chargers laps at pick number five it was a no-brainer as the Texas defensive back immediately fills a need in the secondary.  With needs on the offensive line San Diego also got a break when guard Toniu Fonoti dropped to them in round two.  Ben Leber adds youth to the linebacker core and was solid value in round three and the Chargers were very active after the draft signing key free agents such as receiver Brian Poli-Dixon.  Another strong performance by Butler and the Chargers in April.

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