Welcome back to Sports Krunch with DKrom ladies and gentlemen, I’m your host David Kromelow. This is the second-to-last edition of our Dash to the Draft marathon this week, which will bring you seven new episodes in eight days…and today, we continue with our division-by-division draft previews with a voyage through the AFC West. This division has been one of the more competitive ones in recent years, but there is more mystery than certainty surrounding it in 2018.
Less than three years after winning Super Bowl 50, the Broncos are beginning what should eventually be a large roster retool, and the question is how does that retool take shape with this draft class. Just a year or two before they head off to Vegas, the Raiders brought back Jon Gruden to rebrand the identity of the franchise, but how can be blend his old-school football philosophy with new age talent? In a very weak conference, the Chargers and their stacked roster have a golden opportunity to compete for a Super Bowl, but they also must consider getting Philip Rivers long-term successor as immediately as possible. And last but not least, how do the Chiefs smoothen the transition from the Alex Smith era to the Patrick Mahomes era on both sides of the ball?
Joining us now to discuss what these four teams ought to do in the 2018 NFL Draft is Carl Dumler. Carl is an NFL draft analyst for MileHighHuddle.com, same place where friend of the program Nick Kendell resides. Broncos fans can catch Carl and Nick’s weekly draft coverage on the “Huddle Up Draft Podcast.” It was a pleasure meeting Carl down in Mobile at the Senior Bowl this year, and it is an honor to welcome him to the program for the very first time. How are you Carl?
- The Broncos are in a very unique position at five. They can go get their QB of the future (provided the right one is there), get one of the top three blue chip talents in the draft (specifically Quenton Nelson, Roquan Smith or Saquon Barkley, since Bradley Chubb is unlikely to be there), or trade down with another QB desperate team such as Arizona or Buffalo. If you are John Elway and Gary Kubiak, which route would you go if the QB you want isn’t available?
- Ideal four-round haul for the Broncos [assuming they stay put]
- When you look at the Raiders, their basic priority in this draft has to be defense, defense, defense. Outside Khalil Mack, they have nobody that worries opposing offenses. Even though there are screaming needs at all three levels, which area should they address first assuming Harold Landry, Roquan Smith, Tremaine Edmunds, Derwin James and Denzel Ward are all available?
- Ideal four-round haul for the Raiders
- There is a lot of buzz that the Chargers are targeting a QB early in this draft as they try to find an heir apparent for Philip Rivers, who will turn 37 this December. Two names they’re showing significant interest in are Lamar Jackson and Josh Rosen. If both of them fall to pick eight, which is a real possibility (and as we’ve mentioned on this program before, the Bears , 49ers , and Raiders  are all reportedly considering moving down), do you give up as much as you can to move up and nab one of those two signal-callers? Or do you stay put and address one of the few remaining weaknesses on your roster in order to gear up for one more championship run with Rivers?
- Ideal four-round haul for the Chargers [assuming they stay put]
- With Marcus Peters, Derrick Johnson and Tamba Hali gone, Justin Houston nearing 30 and Eric Berry coming off a torn Achilles, the Chiefs are in the midst of a total defensive overhaul. They began that overhaul by acquiring rising star slot CB Kendall Fuller from the Redskins in the Alex Smith trade and signing former Cowboys LB Anthony Hitchens in free agency. On the flip side, they should also prioritize making Patrick Mahomes happy by getting him better protection on the interior OL as well as better depth at slot WR and perhaps TE. Beginning with their first pick at 54 overall, what positions of need should they target?
- Ideal four-round haul for the Chiefs
That’s it for today here on Sports Krunch with DKrom. Tomorrow will be the final episode of our Dash To The Draft extravaganza…so stay tuned!! Also, be sure to check out the episode archive (including our 100th episode special with long-time NFL scout Greg Gabriel) as well as an up-to-date blog of mine at SportsKrunch.com!! And if you enjoy these podcast episodes please consider leaving us an iTunes review and donating to our Patreon at Patreon.com/SportsKrunch so we can improve our iTunes ranking and afford to produce even more shows with awesome guests like Carl, especially since there’s NEVER an “offseason” for talking football.
For Carl Dumler, our producer Chris Brodhead, this is David Kromelow saying so long, and as always, stay awesome!!!
Carl’s Twitter handle: @CarlDumlerMHH