Draft capsules for AFC West teams:
3. SAN DIEGO CHARGERS (4-12)
LAST SEASON: Chargers tumbled to their worst record in 12 seasons, including being swept in AFC West, as ownership angered fan base with failed attempt to move to Los Angeles. First-round pick Melvin Gordon failed to score touchdown or have 100-yard game, mostly due to ineffective offensive line. Despite missing playoffs for fifth time in six seasons, Chargers gave coach Mike McCoy one-year contract extension through 2017.
THEY NEED: OL, DL, S.
THEY DON’T NEED: ILB, QB, TE, K, P.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DB Jalen Ramsey, Florida State; OT Laremy Tunsil, Mississippi; OT Ronnie Stanley, Notre Dame; OLB Myles Jack, UCLA.
OUTLOOK: Los Angeles Rams’ big trade into No. 1 spot and their desire to take quarterback increases Chargers’ chance of getting their top-rated player. While they desperately need improvement on offensive line, they gave right tackle Joe Barksdale a four-year contract in March. A year ago, they locked up left tackle King Dunlap for four years. Dunlap has had hard time staying healthy. Pressure will be on GM Tom Telesco to put winning product on field if Chargers do indeed place citizens’ initiative on Nov. 8 ballot to help pay for new downtown stadium.
14. OAKLAND RAIDERS (7-9)
LAST SEASON: More than doubled 2014 win total in Year 1 under coach Jack Del Rio. Developed strong young core led by QB Derek Carr, pass rusher Khalil Mack, WR Amari Cooper and RB Latavius Murray. Carr threw for 32 TD passes and 3,987 yards. Cooper and Murray both topped 1,000-yard mark and All-Pro Mack made 15 sacks. Offense thrived in first half of season before stumbling down stretch. Defense improved mightily in second half of season led by Mack and waiver wire pickup CB David Amerson.
THEY NEED: DB, LB, RB.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, OL.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: LB Reggie Ragland, Alabama; DT Sheldon Rankins, Louisville; CB William Jackson III, Houston; LB Darron Lee, Ohio State.
OUTLOOK: GM Reggie McKenzie used free agency to shore up offensive line with Kelechi Osemele, pass rush with linebacker Bruce Irvin, and secondary with cornerback Sean Smith and safety Reggie Nelson. Biggest needs in draft are running back to complement Murray after no other back had 25 carries last season, and middle linebacker to replace released Curtis Lofton. Could also use more help in secondary, depth on defensive line and third receiver to team with Cooper and Michael Crabtree.
28. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS (12-6)
LAST SEASON: Ended two-decade streak without playoff victory by routing Houston, then lost to New England short of AFC title game. Defense was good-to-great but lost top cornerback Sean Smith in free agency and top pass rusher Justin Houston for part of upcoming season after knee surgery. Offense needs more weapons to help QB Alex Smith, though return of RB Jamaal Charles from torn ACL should help. Emergence of RBs Charcandrick West and Spencer Ware was noteworthy. So was WR Jeremy Maclin living up to hefty free-agent contract.
THEY NEED: CB, WR, DL, OT, S.
THEY DON’T NEED: QB, RB, C, TE.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: CB Eli Apple, Ohio State; DT Vernon Butler, Louisiana Tech; S Vonn Bell, Ohio State; WR Laquon Treadwell, Mississippi.
OUTLOOK: Chiefs lost third-round pick for tampering in Maclin signing, so hitting on remaining picks is crucial. Smith’s departure for AFC West-rival Oakland and retirement of S Husain Abdullah make shoring up secondary a priority. Look for Chiefs to target someone like Ohio State WR Braxton Miller in Round 2. May try to trade first-round pick to recoup lost third-round choice, but finding willing partner could prove difficult.
31. DENVER BRONCOS (15-4)
LAST SEASON: Rode one of best defenses in NFL history to franchise’s third Super Bowl win, 24-10 over Carolina behind game MVP Von Miller’s two sack-strips of Cam Newton. GM John Elway called it “the best defensive performance I have ever seen.” He promptly slapped exclusive franchise tag on man he calls best player he’s ever seen in Miller, who seeks to become NFL’s highest-paid defensive player with contract in $20 million annual range with $60 million-plus guaranteed. Offense one of worst in league, but RB C.J. Anderson’s strong finishing touch in playoffs helped Peyton Manning go out a champion. After Manning retired, Broncos lost backup Brock Osweiler to Houston in free agency, setting up offseason of uncertainty. They acquired Mark Sanchez but will add another QB in draft and maybe via trade.
THEY NEED: DT, QB, G, S, RB, WR.
THEY DON’T NEED: OLB, CB.
POSSIBLE FIRST PICK: DE Robert Nkemdiche, Mississippi; DT Chris Jones, Mississippi State; QB Connor Cook, Michigan State.
OUTLOOK: Elway overhauled O-line, adding Russell Okung to team-friendly deal and Donald Stephenson while bidding farewell to Ryan Clady, Ryan Harris, Louis Vasquez, Evan Mathis and Tyler Polumbus. He also jettisoned TEs Owen Daniels and Vernon Davis, with Jeff Heuerman returning from torn ACL that sidelined him as rookie in ‘15. But big question remains: What will Elway do at QB? After losing Manning and Osweiler in 48-hour span, Elway quickly acquired Sanchez, but just about every backup and free agent and even one starter, Tyrod Taylor of Buffalo, has been linked to Broncos as they seek signal-caller to help defend title. With final pick of first round, they might have to move up to find future QB in this college class.
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