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2020 NFL Draft

2020 NFL Draft: AFC West Should, Could, Will

2020 NFL Draft
NBC Sports

This is the first in a series of eight 2020 NFL Draft posts that will cover who teams should, could, and ultimately will end up drafting in the first round. Today we begin with the AFC West. 

Denver Broncos 

Should. The Broncos beefed up on defense through free agency. They have started addressing their offensive line. Drew Lock appears to be their man moving forward at QB. With Courtland Sutton being the only quality receiver remaining on that roster, the Broncos should draft WR. 

The best friend for any young QB is an excellent route runner. Jerry Jeudy is the best in this year’s draft. He is worth trading up to acquire. Sutton should draw double coverage, which will allow Lock and Jeudy to develop chemistry quickly. 

Could. If they choose not to trade up, Jeudy will likely not be available at pick number 15. This still leaves the Broncos with options at receiver. However, unless CeeDee Lamb falls to them, Henry Ruggs III and Tee Higgins would be a reach at this spot. The team would be better off trading back and acquiring some assets while still drafting a quality WR. 

Will. John Elway is not a stranger to trading back. He did that just last year. If Lamb and Jeudy are gone by the time the Broncos are on the clock, they will likely trade back and secure their number 2 receiver later in the first round. 

Kansas City Chiefs 

Should. The defending Super Bowl champions could use help at every level of their defense. At pick number 32, however, they are in a pickle. If they reach on a CB or defensive linemen, they are risking busting. If they nail this pick, the team is unlikely to be able to retain the player after his rookie contract expires because of their cap situation

Given this problem, the Chiefs should trade back. Acquiring later picks in this or future drafts can give the team more shots at hitting on potential stars. This, along with cheaper contracts, would have the Chiefs continuing to contend for a long time. 

Could. The team could go with CB Noah Igbinoghene or DE A.J. Epenesa. Either of these picks would receive a positive grade. If they choose this path, the team will have to play their pick immediately. Their best bet at retaining value would be to start the player immediately, have him blossom and help the team in the next couple of seasons, and then trade him away for draft capital before having to pay him. 

Will. The strategy in the should section of this post is unusual. I don’t expect Brett Veach (GM) to take this path. Given how deep this draft is at CB and LB, the Chiefs will likely select the best available defensive lineman with this pick.

Las Vegas Raiders 

Should. The Raiders have two picks in the first round. They need a WR and help at every level of their defense. Either Lamb or Jeudy could still be on the board by pick number 12. If so, the Raiders should take one of those two potential stars. If not, they should trade back. The team does not own a second round pick this year. Trading back in the first round could still allow them to land a quality WR and secure additional picks in the process. 

The second pick in the first round (number 19) should be devoted to a cornerback. C.J. Henderson or Kristian Fulton would be nice selections at this spot. There is a sharp drop off in quality at CB after these two players, so the Raiders cannot afford to move back or wait to select a defensive back. 

Could. They could package their first round picks to trade up for a QB. This would be a mistake. Derek Carr will be entering his third year in the same offensive system. He improved from year 1 to year 2 and there is no reason to suggest he would regress in 2020. 

Will. Mike Mayock and Jon Gruden have been meticulous in their rebuild of this team. While Gruden is often characterized as impulsive, that is not what he has demonstrated while building this team. Mayock and Gruden will likely continue their slow and steady approach. They will select the best WR on the board at pick number 12 and take a CB at number 19, or vice versa depending on available talent. 

Los Angeles Chargers 

Should. I was convinced that the Chargers should trade up for Tua. That is no longer the case. The Chargers should not commit to picking a QB until they are sure everything else is in place and that the right QB is available. Given this team’s injury history, they cannot afford to draft Tua and then lose him to injury. 

No other QB in this draft will be a game-changer right away. Even Joe Burrow will find it difficult to succeed immediately at the professional level. The Chargers’ defensive and offensive skill positions are set. They need offensive line help. Jedrick Wills, Jr. should be their pick.

Could. They could trade up for a QB. This is a very unlikely move given Tom Telesco’s history. Regardless of who the team would target, this could end up being a move the team regrets. The only advantage is that the Chargers are loaded at almost every position. Sacrificing a few draft picks in later rounds is therefore not a terrible decision. Still, sounds like too big of a risk for a GM who might be on the hot seat. 

Will. The Chargers will take either Willis or Mekhi Becton. The trade Telesco executed with Carolina to swap Russell Okung for Trai Turner left a giant hole at LT. Either one of these prospects could fill the void nicely. 

Stay tuned for the posts on the seven remaining divisions leading up to the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

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