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Around the AFC West: 2023 draft recap

How did Kansas City’s divison rivals do in last weekend’s NFL Draft?

NFL: APR 27 2023 Draft Photo by Scott Winters/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Coming out of the NFL Draft, let's take a look to see which AFC West got better at going toe-to-toe with the defending Super Bowl champions: the Kansas City Chiefs.

Denver Broncos

At the draft began, the Broncos’ first selection was in the third round. But on Day 2, Denver traded up into the second round to select wide receiver Marvin Mims out of Oklahoma. This selection fits the Broncos perfectly; Mims is a speedy, deep-ball threat who ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. He is now set to be Denver’s slot receiver. He’ll get plenty of targets alongside Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton.

At 67, the Broncos took Arkansas linebacker Drew Sanders. But their most intriguing third-round selection was Iowa cornerback Riley Moss, for whom they had to trade back to acquire at 83.

Moss will have a great test playing in the NFL’s shootout division: the AFC West. But he plays extremely fast; he can keep up with speedy receivers. He should be able to hold his own.

Denver's other picks

  • Round 6 (183): JL Skinner, safety, Boise State
  • Round 7 (257): Alex Forsyth, center, Oregon

Las Vegas Raiders

The Raiders’ first-round selection was a head-scratcher, to say the least. With defensive tackle Jalen Carter still on the board, Las Vegas went with Texas Tech edge rusher Tyree Wilson. Carter would have been more what the Raiders really needed; they’re one of the league’s worst teams against the run.

Wilson will be learning a lot from Maxx Crosby and Chandler Jones, but I’m curious about how the rotation will go. Jones is 33 years old — and has two more years left on his contract. With Wilson's long arms, he and Crosby will be a force to be reckoned with.

In the second round, Las Vegas traded with the Indianapolis Colts to take Notre Dame tight end Michael Mayer at 35. He’ll join a now-crowded tight end room that includes O.J. Howard and Austin Hooper, whom the Raiders signed in free agency period. Mayer was the second-best tight end in this year's draft.

The Raiders’ other picks

  • Round 3 (100) Tre Tucker, wide receiver, Maryland
  • Round 4 (104) Jakorian Bennett, cornerback, Maryland
  • Round 4 (135) Aidan O’Connell, quarterback, Purdue
  • Round 5 (170) Christopher Smith II, safety, Georgia
  • Round 6 (203) Amari Burne, linebacker, Florida
  • Round 7 (231) Nesta Jade Slivera, defensive tackle, Arizona State

Los Angeles Chargers

When the Seattle Seahawks selected Ohio State wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba with the first round’s 20th pick, you could assume a wide receiver run was starting. That’s what happened — but the Chargers didn’t take the best wideout on the board.

The selection of TCU’s 6-foot-2 wide receiver Quentin Johnston taught us one thing: Los Angeles head coach Brandon Staley likes big, physical receivers. But he should have gone with playmaker Zay Flowers. That was a big miss for the Chargers.

Johnston’s college quarterback will be joining him in Los Angeles — the Chargers took Max Duggan at pick 239 in the seventh round — but Johnston will likely benefit from catching passes from one of the league’s better quarterbacks: Justin Herbert

The Chargers’ other picks

  • Round 2 (54): Tuli Tuipulotu, defensive end, USC
  • Round 3 (85): Daiyan Henley, linebacker, Washington State
  • Round 4 (125): Derius Davis, wide reciever, TCU
  • Round 5 (156): Jordan McFadden, guard, Clemson
  • Round 6 (200): Scott Matlock, defensive lineman, Boise State

In this draft, two AFC West teams did their best to compete with the Kansas City offense. The Chiefs’ other opponent focused on trying to stop the division’s high-powered offenses.

Among Kansas City’s division rivals, I think Las Vegas had the most complete draft. I’d rank the Raiders ahead of the Chargers — and put the Broncos behind Los Angeles.

What do you think?


Which team had a better draft?

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