By Don Banks
April 19, 2005
AFC West Draft Needs
Denver Broncos
Cornerback, wide receiver, offensive line
With all the ex-Cleveland defensive linemen Denver has added, and with the re-signing of end Trevor Pryce, it would appear the Broncos can look to other needs at the top of the draft. But don't take that to the bank just yet. Most of the players Denver added are underachievers who are going to have to earn a starting job in the team's new 3-4 defensive formation. Replacing cornerback Kelly Herndon and finding more competition at right guard appear to be more pressing requirements. The Broncos also could use a young receiver with Rod Smith turning 35 in May.
Kansas City Chiefs
Cornerback, linebacker, receiver
The Chiefs have flirted with nearly every top-notch veteran cornerback in free agency this year, and if they pull off their much-discussed trade for Miami's Patrick Surtain on draft day, they finally will have addressed their weakest link. But even if Surtain comes aboard, K.C. could use its No. 15 pick on a young corner, such as Auburn's Carlos Rogers, if that's the best available value. Otherwise, the linebacking depth chart is painfully thin and a defensive end with rush skills would come in handy. And Johnnie Morton and Eddie Kennison aside, the Chiefs still lack firepower at receiver.
Oakland Raiders
Linebacker, defensive end, cornerback
The Raiders have had an impactful offseason already with the acquisitions of Randy Moss, LaMont Jordan and Derrick Burgess, but armed with nothing higher than a second-round pick (at least for the moment), the draft does not portend major upgrades. Replacing inside linebacker Napoleon Harris, who went to Minnesota in the Moss deal, could be where Oakland trains its second-round focus. A need for more pass rush from the defensive end slot is obvious, and if either Phillip Buchanon or Charles Woodson can be dealt on draft weekend, cornerback would jump to the fore.
San Diego Chargers
Defensive end, receiver, offensive tackle
From laughable to laudable: That's the route the Chargers took during the past year. Armed with two first-round picks (thank you, Eli Manning trade) and no glaring holes, San Diego can sit back this year and pick off a pass rusher and a receiver in the first round (in some order), adding even more talent to a roster that went 12-4 last year. The Chargers would love to come away with USC receiver Mike Williams at No. 12 and then choose the best available defensive end at No. 28. Another option is to take an offensive tackle late in the first round and groom him as Roman Oben's eventual replacement.

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