Squad needs, main draft goals, prospects to watch, etc.


The landscape at AFC West is totally different from a few months ago. Three of the four teams saw an influx of talent from the NFC, while the division winner lost arguably the NFL’s top receiver. Ahead of the NFL Draft, we explore team needs and draft prospects that make sense in our AFC West Draft Preview.

2022 NFL AFC West Draft Preview

The Broncos took a strong roster and added Russell Wilson. Las Vegas splashed both sides of the ball, while the Chargers had arguably the best March in recent memory. Could all four teams compete for the playoffs in 2022?

Kansas City Chiefs: Squad needs, draft goals, salary cap and outlook to watch

Cap Space (from April 8)
$18.1 million

2022 NFL Draft Pick
1-29, 1-30, 2-50, 2-62, 3-94, 3-103, 4-121, 4-135, 7-234, 7-244, 7-252, 7-260

The once untouchable leaders now seem to have a few cracks in their armor. They let go Tyrann Mathieu, the heart and soul of the defense, and they traded Tyreek Hill to Miami. Kansas City also lost Charvarius Ward in free agency, and they don’t have much help left for Chris Jones on the defensive end of the ball.

Leaders have created needs out of free will. However, Justin Reid’s signing eased safety concerns. They still need a starting cornerback, a wide receiver, an edge forward and a run-packed defensive tackle.

With five top-100 picks, Kansas City’s plan will be to inexpensively fill as many holes on the roster as possible. General manager Brett Veach dominated the 2021 NFL Draft and has the ammunition to do the same in 2022.

Chiefs could have plenty of options at first-round fullback, including wide receivers Treylon Burk (Arkansas) and Jahan Dotson (Penn State); cornerback Andrew Booth Jr. (Clemson), Kaiir Elam (Florida) and Trent McDuffie (Washington); Edges David Ojabo (Michigan), Boye Mafe (Minnesota), and Arnold Ebiketie (Penn State); and defensive tackles Perrion Winfrey (Oklahoma), Devonte Wyatt (Georgia), and TravisJones (Connecticut).

Their options on day 2 of the draft will be even greater. They’re not the most powerful class at the top, but they’re deep with talent in the positions the Chiefs need other than cornerback.

Las Vegas Raiders: Squad needs, draft goals, salary cap and prospects to watch

Cap Space (from April 8)
$6 million

2022 NFL Draft Pick
3-86, 4-126, 5-164, 5-165, 7-228

The Raiders spent the first days of sitting free agency. Then, like an engine built with 200 shots of nitrous oxide, they took off like a rocket. They added Chandler Jones, traded for Rock Ya-Sin, and acquired arguably the NFL’s best receiver via a trade with Packers superstar Davante Adams.

The Raiders used the 22nd and 53rd picks in the 2022 NFL Draft to trade for Adams. They still have significant needs on the offensive line, and now they don’t have the capital draft to address those issues. Aside from Kolton Miller, the top five are a problem.

Many names could be of interest to the Raiders when their third-round pick arrives, including offensive tackles abraham lucas (Washington State), Daniel Faalele (Minnesota), Nicolas Little Brother (State of Ohio), Rasheed Walker (Penn State), Dare Rosenthal (Kentucky); guards Luke Goedeke (central Michigan), Marquis Hayes (Oklahoma), Sean Rhian (UCLA), Ed Ingram (USL), Lecite Smith (Virginia Tech); and Dylan Parham Centers (Memphis), weird cole (Chattanooga), Luke Fortner (Kentucky) and Zach Tom (Wake Forest).

Los Angeles Chargers: Squad needs, draft goals, salary cap and prospects to watch

Cap Space (from April 8)
$18.9 million

2022 NFL Draft Pick
1-17, 3-79, 4-123, 5-160, 6-195, 6-215, 7-237, 7-255, 7-256, 7-261

The Los Angeles Chargers were the darlings of free agency. They made a ton of moves and did it without making any additions to define the market. They paid JC Jackson a lot of money, but it was less than expected. Trading for Khalil Mack was also a massive upgrade, as were the additions the Chargers made on the defensive line.

LA met many of their free agency needs, but they left right guard and right tackle off the roster. If they want Justin Herbert to survive the onslaught of ridiculous pass rushers in the AFC West, they will have to attack the tackle position.

There are far fewer names to watch for the Chargers in the first round than the Raiders. Offensive tackle Trevor Penning is the perspective that jumps the most. The Chargers could also go with a guard like Sion Johnson or Kenyan Greenthe latter having the experience and ability to play good tackle.

Denver Broncos: Squad needs, draft goals, salary cap and outlook to watch

Cap Space (from April 8)
$14.6 million

2022 NFL Draft Pick
2-64, 3-75, 3-96, 4-115, 4-116, 5-145, 6-207, 7-233

Denver lagged around the playoff chase for most of the season, but they lacked the QB game to take the next step. They boasted a strong roster overall, but they couldn’t lure Aaron Rodgers from Green Bay and decided against drafting Justin Fields or Mac Jones. Instead, the Broncos waited until 2022 to trade for Wilson, which should make him an AFC contender.

Going through the Broncos’ roster, it’s not easy to find legitimate needs. While Denver doesn’t have a perfect team, they have players above replacement level almost everywhere.

They could use a long-range right tackle, but the additions of Billy Turner and Tom Compton solidify the position for now. There aren’t too many pass runners, so if the Broncos can find one with an advantage, that might be a place to go late in the second round. They could also consider drafting a developing cornerback.

Names to watch with Denver include offensive tackles Bernard Raiman (Central Michigan) and Lucas; Edges Myjai Sanders (Cincinnati), Kingsley Enagbare (South Carolina), and Nik Bonitto (Oklahoma); and cornerbacks Tariq wool (UTSA), Kyler Gordon (Washington), Martin Emerson (State of Mississippi), and Coby Bryant (Cincinnati).

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