2010 NFL Draft Grades: AFC West

Chris MaierCorrespondent IMay 12, 2010

ATLANTA - DECEMBER 5:  Quarterback Tim Tebow #15 of the Florida Gators runs the ball against Rolando McClain #25 and Eryk Anders #32 of the Alabama Crimson Tide during the SEC Championship game at Georgia Dome on December 5, 2009 in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Chris Graythen/Getty Images

The 2010 NFL Draft is now in the books and the staff members of NFLDraft101.com have each submitted their grades.  We will go division by division, recapping each team's draft and presenting our staff grades. (click on the team name for pick by pick analysis)

AFC West:

Denver Broncos - Josh McDaniels has learned how maneuver the draft from the Patriots, but the use of those picks the past two seasons has been questionable.  After the bold move to draft QB Tim Tebow, McDaniels has staked his future on the draft's biggest question mark.  Tebow has off-the-chart intangibles, but his ability to read defenses while improving his accuracy and throwing motion will determine his success.  Fellow first-rounder Demaryius Thomas has a tremendous skillset but is an extremely raw route runner who, like Tebow, will likely need at least two years to develop.  Fellow receiver Eric Decker has the polish to make an early contribution but must overcome a slow-to-heal foot injury.   G/T Zane Beadles is a smart technician but may not be an ideal scheme fit (zone blocker). C JD Walton won't wow you with his physical tools but is a mauler who fills a major need.  After focusing on defense in free agency, the Broncos hope to have picked some day three values in DE/OLB Jammie Kirlew and cornerbacks Perrish Cox and Syd'Quan Thompson.  Aside from Cox, the Broncos drafted for high character while filling needs, but reached with a few selections (esp. Tebow).  Ultimately, how quickly Tebow and Thomas are able to make a contribution, if at all, will determine the draft's success. Grade: C-

Kansas City Chiefs  Based on this draft, Scott Pioli has definitely bucked the Patriots trend for building from the inside out as they looked to add talent on both sides of the football.  Despite smokescreens to the contrary, S Eric Berry was the team's first round pick as they looked to add a difference maker on the defensive side of the football.  He has excellent instincts and awareness, drawing comparisons to Ed Reed, and the biggest concern will likely be expectations.  The secondary makeover continued in round two with the selection of CB/PR Javier Arenas, who has tremendous instincts but may be more of a nickel whose earliest contribution will likely come in the return game. RB/WR Dexter McCluster was a surprise pick early in round two, amd the Chiefs will be looking to use him a Wes Welker type slot role with an occasional backfield appearance.  G Jon Asamoah will be looked upon to make an immediate upgrade to the team's porous offensive interior with a move to center a possibility.  TE Tony Moeaki has durability concerns, but is a good blocker and receiver who will challenge for a starting job.  Fifth round rush linebacker Cameron Sheffield landed in a good situation and will have an opportunity to develop as a needed pass rusher.  Overall, they added a lot of talent but the Chiefs are still lacking talent in the trenches on both sides of the ball.   Grade: C

Oakland Raiders - After reaching for athletes in recent years, the Raiders bucked the trend and went with football players on days one and two, vastly upgrading their team in the process.  MLB Rolando McClain was a surprise selection but has the combination of leadership and athletic talent to anchor an improved defense.  Lamaar Houston is a bit of a one year wonder but is an active defensive tackle who can disrupt plays in the backfield.  The offensive line received needed attention in rounds three and four with offensive tackles Jared Veldheer and Bruce Campbell.  Both have high ceilings and were good values where they were drafted.   The team managed to appease Davis' need for speed and athleticism with the day three selections of Campbell, WR Jacoby Ford, CB Walter McFadden and CB Jeremy Ware.  Each was considered among the fastest players at their position but were not the reaches of years past.  Trading for QB Jason Campbell to end the failed JaMarcus Russell experiment was the icing on the cake for a great draft weekend.  Grade: B+

San Diego Chargers After struggling to run the football in the playoffs the past two years, the Chargers mortgaged much of their draft in order to move up and get RB Ryan Mathews with the 12th overall pick.  Mathews is the best all-around back in this year's draft and may prove to be worth the price they paid, considering how close the Chargers have come in recent years.  Getting tough up the middle was the focus of the Chargers third through fifth round picks, as they selected ILB Donald Butler, S Darrell Stuckey and NT Cam Thomas.  Each will be given a chance to earn early playing time.  Thomas has the underachiever label but could be the key to upgrading the run defense.  The Chargers added some nice talent but failing to add talent on the offensive line for the second straight year was a surprise that could limit the Mathews ability to maximize his early impact. Grade: B-

(Please note: grades are based on how team's utilized their picks on draft weekend.  Trades made prior to the draft are not accounted for in these grades)

Chris Maier is Senior Editor for NFLDraft101.com .  He can be reached at cmaier@nfldraft101.com.  Follow me on twitter: nfldraft101 .


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