Welcome back to Sports Krunch with DKrom ladies and gentlemen, I’m your host David Kromelow. This is our second of eight division-by-division recaps of the 2018 NFL Draft and we continue today with the AFC West. This division saw two of the draft’s best defenders land on its turf as well as arguably the most head-scratching class of the year. And to help us break it all down, it’s a pleasure to welcome our good friend Nick Kendell of MileHighHuddle.com back to the program. How are you Nick?
- The Broncos reportedly only had three targets in mind with the fifth overall pick: Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Bradley Chubb. If none were there, they were prepared to trade down with the Bills. When Chubb unexpectedly fell into their laps, they couldn’t resist passing on him, and rightfully so. What does Bradley Chubb bring to the Broncos pass rush that was missing since DeMarcus Ware hung up his cleats?
- In the second round, the Broncos looked toward the very near future. With the roster spot of Demaryius Thomas in question after the 2018 season given his age and 2019 cap hit, the Broncos picked a near carbon copy of Thomas in SMU WR Courtland Sutton. Although Sutton is projected to be Thomas’s long-term replacement at the ‘X’ receiver position, he has similar holes in his game that Thomas had coming out of college, must notably the lack of a route tree. Thus, Broncos fans shouldn’t expect that big of an impact from Sutton this year. However, it should be incumbent upon the Broncos to get him some valuable snaps every week if they do indeed plan for Sutton to succeed Demaryius Thomas in 2019. Do you think they carve out a sizable package of red zone plays for Sutton, or will he likely spend the entirety of the 2018 season on the bench barring an injury to DT?
- Two years ago, the Broncos selected Justin Simmons, a safety from Boston College at the tail end of round three. Now, Simmons is arguably a top-15 safety in the NFL, if not top-10. This year at pretty much the exact same spot, the Broncos took another defensive back from Boston College in CB Isaac Yiadom. You and your colleagues at MileHighHuddle.com were ecstatic when this pick was made. Why should Broncos fans feel the same way and would you be surprised if Yiadom becomes a quality starter in 2019?
- My personal favorite draft pick the Broncos made was their selection of Penn State WR DaeSean Hamilton in the fourth round. He was one of the biggest stars during the week of practices at the Senior Bowl, always getting open with his amazing route running skills. While many project him to play the slot early on (and rightfully so), can you also see him replacing Emmanuel Sanders as the #2 boundary receiver opposite Demaryius or Courtland Sutton in 2019?
- On paper, the Raiders had arguably the worst draft class in 2018. Mostly, that was due to the fact that Reggie McKenzie and his scouts were marginalized and Jon Gruden essentially took over as GM. Even worse, twice in the first three rounds, it appeared that Tom Cable, arguably the worst offensive line coach in football, assumed the GM duties as the Raiders reached on two project OT’s; Kolton Miller in round one and Brandon Parker in round three. Which one of those two players is more likely to be successful at the NFL level?
- Outside of those two picks, there is a chance that the Raiders will come away with three potential steals from this draft. With their second third round pick, they selected Arden Key, the super promising pass rusher, yet off-the-field head case out of LSU. In round four, they selected Wisconsin CB Nick Nelson, who could have been a Day 2 pick if it weren’t for the torn meniscus he suffered during a pre-draft workout. Last but not least, they selected Michigan DT Maurice Hurst, a top-15 talent who slid due to tremendous concerns about the heart condition he was diagnosed with at the Combine. Nearly half the league had Hurst off their board because of widespread fears that his malady could cause him to die on the field. How big of a chance do you think there is that two of these three players turn out to be mainstays for the Raiders?
- The Chargers arguably came away with the biggest steal of the first round as Derwin James inexplicably fell all the way to them at 17 overall. He is an absolute PERFECT fit for Gus Bradley’s defense and he will likely assume the Kam Chancellor role in that scheme. Last year, the Chargers were third in total defense, but there are some areas (most notably run defense) that need improvement. How does Derwin James help the Chargers defense go from a very good unit to a great, if not elite unit?
- On Day 2, the Chargers tried to solve the problems still plaguing the middle of their defense with USC LB Uchenna Nwosu, who projects better as an off-ball OLB for them and North Carolina State DT Justin Jones. How do both players help solve those problems for the Chargers, especially in the run game?
- The Chiefs kicked off their draft on Day 2 by trading up to secure a late riser in Ole Miss DL Breeland Speaks. Mike Mayock lauded the pick citing Speaks’ inside/outside versatility. Draft Twitter however, had a completely different reaction calling it a massive reach. What is your take on that selection?
- Of the remaining five picks the Chiefs made, which one do you see making the most productive impact?
- Overreaction/Not Overreaction:
- Royce Freeman will be the lead-dog in the Broncos RBBC, averaging 15-20 touches per game.
- P.J. Hall will eventually give the Raiders an interior pass rushing threat similar to Grady Jarrett of the Falcons.
- Justin Jackson will take Austin Ekeler’s job away as the Chargers #2 running back behind Melvin Gordon
- Tremon Smith will eventually become a starting boundary corner for the Chiefs
Thank you Nick…and that’s it for today here on Sports Krunch with DKrom. Stay tuned for the remainder of the final leg of our 2018 Dash To The Draft series. Be sure to check out the episode archive 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 Nick, especially since there’s NEVER an “offseason” for talking football.
For Nick Kendell, our producer Chris Brodhead, this is David Kromelow saying so long, and as usual, stay awesome!!!
Nick’s Twitter handle: @NickKendellMHH