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Posted by ESPN.com's Bill Williamson
This is the fourth in a periodic series attempting to project AFC West teams' first-round picks leading up to the April 25-26 draft. Denver's trade of Jay Cutler to Chicago gives the Broncos the No. 18 pick in the draft. The AFC West is now the power broker of the early portion of the draft. The division has five of the first 18 picks.
Here is a look at who I believe each AFC West team should select at this point:
3. Kansas City, Aaron Curry, LB, Wake Forest: He best fits Kansas City's top need. He'd be an impact player on defense. If Detroit doesn't take him, he should be the pick without a doubt.
First mock draft choice: Andre Smith, OT, Alabama
Second mock draft choice: Curry
Third mock draft choice: Curry
7. Oakland, Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech: I know other mock drafts have the Raiders taking Missouri receiver Jeremy Maclin, but I have a difficult time thinking Oakland will bypass Crabtree if he is available. He has to be the guy here.
First mock draft choice: Eugene Monroe, OT, Virginia
Second mock draft choice: Crabtree
Third mock draft choice: Crabtree
12. Denver, Mark Sanchez, QB, USC: The Broncos need a quarterback of the future and Sanchez would be a nice fit for Josh McDaniels' system. If Sanchez is there, he should be the choice.
First mock draft choice: Rey Maualuga, LB, USC
Second mock draft choice: Maualuga
Third mock draft choice: Tyson Jackson, DE, LSU
Why the change: The Cutler trade makes this change necessary.
16. San Diego, Maualuga: The Chargers have other needs, but Maualuga makes perfect sense -- yes, even after the signing of Dallas' Kevin Burnett. He'd be a beast in Ron Rivera's defense.
First mock draft choice: Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia
Second mock draft choice: Brian Cushing, LB, USC
Third mock draft choice: Maualuga
18. Denver, Jackson: He fits in Denver's system well and he'd a good fit at No. 12 as well. But Jackson has a better chance of being on the board at No. 18 than Sanchez does.