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Fresh Faces in the AFC West

Well, that was certainly a whirlwind of a first round to kick off the 2010 NFL Draft.  As we already know, the Chargers traded with Miami to move up 16 spots in the first round to select Ryan Mathews.  But what about the rest of the division?  Let's take a look at the other three teams in the AFC West and what they were up to on day one.

Kansas City Chiefs

Kansas City had the 5th-overall pick today, and they chose to hold on to it and use it on Eric Berry, a Safety out of Tennessee. There was plenty of speculation the Chiefs were going to select Russel Okung (who was immediately picked up by Seattle the very next pick) because they felt the offensive line was a higher priority than the secondary, but apparently he was just too good a player for the Chiefs to pass up.

He has the skills and the resume to back up his 5th-overall selection. He's a safety with additional corner back skills and can roam the deep midfield, or he can come up and cover slot receivers. He also has strong blitzing skills, so he very well can end up becoming a nuisance for Philip Rivers, the receivers, or even new feature back Ryan Mathews.

Let's hope Philip and company are already in the film room learning everything they can about him as all indications are he is a big aggressive play-maker.

Oakland Raiders

The perennial comedic relief in the draft, Al Davis and the Raiders have a history of choosing, well, less than conventional players in the draft.  Today, the Raiders had the 8th-overall pick, and with it they selected a Linebacker out of Alabama by the name of Rolando McClain.  This disappointed a lot of people, not because it was another pointless, head-scratching pick, but because it was actually fairly sensible and adequately filled a need the Raiders had.

McClain is an inside linebacker, and was selected to bolster the Raiders run defense.  He's excellent at reading the play and is rarely fooled by misdirection.  He can quickly read screen plays and can get to the ball before the linemen have a chance to set up the play.  He does however struggle in man coverage and exhibits some slowness in lateral movement.  Nor is he the greatest pass-rusher.

McClain does seem to have the skill sets necessary to be a successful linebacker in the NFL.  He'll likely see plenty of playing time on special teams as he learns the ropes and a decent amount of playing time.  It remains to be seen what kind of impact he'll have, but it looks like the Raiders picked themselves a solid linebacker.


Denver Broncos

The Broncos were very busy on day one, wheeling-and-dealing as best they could.  They started the day with the 11th-overall pick, which they traded to San Francisco for their 13th pick. They then traded that pick to the Eagles for their 24th pick, and two third-round picks (70th and 87th overall). They later gave the 24th pick and a fourth-rounder to New England in exchange for the 22nd pick.  Still with me?  Finally, the Broncos sent the 43rd, 70th and 114th picks to Baltimore for the 25th pick.

Whew.  When all was said and done, the Broncos have 7 picks in the draft, with two first-round selections.  So, what did the Broncos do with those two selections?

Demaryius Thomas

With Dez Bryant still on the board by the time Denver was on the clock at number 22, many expected him to head to Denver. Josh McDaniels thought otherwise and instead chose Demaryuis Thomas, Wide Receiver out of Georgia Tech.  Though not a poor choice, Bryant was the more accomplished receiver and viewed as better than Thomas.  Demaryius does have big-play potential and a solid work ethic.  However, it still remains a controversial and questionable pick to choose Thomas over Bryant.

Tim Tebow

This one shocked me.  During the off season, the Broncos let backup QB Chris Sims walk after they traded for Browns QB Brady Quinn.  So, with Kyle Orton and Brady Quinn on the team, it seemed they were set at QB for the time being;  certainly not in a position to use a first-round pick on a quarterback.  Well, McDaniels saw fit to recruit a few more detractors and made his second controversial choice of the evening in selecting Tim Tebow.

Look, we all know about Tebow.  We know we won't be seeing much of him this year, but the Broncos seem to be positioning themselves to bring Tebow in and allowing him to learn and grow under two veteran QBs.  It remains to be seen just how good he is at the NFL level.

Wrapping Up

So there you have it.  Today was a pretty interesting and entertaining day for all involved.  Friday night, we have round two of the draft.  While the Chargers currently do not have any picks in the second round, there is still plenty of time between now and then for AJ Smith to work out another deal and buy his way into the second round.  If not, I'm sure there will be plenty of other happenings to keep us all entertained.