Chasing the Chiefs

2 days of the 2020 NFL Draft are in the books. The top impact prospects are taken, lets take a look at what the rest of the AFC West have done to try and catch up with the Super Bowl Champion Kansas City Chiefs.

Denver Broncos

Round 1 – Pick 15 Jerry Jeudy WR Alabama

Mixes tight, crisp route-running with impressive top-end speed to keep secondaries on eggshells throughout the game. Jeudy is high-cut and a little leggy in his press release and short-area movements, but fluid hips and above-average agility prevent any stagnation. He’s a linear route specialist with a great feel for leveraging and then stemming defenders away from his food on intermediate and deep passes. The hands need work and contested catches will be much more challenging against bigger, faster matchups across from him. Jeudy can play inside or outside but offers a unique ability to both widen or lengthen the field from the slot. His transition from deep threat to volume target in 2019 should help sell teams on his ability to become a pro-Bowl caliber WR1 who can help his offense on all three levels.

Round 2 – Pick 14 – K.J. Hamler WR Penn State

Explosive slot target who hits the scales as a lightweight but could have heavyweight impact on games. Hamler’s blazing speed is used solo and in route combinations to stress secondaries and create big plays. He had an alarming number of drops in 2019 and the routes are ragged, but his athleticism and separation burst on all three levels helps mitigate those concerns. He’s a smallish slot who isn’t built for the tough yardage and could have durability concerns if he’s run into too many collisions. However, speed kills and his game-breaking potential on all three levels will be enticing as a high-risk, high-reward draft pick.

Round 3 – Pick 13 – Michael Ojemudia CB Iowa

The size, length and potential to make plays on the ball will be appealing, but tape shows a player missing the instincts and burst to close and challenge throws from off coverages. He’s not as physical as teams will want for Cover 2, but a press-heavy scheme would keep him closer to his target and allow his length to factor more frequently. He doesn’t display the qualities of a natural ballhawk, but the measurables could land him in the later rounds as a developmental prospect.

Round 3 – Pick 19 – Lloyd Cushenberry C LSU

Starting-caliber center with big hands, long arms and good core strength to match power on power when needed. Cushenberry isn’t rigid or stiff, but he does have some limitations with lateral quickness, which show up against athletic edge rushers and with potential run game limitations in space. He’s extremely difficult to bull-rush and is rarely beaten to the punch in his pass sets. LSU was frequently tasked with five-man protections in its passing scheme, which put Cushenberry on more of an island than he will see as a pro, so scouts should account for that. He’s a do-your-job prospect with the strength to handle an odd-front nose and could be a long-time starter.

Round 3 – Pick 31 – McTelvin Agim DT Arkansas

Agim is a work in progress with only one season as a full-time defensive tackle after playing defensive end previously. While his technique and fundamentals are still in a developmental stage as an interior defender, elements like hand placement and ball awareness are expected at defensive end, so it is a little disappointing they are behind. He has snap quickness to become a better one-gap penetrator and rush talent to build upon if he can attack with a better plan and more urgency. He’s not strong enough to withstand NFL power at the point of attack so development of strength and technique will be critical if he is to become a rotational 4-3 defensive tackle.

SUMMARY

Denver have loaded up for Lock. Two very good receivers to pair with Sutton, Fant, Gordon and a starting calibre center to keep Lock upright. Denver are trying to win shoot outs.

Las Vegas Raiders

Round 1 – Pick 12 – Henry Ruggs III WR Alabama

Ruggs’ speed alone helps both the running and passing games because it forces safeties into more passive positioning. He can work all three levels and his ability to turn slants and crossing routes into big gainers could make him the favorite gift under the tree for a quarterback and offense in need of an explosive weapon. He has quick, sure hands to handle off-target throws, but learning to release, separate and catch against physical NFL cornerbacks could require an adjustment period. He won’t rack up the targets, but has explosive speed and talent to imprint on games with regularity.

Round 1 – Pick 19 – Damon Arnette CB Ohio State

Inside/outside cornerback with NFL size and strength but a lack of fluidity and burst that might make him best-suited as a zone corner. Arnette will be at a disadvantage against vertical jackrabbits and will struggle to stay connected to NFL routes in man. However, he plays with good awareness in space and has the physicality in run support that zone defenses look for. His potential and success could be directly tied to what a team asks of him, which makes his evaluation and grade more of a sliding scale depending upon scheme fit.

Round 3 – Pick 16 – Lynn Bowden WR Kentucky

In a rare twist, Bowden is both versatile and a little bit limited. He might require a plan to maximize his value. While he’s a slot receiver by position, creative play-callers can use him as a zone-read quarterback and as a gadget receiver for jet sweeps and a variety of short catch-and-run screens. He’s not overly sudden or explosive and some teams may want him to prove he can be more than a glorified running back. He’s instinctive, highly competitive and makes big plays. His development as a receiver was slowed due to his move to quarterback in 2019, but his return talent and versatility gives him a chance to contribute immediately as he waits to become a starting slot.

Round 3 – Pick 17 – Bryan Edwards WR South Carolina

Consistently productive, four-year starter with size to fight for tight-window throws and speed to challenge over the top. Edwards is capable of eluding press for quick releases into routes and strong enough to fight back against grabby coverage at the top of the route. His quick acceleration creates early vertical windows for quarterbacks, but he needs to get better at bodying up and controlling the 50/50 catch space. While he should be able to polish up his route-running, the hands may always be hit or miss. He’s a projectable “HWS” (height-weight-speed) prospect with WR2/WR3 potential.

Round 3 – Pick 36 – Tanner Muse S Clemson

Slow-footed safety with hybrid linebacker tendencies. Muse plays with tight, restricted movement that lacks necessary fluidity to handle coverage duties as an NFL safety and he’ll likely be asked to slide into a full-time linebacker role. He already has linebacker size and his frame should be able to handle additional weight if needed. His field agility and short-area athleticism aren’t anything special despite moving over from safety. Muse’s ability to cover tight ends and handle four-phase special teams duties improve his chances of making the backend of a roster.

SUMMARY

3 Recievers in the first 4 picks. The Raiders are following Denver’s path and looking to win shootouts. Their offence could be very good but they have Carr at QB, so…

Los Angeles Chargers

Round 1 – Pick 6 – Justin Herbert QB Oregon

Big, talented full-field scanner able to find the right read and sling it around the yard from the pocket or on the move. Herbert rushed throws in 2018, but he showed marked improvement in that area, excluding the Auburn opener. He trusts his protection while working through coverages and route development and has big-boy arm talent and drive velocity to stress and impress defenses. He’s confident attacking downfield, but touch throws evade him and may have created tentativeness with certain short and intermediate throws. Ball placement requires additional emphasis, but upgrading to NFL skill talent could help him bloom. Herbert has a high ceiling and is the most physically gifted quarterback in the draft, but he doesn’t have as many “wow” plays as expected for someone with his traits, experience and potential.

Round 1 – Pick 23 – Kenneth Murray LB Oklahoma

Sleek, playmaking linebacker with chiseled frame and long arms. Murray’s game is predicated on speed with an ability to fly around from sideline to sideline rolling up tackles. While his twitchy burst allows him to make more plays than the average linebacker, he will overflow to ball-carriers at times. Recognition of play development and ability to take on blocks are both underdeveloped currently, but a move to weak-side linebacker would put him in position to minimize those concerns and maximize his playmaking talent. Murray has hit-or-miss qualities and is more splashy than consistent, but he’s immensely talented with the ability to imprint on games on all three downs.

SUMMARY

The Chargers took their QB of the future in Herbert and then traded their 2nd and 3rd round picks to move back up into the 1st to take a very good LB in Murray. The defence looks legit, their offence is going to depend entirely on Herbert and if their line can keep him upright.

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