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Around the AFC West: Chiefs’ division opponents turn to the draft

With their big free-agency moves behind them, Kansas City’s divisional opponents start thinking about the draft.

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As NFL free agency slows down, the Kansas City Chiefs’ division opponents shift their focus on the upcoming NFL Draft, which will be held in Las Vegas April 28-30.

Denver Broncos

The Broncos’ offseason moves have dwindled down considerably since their free-agency additions of quarterback Russell Wilson and defensive end Randy Gregory. So now, they turn their attention to the draft. But the Broncos won’t be selecting a player until Day 2, using the 64th pick that they received in last season’s Von Miller trade.

But what they will do with that first pick? There are a few holes that need to be patched.

One position group that has declined is the interior defensive line. Shelby Harris — now with the Seattle Seahawks — has been clogging up the interior of the line since 2017. He’s been a big locker-room guy, too. I can also see the Broncos addressing their need for a defensive tackle through the draft, possibly using two of their eight remaining picks.

Draft picks

  • Round 2: Pick 64 (via Los Angeles Rams)
  • Round 3: Pick 75
  • Round 3: Pick 96 (via Rams)
  • Round 4: Pick 115
  • Round 4: Pick 116 (via Seahawks)
  • Round 5: Pick 152
  • Round 6: Pick 206 (via Philadelphia Eagles)
  • Round 7: Pick 232


Las Vegas Raiders

After landing Davante Adams — the NFL’s No. 1 wide receiver — the Raiders have had a surprising offseason. I don’t think anyone who follows the AFC West saw that move coming, as it was different from what the other division teams have been doing to compete with the Chiefs.

With few transactions over the past week, we might see Las Vegas fill the rest of its needs through the draft and undrafted free agents. Unfortunately for the Raiders, they possess only five draft picks — compared to the Chiefs’ 12 — so it will be hard for them to hit on a few players in the draft.

Recently, the Raiders have wasted their early-round picks — so this year, they traded their first and second-round picks for Adams. Since the Rams traded their picks (and won the Super Bowl), it could end up being a smart move.

Still, the Raiders still need a lot of defensive help. That’s the direction they’ll likely go in the draft.

Draft picks


Los Angeles Chargers

Since their addition of defensive end Khalil Mack, Los Angeles hasn’t done much more to compete with quarterback Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs.

If it wasn’t for head coach Brandon Staley, the Chargers would have made the 2021 playoffs — and could have gone on a run. But since that didn’t happen, the team is retooling itself, loading up with compensatory draft picks.

The only division opponent still in possession of its first-round pick, Los Angeles might use it to help protect their quarterback. Whether it is with a tackle or a guard, the Chargers will need to focus their attention on keeping Justin Herbert upright as long as possible.

Draft picks

  • Round 1: Pick 17
  • Round 3: Pick 79
  • Round 4: Pick 122
  • Round 5: Pick 160
  • Round 6: Pick 194
  • Round 6: Pick 214 (compensatory pick)
  • Round 7: Pick 234
  • Round 7: Pick 254 (compensatory pick)
  • Round 7: Pick 255 (compensatory pick)
  • Round 7: Pick 260 (compensatory pick)


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