2015 NFL Draft Preview: What Will the AFC West Do In Round One?


Jan 11, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning (18) walks off the field after the NFL divisional playoff game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. The Colts defeated the Broncos 24-13. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

We all have a tendency to get tunnel vision when it comes to following our favorite teams. Raider Nation is not immune to this. We look at our team’s progress in the offseason year to year, often thinking that alone is an indicator of how the team is going to fare in the upcoming season. We tend to ignore the external factors — specifically what the other teams in the division are doing.

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The division is the key to everything. It’s the quickest way to take the next step as a franchise and get into the playoffs. If you can win your division, you’re in the postseason tournament where anything can happen. It makes sense then to pay attention to what your divisional rivals are doing — especially in the draft.

Here are some things to watch for from the other AFC West teams next weekend:

Denver Broncos — As we saw last season, Peyton Manning’s days are seriously numbered. Brock Osweiler is not the answer to replace him. That said, there are some interesting prospects in this draft at the quarterback position outside of Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota.

One of those prospects is Colorado State’s Garrett Grayson. As the hype around Grayson builds and the pressure and attention from the hometown media and fans gets more intense, it would not surprise me one bit to see the Broncos grab Grayson in the first round.

The only other pressing need on Denver’s plate is offensive tackle and quite frankly, I’m not sure there is an offensive tackle in this draft worthy of a first round pick after Andrus Peat and Brandon Scherff — both of whom will be long gone by the time Denver picks. If for whatever reason another quarterback is taken after Winston and Mariota before Denver is on the clock, I’d say Grayson to the Broncos at Pick No. 28 is all but a sure thing.

Kansas City Chiefs — All we heard last year was how no Chiefs receiver caught a touchdown pass. Andy Reid went out and got Jeremy Maclin to help fix that. I don’t believe he’s done. Look for Reid to recreate what he thought he was going to have in Philly by drafting the DeSean Jackson-like Devin Smith out of Ohio State.

If the Chiefs do land Smith, no aerial attack in the league will look more different compared to last year’s than Kansas City’s.

San Diego Chargers — There are a lot of different ways the Chargers could go in Round 1 next weekend. I won’t be surprised to see them move around and end up with Marcus Mariota — as many are predicting. I also would not be shocked if they just went with Melvin Gordon in the first round and drafted someone like Brett Hundley on Day 2 — essentially making Philip Rivers a luxury they could deal to a quarterback-needy team later on.

Whatever happens next weekend, I honestly feel like the Raiders are in the best position of the four AFC West teams to succeed in the long term. Much of that has to do with the fact that they appear the only team in the division to have stability at the quarterback spot for years to come. Now you just build around him.

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