The NFL Draft is the staple for building a winner in the NFL. While the process isn’t an exact science, the draft is the most important part of the offseason. Flushing your system with young talent can go a long way into defining a winning culture. Missing in the draft often times costs people their jobs. Now that the 2017 NFL Draft is in the books we can look at who did well. We start with the AFC West that is compiled of the Chiefs, Broncos, Chargers, and Raiders. Of those four teams, it’s time to look at the winners and losers. Who won the 2017 NFL Draft in the AFC West?
Denver Broncos: Draft Grade C+
- Round 1, Pick 20 (No. 20 overall) Garett Bolles, OT, Utah
- Round 2, Pick 19 (No. 51) DeMarcus Walker, DE, Florida State
- Round 3, Pick 18 (No. 82) Carlos Henderson, WR, Louisiana Tech
- Round 3, Pick 37 (No. 101) Brendan Langley, CB, Lamar
- Round 5, Pick 1 (No. 145) Jake Butt, TE, Michigan
- Round 5, Pick 29 (No. 172) Isaiah McKenzie, WR, Georgia
- Round 6, Pick 19 (No. 203) De’Angelo Henderson, RB, Coastal Carolina
- Round 7, Pick 35 (No. 253) Chad Kelly, QB, Ole Miss
The Bolles pick in the first round is a bit of a head scratcher. He could wind up being a solid NFL player but will already be 25 as a rookie and likely is close to his peak potential already. Bolles is an athletic offensive lineman with a real nasty streak but may wind up being a total flop in the NFL. DeMarcus Walker, the pass rusher from Florida State, wasn’t really on my radar and may have been over drafted. After taking a closer look he provides some quality depth and could wind up being a pretty good player. Carlos Henderson is a small school receiver that I don’t know a ton about but did show some potential at the combine. Brendan Langley from Lamar completely stumped me. Langley was awful at the Senior Bowl and was obviously released from the University of Georgia for a reason. I really thought he wouldn’t eve get drafted let alone wind up in the third round. The Broncos late round draft picks really saved this draft class. To get Jake Butt in the 5th round is a bargain. Butt likely would have been a 2nd round pick if not for suffering the ACL injury during the Orange Bowl. I would expect Butt to be a Jason Witten type of player taking over the starting tight end job next season. McKenzie from Georgia is likely a return man/slot receiver only that has good short area quickness. Henderson figures to work into Denver’s deep running back group. The most interesting pick was Chad Kelly who was taken with the last pick in the draft. Kelly has the potential to be a franchise quarterback but has gotten in a lot of trouble off the field. It will be an interesting situation to monitor moving forward.
Kansas City Chiefs: Draft Grade F
- Round 1, Pick 10 (No. 10 overall) Pat Mahomes, QB, Texas Tech
- Round 2, Pick 27 (No. 59) Tanoh Kpassagnon, DE, Villanova
- Round 3, Pick 22 (No. 86) Kareem Hunt, RB, Toledo
- Round 4, Pick 33 (No. 139) Jehu Chesson, WR, Michigan
- Round 5, Pick 40 (No. 183) Ukeme Eligwe, LB, Georgia Southern
- Round 6, Pick 35 (No. 218) Leon McQuay III, S, USC
I called Pat Mahomes the biggest wildcard at the quarterback position. Maybe he makes it but gosh the Chiefs gave up a lot to go and get him. Two first round picks and a third rounder is a heck of a lot for an unproven quarterback. A quarterback from the Air Raid collegiate system has never made it in the NFL. Do I love his arm talent? Absolutely, but he refuses to take what the defense gives him and somehow prefers to go off-script. That’s not going to work in the NFL. The good news is that Andy Reid is the perfect spot for him. KC also reached for Kpassagnon in the second round. The Villanova edge rusher is a really raw prospect that looks like a freak of nature but is very much a project pick. The only selection I liked was Kareem Hunt who can be a productive running back in the NFL. The late round selections also were weird choices as they didn’t catch my eye as I prepared for the draft.
Los Angeles Chargers: Draft Grade B
- Round 1, Pick 7 (No. 7 overall) Mike Williams, WR, Clemson
- Round 2, Pick 6 (No. 38) Forrest Lamp, G, Western Kentucky
- Round 3, Pick 7 (No. 71) Dan Feeney, G, Indiana
- Round 4, Pick 6 (No. 113) Rayshawn Jenkins, S, Miami
- Round 5, Pick 7 (No. 151) Desmond King, S, Iowa
- Round 6, Pick 6 (No. 190) Sam Tevi, OT, Utah
- Round 7, Pick 7 (No. 225) Isaac Rochell, DT, Notre Dame
I’m still not entirely sure what to make about what the Chargers did. I thought the Mike Williams selection was a bit too rich for my blood seventh overall. Williams lacks long speed which really worries me but he has great hands and wins more 50/50 balls than he should. Maybe he is exactly the guy Philip Rivers has been missing since Vincent Jackson left town. I’ll always support going offensive line heavy, especially in the 2nd and 3rd rounds, but Forrest Lamp and Dan Feeney are not sure things. Lamp, a small school prospect from Western Kentucky, struggled at the Senior Bowl. He did boost his stock later in the process with a strong combine, especially in the movement portion. Feeney is a guy I am really down on compared to other draft people but is probably worth the 3rd round pick. I think he is a better center than a guard. The 4th and 5th round safety choices were solid picks to me. After seeing Eric Weddle depart, that was a real position of need. In Desmond King’s instance, I think he needs to play safety rather than corner after being exposed at the Senior Bowl in one on one drills. Another late round pick to watch is Isaac Rochell. The Notre Dame defensive lineman is a really good football player and is worth the 7th round pick. He had a really nice Senior Bowl too.
Oakland Raiders: Draft Grade Incomplete?
- Round 1, Pick 24 (No. 24 overall) Gareon Conley, CB, Ohio State
- Round 2, Pick 24 (No. 56) Obi Melifonwu, S, Connecticut
- Round 3, Pick 24 (No. 88) Eddie Vanderdoes, DT, UCLA
- Round 4, Pick 23 (No. 129) David Sharpe, OT, Florida
- Round 5, Pick 24 (No. 168) Marquel Lee, LB, Wake Forest
- Round 7, Pick 3 (No. 221) (From Cardinals) Shalom Luani, S, Washington State
- Round 7, Pick 13 (No. 231) Jylan Ware, OT, Alabama State
- Round 7, Pick 24 (No. 242) Elijah Hood, RB, North Carolina
- Round 7, Pick 26 (No. 244) (From Seahawks) Treyvon Hester, DT, Toledo
I have no idea what to make of the Raiders draft. I’m so clueless in fact, that I can’t even give it a grade. Conley, the Ohio State corner, was accused of rape recently and very well could be guilty and headed to jail. If he’s innocent then it’s probably a good pick. That for the moment is a very scary situation to monitor. Then we have Obi Melifonwu who’s a gentic freak of nature that often times doesn’t show it as much as he should. There’s a chance he is a pro bowler. There’s also a chance he’s just an athlete and out of the league in no time. Then we have Eddie Vanderdoes who is a former five-star recruit who played well as a freshman and sophomore at UCLA but suffered knee injuries later in his collegiate career that he has never recovered from. Vanderdoes was also out of control at the Senior Bowl and often times found himself falling over, laying on the ground. It was odd to watch. Oakland even picked David Sharpe who is completely blind in one eye. Sharpe is a good player but has trouble with the snap count because of his condition. Sharpe is a better run blocker compared to pass protection. Even the Luani pick was a curious one taking a former rugby player. Jylan Ware was an intriguing pick on the offensive line. He was snubbed of a combine appearance but has really great length that can be interesting to work with. Oakland may have even struck gold with the Eli Hood pick in the 7th round and could very well be one of the best running back prospects in the entire draft. This is a wait and see draft and for good reason.