2013 NFL Draft 1st Round: AFC West – Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, San Diego Chargers


The Kansas City Chiefs got their left tackle with their first overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft on Thursday when they selected Eric Fisher from Central Michigan. Part of being a Chiefs fan is keeping track of what other AFC West teams are doing with the draft. What players are the Chiefs going to have to deal with over the next few years? It looks like D.J. Hayden, D.J. Fluker, and Sylvester Williams will be three of them.

Dec 1, 2012; Atlanta, GA, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide offensive linesman D.J. Fluker (76) celebrates winning the 2012 SEC Championship game against the Georgia Bulldogs at the Georgia Dome. Alabama won 32-28. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

OAKLAND RAIDERS: The silver and black had the third pick of the night but they made things interesting early by trading that third pick to the Miami for the Dolphins 12th pick overall and Miami’s early pick in the the second round (42nd overall). This second round pick was the one targeted by the Chiefs if they could have worked out a deal for Brandon Albert, so that pick is off the table. The Raiders decided on cornerback D.J. Hayden out of Houston with the 12th overall pick.

The Raiders were considering take Hayden with the third pick but traded and still got their man because there is a health risk with Hayden. He collided with a teammate in practice and had a tear in an artery. Chris Burke of NFL.SI.com liked the pick.

"Grade: B-plus. Assuming that Hayden is (and stays) healthy, he might be the best CB to come out of this draft. And considering that the Raiders are in a division that features Peyton Manning, Philip Rivers and now Alex Smith, they need some players who can defend the pass.Oakland needs to make sure it hits on that second-round pick it received in trading down from No. 3, though. Otherwise, this may not be enough value out of that move."

If Hayden can stay healthy, he should be able to improve a secondary that has to face quality quarterbacks like Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, and Alex Smith twice a year. This was a solid move for Oakland.

SAN DIEGO: I thought it might be a possibility that San Diego might trade up for an offensive lineman early but nothing materialized on that front. The Chargers ended up getting their offensive lineman anyway in Alabama’s D.J. Fluker. NFL.SI.com‘s Chris Burke offered this analysis of the Fluker and a grade for San Diego:

"Fluker plays with a bit of an all-or-nothing game. If he gets his hands on a defender in the vicinity, it’s over — he’s too strong and too big for those defenders to then recover and make a play. Where he struggles at times is off the snap, as speed rushers can throw him off balance and get into the backfield. It’s that occasional difficulty out wide that had some projecting Fluker as a guard at the next level. He may wind up there, too, depending on what the Chargers do in the coming months.Grade: B. Kind of a bad break for the Chargers that there was such a run on linemen early. Trading up might have cost them too much, however, and Fluker proved at Alabama that he can be a menace for defenses."

I watched several Alabama games last fall and thought Fluker dominated most of the time. I suspect he will probably play guard in San Diego but he could be a nasty customer to deal with for Chiefs linemen for year to come.

DENVER BRONCOS: Losing Elvis Dumervil to the Ravens left a huge pass rushing hole in the Broncos defense this off season. According to Burke at NFL.SI.com, Williams isn’t a top tier defensive tackle in the draft but is certainly the top of the next tier.

"Williams was right in the mix with the top DTs in this draft, perhaps a step below Sharrif Floyd, Star Lotulelei or Sheldon Richardson, but certainly atop the second tier. Defensive tackle was a spot Denver had to get deeper at, too, so Williams works. The North Carolina product is a bit more raw than Floyd or Lotulelei — at this point, Williams probably cannot take a game over by himself on the line, like those two can. What Williams can do, though, is excel with his quickness and footwork to penetrate the offensive line.Denver should be a nice situation for him, since he’s best suited right now for a rotation, where he doesn’t have to play on all three downs. Keeping Williams fresh will maximize his athleticism.Grade: A-minus. Maybe not Denver’s biggest need, but certainly a need. Williams will fit in well with the Broncos."

Rob Rang of CBSSports.com disagreed with the pick:

"Williams’ quickness and overall athleticism stunned talent evaluators who watched him at the UNC Pro Day, and he’s certainly flashed talent for the Tar Heels. His motor, however, was too inconsistent for many. Grade: C"

Sometimes I think this motor analysis is a bit overrated. Nearly all players take days off. Randy Moss has made a career of taking plays off. NFL players. With the speed and physicality of the game, it is tough to play full blast every single snap. Most players, at this level, turn it up most of the time and when it necessary.

Of the three picks made by Kansas City’s rivals, I like Fluker the best. I can see him turning into a bull dozing guard that blasts holes through defenses. Chiefs fans will get plenty of exposure to these players over the next few years. Only time will which pan out and which become the Ryan Simms’ of the world. As long as Fisher and the rest of the Chiefs picks, whomever they may be, aren’t the busts, the world will good.