2018 CPGM Interactive Mock Draft Grades – AFC West
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Kansas City Chiefs @MyShawnj14
The Chiefs didn’t have a first round selection at the onset of the CPGM Interactive Draft but they scratched and clawed their way up to the 22nd overall pick where they took safety Ronnie Harrison of the Alabama Crimson Tide. While there have been a number of misses among the cornerbacks from Bama the opposite has been true of the safeties. Minkah Fitzpatrick certainly warrants that headlines but I don’t know what to expect from Harrison. He’s an impressive athlete in terms of size and straight line speed but I’m not convinced he will hold up in man coverage in the NFL. What I do know is that he is far more comfortable coming forward than going backwards and in today’s NFL that limits his utility. The trade to acquire the 22nd overall pick was very involved and cumbersome but effectively the Chiefs gave up Dee Ford and Charcandrick West both of which were in the last year of their deals and two 3rd round picks. With the 42nd and 54th overall picks (42nd acquired via trade) Kansas City selected offensive tackle Brian O’Neill out of Pittsburgh and speed merchant Donte Jackson from LSU. I actually like these two selections more than the Harrison pick all things considered. I’m not convinced a first round pick was necessary to acquire the big hitter from Bama. O’Neill needs to get stronger but his movement skills at tackle are impressive. Having watched him in person at the Senior Bowl I came away impressed. KC really struggled against the pass last season (29th ranked pass defense) and having traded away the talented and mercurial Marcus Peters the cupboard is all but empty outside of Kendall Fuller. Enter Jackson who lacks the requisite ball skills and instincts found in upper echelon prospects at the corner position; but can turn and run with the best of them. Given how little talent KC currently has at cornerback Jackson will be expected to play a lot of snaps in year one. He could use a year to add some weight to his frame but the Chiefs simply do not have that luxury. I don’t worry about him getting beat deep, it’s what he gives up in front of him that concerns me. I really like the O’Neill pick, he has big time upside. He isn’t as polished as I’d like but considering that he is relatively new to playing the position he’s ahead of the curve. Jackson has the kind of speed and closing ability you simply can’t teach. If he shows improvement in terms of functional strength and ball-skills he’s going to be fun to watch. The jury is out on Harrison and it really isn’t his fault. Alabama’s front seven cleans up so much and he played in Fitzpatrick’s shadow. However, pass defense starts with the pass rush and without Ford teams are better equipped to handle Justin Houston. Very intriguing prospects in the Chiefs haul that I think will be quality starters by year 2 or 3; but the pass rush is anemic and Arizona will likely miss out on a compensatory pick in 2019.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: C+
Denver Broncos @FrontRowNFL
For the most part the Broncos allowed the board to come to them and with the 5th overall pick selected the top rated QB in the draft class according to the CPGM’s Top 50 Draft Board in UCLA’s Josh Rosen. The Broncos do not have to start Rosen immediately with free agent acquisition Case Keenum in town but I believe when called upon, the most polished quarterback in the class will be ready. Denver addressed a below average offensive line in the second round, selecting offensive tackle Connor Williams at strong value considering that prior to injury Williams was widely considered a Top 15 talent and possess the athleticism coveted by the Broncos in their offensive linemen. The former Longhorn OT is a better prospect than last year’s first round selection Garret Bolles in my opinion. In the third round the Broncos drafted cornerback Anthony Averett to help mitigate the loss of Aqib Talib. Averett is subject to the Alabama defensive back stigma but shouldn’t be lumped into the Dee Millner and Cyrus Jones conversation. He’s a good not great player that should help out in sub-packages while Bradley Roby starts opposite Chris Harris Jr. Finally, Denver added tight end Jordan Reed in a trade with the Washington Redskins, a proven albeit oft-injured commodity for a third round pick. A calculated gamble as Reed is a difference-maker when healthy. With the tight end position having such a low success rate in terms of transitioning from the collegiate level to the pros I like the roll of the dice on this deal. Obviously, draft pundits are all over the place in their QB rankings. But as I stated before, Rosen is the cream of the crop in my estimation. To get him with the 5th overall pick in a draft where six quarterbacks were selected among the first 23 picks is fantastic. Williams will start immediately even if Denver decides to stick with Bolles and Veldheer at tackle, he’ll be fine at guard. I admit I’m much more optimistic about the prospects of Anthony Averett (and Levi Wallace) than most. Perhaps it was the fact that Marlon Humphrey who I expected to get torched during his rookie season played pretty well. The cherry on top was Jordan Reed. There is an inherent risk with Reed given all of the concussions he’s suffered but no more so than the risk of whiffing on a tight end on Day 2 or 3 of the draft.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: B+
Los Angeles Chargers @Jschyvinck13
The LA Chargers stopped the madness with Minkah Fitzpatrick sliding down to the 17th overall pick. I anticipate he will play safety for the Chargers but his versatility will result in him lining up all over the field. I’m in the minority that believes Fitzpatrick can play corner at a high level in the NFL. Of course he was deployed at the “Star” position and then safety in Nick Saban’s defense throughout most of his collegiate career but his freshman tape offered the most evidence of his ability outside of the numbers and I was impressed. Fitzpatrick always seems to be in phase; never out of position. The ninth best prospect according to the CPGM Top 50 Draft Board combines all of his physical tools with leadership and intelligence and offers strong value at pick #17. Defensive lineman Nathan Shepherd from small school Fort Hayes State is a classic upside pick in the second round. While he possesses the coveted NFL traits he is raw and needs substantial technical refinement. Additionally, he didn’t dominate the like you would expect considering the level of competition he faced but he flashes, appears to take very well to coaching, and the potential is evident. Shepherd impressed during the Senior Bowl practices prior to getting injured. Tyrell Crosby out of Oregon also left a good impression during Senior Bowl week and reflects good value late in Day 2 (84th overall pick). He should enhance the Chargers’ running game immediately. As for his pass blocking technique it needs to work and despite having played both tackle positions in college and having the preferred measurables his home may ultimately be inside at guard. Still, Crosby represents good value in the third round and should bolster an under-whelming offensive line in Los Angeles in terms of physicality. In summation I don’t think Shepherd will contribute significantly until year 2 or 3. Crosby projects anywhere from an absolute steal in the third to a good run blocker that struggles in pass pro. Either way both players represent considerable upside. I don’t have any worries about Fitzpatrick. I think wherever he lines up he will be a difference-maker.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: B
Oakland Raiders @NurseTuggy
The Oakland Raiders did well to improve their defense particularly up the middle by selecting Roquan Smith and Harrison Phillips. Smith is perhaps my favorite defensive prospect in the class (Smith or Bradley Chubb) and is CPGM’s 5th ranked prospect overall. He excels on all three downs and as CPGM Drew has stated, teleports to the ball-carrier like a member of the X-Men. I know the masses love Tremaine Edmunds’ upside but I’ll take Roquan Smith’s insane floor. Former Stanford Cardinal Harrison Phillips is an ox in the interior of the defensive line and should really help Oakland sure up its run defense. Blue-collar, high motor guy that every team needs. He’s not a twitchy athlete that’s going to make a ton of plays in the backfield but his strength at the point of attack particularly when his pad level is low will allow Roquan Smith to clean up everything. Third round selection Dante Pettis was a nice touch and could prove to be the quintessential WR2 when Jordy Nelson hangs them up. Pettis, offers something in the return game as well and may be the push Amari Cooper needs in order to realize his true potential. The Raiders could have done a better job to affect the passer and/or improve the secondary but I think the quasi-additions of Gareon Conley and Obi Melifonwu should help serve that purpose.
CPGM Juice’s Grade: B+
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