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Around the AFC West Mock Draft 1.0: Who Could the Chiefs Be Facing in Future?

Posted Feb 2, 2018

Taking a look at the way-too-early mock drafts for our division rivals

The Kansas City Chiefs don’t currently have a first-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft because they sent it over to the Buffalo Bills last year to trade up for quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Among other things—more important things—that go along with the current lack of a Chiefs’ draft pick in the top 32 selections, it means the ever-popular mock drafts that dominate the interwebz in the months, weeks, and days leading up the draft, won’t have much of a Chiefs’ feel this year.

But don’t worry Chiefs fans, there’s still value in mock draft season, and that’s because we get to look around at the players who might be soon joining the division. Two of the other three teams in the AFC West are choosing among the Top 10—an indictment to an otherwise disappointing season, but it also means the chance of snagging a top talent.

The Denver Broncos currently hold the 5th overall pick, while the Oakland Raiders have the 10th, and the Los Angeles Chargers have the 17th.

It goes without saying, but the exercise of matching prospects to teams before the Super Bowl has even been played, much less things like free agency has even taken place, is a futile one. But there is value in getting to learn about some of the players whose names will be called at some point in the draft later this spring, whether they join the AFC West or not.

So, here’s a look at some recent mock drafts and who these experts have joining the Broncos, Raiders, and Chargers.

The Denver Broncos – 5th Overall Pick

ESPN (Mel Kiper)USC QB Sam Darnold

Kiper’s reasoning:

“Denver sits in a pivotal spot in the draft. Will it take the third quarterback? Could it move down? There will be a ripple effect in the top 10. Either way, it looks like the Broncos are ready to move on from 2016 first-round pick Paxton Lynch. Darnold had an up-and-down season and struggled with turnovers -- his 22 were tied for most in the FBS. Can he figure out the ball security? If he can get rid of the bad habits, he could be a special player. Darnold is an accurate, natural passer with high upside who still needs to tweak his mechanics. I believe in his talent long term, and I think John Elway would love to have him in Denver.”

NFL.com (Lance Zierlein)Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson

Zierlein’s reasoning:

“The Broncos need a guard, and they might have stumbled into an All-Pro with the powerful Nelson.”

NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah)Notre Dame OG Quenton Nelson

NFL.com (Bucky Brooks)UCLA QB Josh Rosen

Bleacher Report (Joe Tansey)UCLA QB Josh Rosen

The Oakland Raiders – 10th Overall Pick

ESPN (Mel Kiper)Georgia ILB Roquan Smith

Kiper’s reasoning:

“Smith is the type of player new coach Jon Gruden loves. He's physical. He can get sideline to sideline in a hurry. He's a force in the middle. Smith was one of the best players on the field in the College Football Playoff National Championship, and he could slot into the middle of the Raiders' defense in place of NaVorro Bowman, who's a free agent. Oakland also could target a pass-rusher to help Khalil Mack & Co.”

NFL.com (Lance Zierlein)Georgia ILB Roquan Smith

Zierlein’s reasoning:

The Raiders have been in need of help at inside linebacker for a while, and they get an ascending playmaker in this spot.

NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah)Georgia ILB Roquan Smith

NFL.com (Bucky Brooks)Central Florida CB Mike Hughes

Bleacher Report (Joe Tansey)Ohio State CB Denzel Ward

The Los Angeles Chargers – 17th Overall Pick

ESPN (Mel Kiper)Alabama DT Da’Ron Payne

Kiper’s reasoning:

“The best nose tackle in this class is Payne, who was a monster in the College Football Playoff, even if he didn't always show up on the stat sheet. Georgia couldn't block him in the national title game. The Chargers are set with good, young pass-rushers, but they could upgrade on Brandon Mebane, who's signed for only another year. Payne would strengthen the belly of a defense that ranked last in the league in rushing yards per attempt allowed (4.9).”

NFL.com (Lance Zierlein)Alabama DT Da’Ron Payne

Zierlein’s reasoning:

“Payne can overwhelm rushing attacks. He has the talent to become a much better pass rusher, as well. Can you imagine that defensive front, with Joey Bosa and Melvin Ingram already in the fold?!”

NFL.com (Daniel Jeremiah)Florida State DB Derwin James

NFL.com (Bucky Brooks)Washington DT Vita Vea

Bleacher Report (Joe Tansey)Texas OT Connor Williams

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