Predicting First-Round Pick by Chiefs' Division Rivals

The Kansas City Chiefs will use the 2024 NFL Draft as an opportunity to improve over their AFC West rivals. In the meantime, here's a look at who their divisional foes could potentially draft in Round 1 next week.
Who will the Chiefs' AFC West rivals select in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft?
Who will the Chiefs' AFC West rivals select in Round 1 of the 2024 NFL Draft? / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports
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Denver Broncos (Pick No. 12): QB Michael Penix Jr., Washington

The Denver Broncos have a plethora of holes to fill following several key offseason departures, including that of quarterback Russell Willson. With Jarrett Stidham and Ben DiNucci as their only current options under center, I won't be surprised if the Broncos target a QB with the 12th overall pick.

Considering how Caleb Williams, Drake Maye, Jaden Daniels, and J.J. McCarthy will likely be off the board by No. 12, Washington's Michael Penix Jr. is the next best option.

Penix, the 2022 AP Comeback Player of the Year, is coming off the best season of his six-year collegiate career. Not only did the 23-year-old gunslinger lead the nation with 4,903 passing yards, but he also set new personal bests with 36 touchdowns. He finishes his time in college with over 13,700 yards and 96 TDs.

The Broncos haven't had a consistent QB presence since Peyton Manning, so it'd be silly for them to pass on Penix's potential. Yes, he's older than some of the other quarterbacks in the draft, but that doesn't mean he can't lead the franchise for the next decade-plus. As long as Denver surrounds him with a competent offensive line and solid weapons, it won't be long before Penix finds NFL success.

Las Vegas Raiders (Pick No. 13): OT JC Latham, Alabama

The majority of NFL mock drafts have the Las Vegas Raiders targeting a cornerback, quarterback, or offensive tackle in Round 1. While improving their QB and CB depth makes sense, Las Vegas won't find future success until it strengthens its frontline.

That's why I project that the Raiders will use pick No. 13 on Alabama offensive tackle JC Latham.

Latham — standing 6-foot-6 and weighing 342 pounds — brings physical attributes that'll help protect the Raiders' QB of the future. His NFL Draft profile describes him as a "bulldozer in human form" and that he has the potential to either become a top-tier tackle or "Pro Bowl-caliber guard." His NFL Next Gen combine score of 87 was also second amongst graded OTs.

The 21-year-old blocker was also a near-impenetrable wall during his three-year stay with the Crimson Tide. Suiting up for 1,016 passing downs across 36 career games, Latham only surrendered two sacks, six QB hits, and 22 hurries. If he can somehow bring that same success to the NFL it won't be long before he becomes a household name in the AFC West.

Newly hired general manager Tom Telesco has a history of drafting offensive linemen who can play both tackle and guard, meaning that drafting Latham is right up his alley.

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