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Wednesday, December 23, 2009
AFC West draft rewind

By Bill Williamson
ESPN.com

» NFC Draft Rewind: East | West | North | South » AFC: East | West | North | South

» Draft class lists: Denver | Kansas City | Oakland | San Diego

Examining the draft classes of each division team:

Denver
Moreno
Moreno

Biggest surprise: The surprise is how little production the class has given Denver. The Broncos had 10 picks and just haven’t gotten much out of the group. Top-pick running back Knowshon Moreno has been decent, but he has not been as productive as you would want from the No. 12 overall pick.

Jury is still out: First-round pick Robert Ayers. The No. 18 overall pick just hasn’t done much. Denver hasn’t had to rely on the pass rushing linebacker, but the team would like to see more from him.

Bust alert: Cornerback/returner Alphonso Smith has not made much of an impact. He gave up critical plays in the past two games, both Denver losses. He was benched in favor of rookie Tony Carter against the Raiders as the nickel corner. Carter was on the practice squad until one day before the Oakland game. Denver gave its top pick next year to draft Smith, who was selected No. 37 overall. He has the talent, but has yet to show it.

Kansas City
Succop
Succop

Biggest surprise: Kicker Ryan Succop has been outstanding. The final pick of the draft, Succop has been reliable and has shown a great leg. He could be in Kansas City for years.

Jury is still out: On the class itself. The eight picks have made little impact and it is unclear if the 2009 class will give the Chiefs the depth it needs.

Bust alert: You must have Tyson Jackson on this list. He was by far the prize of the class. Taken at No. 3, Jackson hasn’t shown much flash in Kansas City. The Chiefs loved the defensive lineman because he fit the 3-4 defense and he still has a chance to be a solid player. Jackson was taken about 10 to 15 picks higher than projected. 

Oakland
Murphy
Murphy

Biggest surprise: Fourth-round pick Louis Murphy has outplayed first-round pick Darrius Heyward-Bey. Murphy has made several clutch plays. But he has been far from perfect. He has the worst catch percentage of any receiver in the league. According to ESPN Stats and Information, Murphy has caught just 33 percent of passes that he has been targeted.  Still, he has shown enough to generate excitement. 

Jury is still out: Second-round pick Mike Mitchell has not done much. The Raiders still like the safety a lot, but he has a ways to go before Oakland can rely on him in the secondary.

Bust alert: It has to be Heyward-Bey. He hasn't played the past three games because of a foot injury and Oakland really hasn’t missed him. He has nine catches in 11 starts. Heyward-Bey was considered a major reach at No. 7 and he hasn’t proved otherwise.

San Diego
Ellison
Ellison

Biggest surprise: Sixth-round pick Kevin Ellison has become a solid contributor. The safety is a hard hitter who seems like he has a decent future with the club.

Jury is still out: Fourth-round pick Vaughn Martin. The mammoth defensive lineman from Western Ontario in Canada was considered a project, so his slow development is not overly alarming. But the Chargers have had several injuries and Martin hasn’t made much of an impact.

Bust alert: It has to be No. 16 overall pick Larry English. The linebacker doesn’t really seem like he will be a bust, but he has been quieter than expected. Still, he has made enough plays to provide hope for the future.