2020 NFL Draft results: The AFC West has turned into a track meet

STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 30: KJ Hamler #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions carries the ball as Damon Hayes #22 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defends during the second half at Beaver Stadium on November 30, 2019 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
STATE COLLEGE, PA - NOVEMBER 30: KJ Hamler #1 of the Penn State Nittany Lions carries the ball as Damon Hayes #22 of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights defends during the second half at Beaver Stadium on November 30, 2019 in State College, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

As teams continue to stockpile in order to make a run at the defending Super Bowl Champions, how did days two and three shake out for the AFC West?

At the end of round one of the 2020 NFL Draft, we noted that the rest of the AFC West had seemed to give up on stopping Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs. Instead, with each rival using its first pick(s) in the draft on offensive weapons, the Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers, and Denver Broncos were clearly moving into copycat mode—trying to match Kansas City’s 33.1 points per game against the division in 2019.

For those teams that had second 1st round picks (Las Vegas and Las Angeles), they chose to select players who feel incapable of making meaningful stops against Kansas City’s offense. In particular, the Raiders’ selection of Damon Arnette seemed incomprehensible, not only because he was a projected third round pick but also because his 4.6+, 40-yard dash feels like it will struggle mightily against the Chiefs’ Legion of Zoom.

For the Chargers, they gave up an additional top 100 selection by trading back in to the 1st round to select outside linebacker Kenneth Murray. Murray may be able to slow down the Chiefs new running back, Clyde Edwards-Helaire, when running the football. But he too will likely suffer from being able to cover Kansas City’s speed in the passing game.

Well, after day two, its official. The AFC West is a track meet.

What does that mean? Let’s take a look at day two around the AFC West.

Los Angeles Chargers

The Chargers gave up the 37th overall pick in their move up in to the first round with the New England Patriots. With that selection, the Patriots selected a small school safety, Kyle Dugger from Lenior-Rhyne University. Probably would not have been in play for the Chargers, but they may have benefited from players available like Josh Jones, the tackle from Houston or Ezra Cleveland, the tackle from Boise State.

With the trade up to select Murray, the Chargers also gave up their third round pick, and eliminated themselves entirely from the deepest draft in 20 years. We’ll see if the team that regularly struggles to keep players healthy and on the field find that not selected young players for depth is a benefit or a detriment to their goals in 2020.

Denver Broncos

With the 46th overall selection in the NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos selected another wide receiver, K.J. Hamler from Penn State. This further elucidates our argument that the Broncos, who have significant need at cornerback after losing Chris Harris Jr in free agency, have given up on stopping Mahomes and company. The Broncos had their pick of all available corners after the first round, as none had gone at this point in the second round, and instead chose to take a 5-foot-9, 176 pound return specialist who likely profiles as their fourth receiver heading in to the 2020 season. The Broncos are playing with fire choosing not to work on the corner position here.

In the third round, the Broncos held three selections. First, they were up the 77th overall selection. While they did select Iowa cornerback Michael Ojemudia, who has some talent, he was also a Combine wonder. With a 4.45 second time in the 40-yard dash, a 36 inch vertical jump and a 122 inch broad jump, Ojemudia displayed skills that made NFL personnel departments believe they could coach him in to a solid NFL starter. Prior to the combine, he was projected to be a sixth round pick. This is a lottery ticket, a boom-or-bust type selection—not a likely threat to the Chiefs.

Next, the Broncos had the 83rd pick. With this selection the Broncos take a good center, Lloyd Cushenberry III from LSU. He was the ninth LSU player selected in the first three rounds of the 2020 draft, which is incredible when you think about it. Cushenberry is a strong, athletic player who will provide solid depth for the for a budding Bronco line. This pick will not slow down Mahomes (obviously), but it might help Lock succeed.

Finally, the Broncos held the pick just before the Chiefs, the 95th overall draft slot. With this selection they chose Arkansas defensive tackle McTelvin Agim. He’s big, 6-foot-3, 309 pounds and strong (27 bench reps at the combine), and quick for a big man (sub-5.0, 40-yard dash). He could be a contributor long term in Denver, but has only played one season at tackle and will be a project. Not a threat to the Kingdom in 2020.

Las Vegas Raiders

Las Vegas entered day two without a selection in the draft’s second round; the pick was traded as part of the Khalil Mack deal with the Chicago Bears in 2018. The Bears used that selection to take Cole Kmet, a tight end from Notre Dame. After signing Jimmy Graham in free agency, Kmet is now the 10th tight end on Chicago’s current roster. (Ten! What is general manager Ryan Pace doing?)

The Raiders owned picks 80 and 81 in the third round. Like the Broncos, the Raiders doubled-up on offensive playmakers by drafting wide receivers Lynn Bowden, Jr from Kentucky and Bryan Edwards from South Carolina with consecutive picks.

Bowden is a gifted athlete who impressed as a dual-threat quarterback at times and had an excellent final season for the Wildcats. He also excelled at the combine. Edwards is one of the more talented receivers in this class who likely would have been a second round pick, but a foot injury prevented him from participating in the combine and other pre-draft activities.

The Raiders made a trade with the Patriots towards the end of the third round and ended up with pick number 100. With this selection the Raiders went back to the defensive side of the ball and drafted Tanner Muse, a linebacker/safety hybrid from Clemson.Where he likely contributes immediately is on special team. He’s going to contribute on the defensive side but will need to bulk up to play linebacker or in the box at the NFL level.

Derek Carr can no longer say he doesn’t have targets. It’s make or break time for the former first round pick.

What did we learn?

While everyone else is trying to catch up to the defending Super Bowl Champions, the champs aren’t keen to give up the crown. They continue to stay one step ahead by drafting more and more speed that the opposition just cannot keep up with. Denver takes speed in Hamler and Ojemudia, the Chiefs have selected Clyde Edwards-Helaire (4.6, 40-yard dash whose game film looks quite a bit faster) and Willie Gay, Jr. (4.46, 40-yard dash). They can’t stop if you they cannot catch you, and the Chiefs seem intent not to be caught.

The division being on lockdown notwithstanding, the Broncos are having a really strong draft. They took two excellent receiving prospects, including the number one ranked receiver on my board in Jerry Jeudy. If they’re right about second year quarterback Drew Lock, Denver could make some noise for an AFC Wild Card spot.

The Raiders are still the Raiders and I cannot figure out what they’re doing here. Three receivers for a team with holes all over the field seems ridiculous and absurd. Gruden and Mayock continue not to care about convention or logic, and they’ll put some athletes on the field and the rest of us will wait to see what happens. What they won’t do is stop the Chiefs offense with three receivers in the draft.

dark. Next. The worst first round picks in Chiefs history