The 2022 NFL Draft had a ton of trades, shocks, and surprises. During the first round, 9 trades got made. Yes, 9 trades! There’s so much to look at over 3 days, 7 rounds of drafting by these teams. That’s why the Nerds decided to split up our NFL Draft Grades to each division. I feel like each of the teams in the AFC West improved, but some improved way more than others. Some made questionable decisions while others didn’t. There were plenty of moves that affected our favorite dynasty players and teams. Be on the lookout for the other divisions’ draft grades! Let’s get started with my NFL Draft Grades on the AFC West.
Denver Broncos Draft Grade: A-
The Broncos traded their first and one of their seconds and more for star QB Russ Wilson. That’s a great start to any draft. The Broncos finally got their franchise QB. This opens their win-now window right now. Adding a potential stud TE in Greg Dulcich to replace Noah Fant was a wise move. I’d take him in the late third in rookie drafts. Otherwise, this draft was about the defense.
Nik Bonitto has all the makings of becoming another stud edge rusher who can excel opposite Bradley Chubb. Don’t be surprised if you take him in the second in IDP-only drafts. Mathis and Turner-Yell have starter potential at cornerback and safety, respectively. Uwazurike can potentially start at defensive tackle. The Broncos addressed nearly every need they had. A solid draft all around. Hard to beat.
Kansas City Chiefs Draft Grade: A+
The Chiefs absolutely demolished this draft. They traded up with the Pats and got the third-best cornerback in the draft in Trent McDuffie. He is essential for this team this year. They stuck at 30 and still got a top-6 edge rusher in Karlaftis, who’s worth a second in IDP-only drafts. He is the best pass-rusher that has played with Chris Jones. Adding Bryan Cook at safety is a great move that adds depth. I would be shocked if he isn’t starting by the end of the year so take him in the second round in IDP-only drafts.
Leo Chenal is a luxury pick that confused me. They added three more cornerbacks that will fill out the depleted secondary. Darian Kinnard has all the makings of being a starting guard in the NFL. Oh. They took Skyy Moore! Moore is set up to be the best WR on the team, competing with Juju for WR1 with Mahomes as his quarterback. Skyy is worth a late first in your rookie drafts. He has the makings of a future star. Andy Reid and his Hawaiian shirts nailed this draft.
Las Vegas Raiders Draft Grade: B
Trading your first and second-round picks for a star WR who is best friends with your quarterback like Davante Adams is to Derek Carr is always a good idea. After getting Adams and Chandler Jones, the Raiders made it clear that they are all in this year. That’s why the selection of another RB in Zamir White was so confusing. Josh Jacobs is a fine running back and is only 24, yet they took a running back with two torn ACLs in his past. Jacob’s time in LV is limited. I’d be looking to sell mid-season when his price rises. As for Zamir, take him for a third in rookie drafts. He’s worth that.
The rest of the draft was fine with them upgrading their offensive line for Carr/Jacobs, getting a much-needed run-stopper in Farrell, and taking another running back. They must not be confident in Kenyan Drake as the backup there. The Raiders made a couple of nice picks, made some weird ones, and made a great trade. It could be better, could be way worse like when Gruden was drafting. It’s not one of the worst draft grades. It isn’t great either.
Los Angeles Chargers Draft Grade: B+
First off, the Chargers traded their second-round pick for Khalil Mack, so that’s hard to put down. The team badly needed another edge besides Joey Bosa and got the best one they could get. Mack is easily worth that price. In the first, the team got a great player in Zion Johnson. He will be a terrific guard for the next decade with Herbert. Protect the franchise in Herbert they must.
Derwin James got a new running mate in JT Woods at safety. He’s a solid player and could give you some big weeks in IDP but don’t draft him any earlier than the 3rd/4th. Woods needs to learn to finish his tackles, but he has potential. I wonder if they should’ve gone for another position, such as wide receiver or linebacker. Isaiah Spiller was a perfect 4th-round pick by the Chargers. He will be a terrific complement to Ekeler, who will be able to get off the field on third and short so he can survive the season. Spiller’s worth a third-round rookie pick. Long-term Spiller could even supplant Ekeler in a few years if he can improve his game enough.
Either way, he’s a great pick. Later, the team got a potential steal for their offensive line in Salyer, added depth to their secondary, and added a run-stopping defensive tackle in Ogbonnia. It was a solid all-around draft that will help the team compete this year. Was it a dynamic draft or a showstopper? That remains to be seen.
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As always, May the Force be with You…