The Huddle on Facebook Facebook   The Huddle on Twitter Twitter   The Huddle Mobile Mobile Welcome, Guest. You are not logged in.JOINHELP
HOME FANTASY DRAFT KIT IN SEASON ARTICLES NEWS STATS FORUMS TEAMS PLAYERS NFL DRAFT NFL ABOUT myHuddle

FANTASY FOOTBALL NFL DRAFT COVERAGE

NFL Draft: Team Needs - AFC West
John Tuvey
March 27, 2008
AFC North  |  AFC South  |  AFC East  |  AFC West  |  NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  NFC West

Denver Broncos

Primary Needs
The plan to recycle Browns throwaways on the defensive line didn’t work, so the Broncos are back in the market for some interior linemen. The addition of Boss Bailey doesn’t address all of the issues Denver has at linebacker, and even though John Lynch returns for one more season the safety position needs some help as well. The Broncos have made a living cherry-picking quick, smallish offensive linemen and productive backs at the end of the draft, but they may have to move a little earlier this year—especially for some line help. Javon Walker’s release and the freak injury to Brandon Marshall could put Denver in the market for help at wide receiver as well.

Fantasy Impact
How quickly the Broncos move to address Walker’s departure and Marshall’s surgery will determine the fantasy impact of this draft. Not that rookie receivers tend to be great out of the gate, but a first- or second-round target should find himself on the field sooner rather than later given Denver’s circumstances. Line help would be a boon to Cutler and the Broncos running game, but given the schizophrenia associated with Shanahan backfields most fantasy folks will avoid the situation regardless of who’s up front.

Potential Targets
Most mocks have the Broncos looking linebacker with the 12th overall selection, so their receiver plans would be more likely to include Indiana’s James Hardy or Florida’s Andre Caldwell than a first-rounder such as Malcolm Kelly of Oklahoma or Devin Thomas of Michigan State. With more teams using zone-blocking schemes and targeting quick-footed linemen Denver no longer has the luxury of scooping up these players in the later rounds. No third-round selection means the Broncos will have to move early to nab Virginia Tech’s Duane Brown or Anthony Collins of Kansas; the alternative would be hoping a project like Donald Thomas of Connecticut or Rutgers’ Jeremy Zuttah develop quickly.

Kansas City Chiefs

Primary Needs
It would hardly be surprising if the Chiefs alternated their 10 picks exclusively between offensive linemen and defensive backs. There’s a good possibility KC will mix in a receiver as well, and the quarterback depth in this draft could have Herm Edwards looking that direction in the middle rounds. But it will be a major surprise if two or more selections aren’t earmarked for wide bodies to fill the twin voids left by Willie Roaf and Will Shields, and a minor upset if a couple highly-regarded college cornerbacks don’t get calls from the Chiefs on Draft Day.

Fantasy Impact
Fantasy folks tend to underestimate the importance of the big fellas up front, but ask Larry Johnson how much he has missed Roaf and Shields the past two seasons. If the Chiefs lean towards linemen early, however, LJ won’t be the only one to benefit; any quarterback—be it Brodie Croyle or a youngster the Chiefs snag on draft day—puts up better numbers when they’re not flat on their back. At present Devard Darling is penciled in as the starter opposite Dwayne Bowe, so you’d think the Chiefs could find someone in the first four rounds who can carve out some playing time in a rotation that also includes Jeff Webb and Bobby Sippio.

Potential Targets
If Matt Ryan makes it to the fifth overall pick it will be extremely difficult for the Chiefs to pass; however, it’s more likely they’ll wind up with Michigan tackle Jake Long or Boise State tackle Ryan Clady. USC tackle Sam Baker could fall to KC in round two, or they could target interior help like Wake Forest’s Steve Justice, Arizona State’s Mike Pollak, or USC’s Chilo Rachal to reinforce their line. A speedy receiver like Houston’s Donnie Avery, Virginia Tech’s Eddie Royal, or Appalachian State’s Dexter Jackson would present a nice complement to Bowe, and bring return skills to the table as well. If Louisville quarterback is off the board before the Chiefs pick in the second round it wouldn’t be surprising to see them use a middle round choice on John David Booty of USC or Eric Ainge from Tennessee.

Oakland Raiders

Primary Needs
Since you can’t draft an owner, and since Al Davis seems bound and determined to fill the Raiders’ needs by throwing far too much money at other teams’ castoffs, Oakland could go many different directions on draft day. In fact, past history suggests they will go different directions—all at the same time. The Silver and Black would do well to replace Warren Sapp in the middle of their defense, and with so much money tied up in JaMarcus Russell and Justin Fargas their offensive line could use an upgrade as well—the $14 million spent on Kwame Harris notwithstanding. Aside from that, the glaring needs they took into free agency—wide receiver and secondary—were filled with a mere $164 million investment in Javon Walker, Gibril Wilson, and DeAngelo Hall.

Fantasy Impact
Weird Al could throw a gigantic monkey wrench into the draft by taking Darren McFadden with the fourth overall selection. The ripples of this move would claim Justin Fargas and those holding out hope for Michael Bush as well as the domino effect among teams like the Bears, Cardinals, and Cowboys who might be eyeing backs as well. The more subtle impact would come if the Raiders use early picks to beef up their line, protecting their investment in Russell and opening holes for Fargas.

Potential Targets
In a worst-case scenario for Oakland they’d watch Chris Long, Jake Long, and Glenn Dorsey go off the board before their pick. If that happens see the McFadden scenario above, or expect Davis to call Jerry Jones and look for a deal. The Raiders could slide down four spots or so and still claim USC defensive tackle Sedrick Ellis, or wait until later and target North Carolina’s Kentwan Balmer or Auburn’s Pat Sims. Expect Oakland to add depth on the offensive side of the line of scrimmage as well, with UTEP’s Oneil Cousins and Virginia Tech’s Duane Brown among the options that fit their style.

San Diego Chargers

Primary Needs
While the Bolts are in pretty good shape on the heels of last year’s appearance in the AFC title game, that loss pointed a spotlight on their lack of depth. LaDainian Tomlinson’s safety net, Michael Turner, is now in Atlanta and their secondary depth departed when Drayton Florence and Marlon McCree signed with the Jaguars and Broncos, respectively. The Chargers would also do well to upgrade both lines on draft day, leaving A.J. Smith with plenty to do—and only one pick amongst the first 150 to work with.

Fantasy Impact
The Chargers aren’t looking to replace LT—not yet, anyway—but it’s hard to believe that Darren Sproles will be the only insurance policy they carry on their franchise back. And, of course, logic dictates that if you take LT you need to carry his handcuff. Tomlinson owners will also be paying attention to any upgrades in San Diego’s blockers, including the need for a fullback to replace Lorenzo Neal.

Potential Targets
Smith will need pinpoint accuracy when the Chargers’ first-round pick (No. 27 overall) comes around; it’s their only selection until the fifth round thanks to trades with the Dolphins and Bears and the acquisition of Paul Oliver in the supplemental draft. It’s unlikely they’ll go running back with such a precious commodity; a linebacker such as Penn State’s Dan Connor or Tennessee’s Jerod Mayo or line help like offensive tackle Gosder Cherilus of Boston College or North Carolina defensive tackle Kentwan Balmer  would be more likely candidates. The Chargers will need to be on their game in the later rounds to help round out their roster and could find value in Oklahoma running back Allen Patrick, Northern Iowa offensive lineman Chad Rinehart, or combine hero Josh Barrett, the safety from Arizona State.


AFC North  |  AFC South  |  AFC East  |  AFC West  |  NFC North  |  NFC South  |  NFC East  |  NFC West

Related Articles

Mock Draft
Rookie RB's and Team Needs
2008 NFL Combine Results - Defensive Players
2008 NFLCombine Results - Offensive Players
2008 Coaching Changes
NFL Depth Charts
a d v e r t i s e m e n t